My prior blog posts have focused on the benefits of blogging for students and teachers in the classroom. Some of these posts included using blogs as a way to encourage students to write freely without fear of mistakes, as a way to build relationships with classmates and the teacher, and as a way to create with a new language and build their vital language skills. In addition to these, there are many ways to use blogs in place of a traditionally used assignment or assessment. It is simple to set up a loose prompt for students and use their blog as a way to assess their learning in relation to topics covered in class, while welcoming creativity.
Retelling the story:
Recently, I have used blogging as a means for students to retell portions of a story that we have been reading in class in a way that helps them better understand the meaning of the book. In my Spanish class, we use leveled readers throughout the year to build our language skills. Sometimes we will discuss the readers in class and other times students may complete a worksheet with comprehension questions. While, these are both great methods to determine what students have learned, they do not allow for student creativity or differentiation. To assure all students have the opportunity to be involved in the discussion, expressing their creative views and offering insights, I have the students blog.
What happens next?
Recently, I assigned the students the task of reading a chapter in the Spanish reader “Amigos Detectives” and asked them to write about what they read. I gave some guiding questions to provide ideas and spark their creativity. In addition to answering some of my questions, I asked the students to either predict what may come next in the story or to create a new title for the current or next chapter. Later, I asked them to create their own chapter and give some of the highlights of what might happen to the main characters. This encourages deeper thinking and creativity, while the blogging medium gives the students an opportunity to share their ideas and opinions on a higher level.
Giving blog assignments related to a reading has increased the levels of comprehensive reading being done by my students. The requirements given, a summarization, retelling the story, or creating a next chapter, lead to more student involvement in the reading process and makes it more interesting and personal process. Students are able to choose how they demonstrate comprehension of the language, which increases student motivation. Additionally, it provides a great prompt for classroom discussion. Using blogs as the medium enables students to narrate in their own personal way and hopefully have fun in the process.
Blogging provides a more engaging way to have students show what they have learned, to express what interested them, and to create with the language. Students truly enjoy sharing story predictions and choosing our favorites from the newly created titles.