Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lover's advice and baby step blogging

Just got finished reading some of the comments on the English 10 blog, where we are currently sharing some ideas about Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In this latest assignment, the students wrote advice letters to one of the four lovers in the play - Lysander, Hermia, Helena, or Demetrius. They wrote some great stuff. I can't imagine that if they had written these assignments on paper and handed them in, they'd be as thoughtful or would they have made some of the deep personal connections to the characters that I enjoyed reading on the blog. It makes a difference that they know their classmates are reading each other. The assignment does not rise to the level of a formal essay, so posting them as comments on a blog are perfect. For now.

My next professional step is to begin planning for more embedded and regular blogging in my classroom. The comments on my blog posting are fine, but as I'm coming to discover, another effective way to improve student writing is through the use of regular blogging. I plan to try. My bloglines roll is full of worthy edubloggers to emulate and continue learning from.

Meanwhile, I'm still inching my students along this journey with me. Last week, Bill at Shakespeare Teacher noticed our work. And it got me thinking, what a great opportunity to remind my students about the potential of these web 2.0 tools that we have only just begun to use. These are baby steps, based on what I see other educators doing, but necessary ones. As part of any web 2.0 curriculum, there should be emphasis that what we write and post online can be read - in fact it is being read - by people all over the world. My students this year have only just begun discovering this. Bill's post is a nice reminder of how, even as a 10th grade high school English class, our voices can be heard beyond F14.

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