We all know it…it’s very difficult sometimes to get high school students excited about writing (and almost anything else these days). We proved this week however, that once you give them a voice, add a dash of guidance, and a splash of technology… viola! We’ve got kids writing like crazy at one high school.
This week, three classes at Bertie Early College were exposed to training on blogging. Mr. Michael Everett allowed me to come into his Creative Writing class and conduct a workshop for his students on Evernote Web, Evernote Web Clipper, Clearly, and of course, WordPress. The kids were enthusiastic and engaged!
Let me tell you just a bit about what started the blogging revolution. Earlier in the week, I visited with Ms. Rhonda Taylor’s Earth/Environmental Science Classes. Their task was to research an event relative to human’s impact on the environment, and summarize their findings (on paper). This assignment needs some pizzazz, I thought. TechChic to the rescue!
The first thing they learned was how to annotate online text and “clip” it to an Evernote notebook. This would save them gobs of time while researching and summarizing and it would support the ELA Common Core Objective: 9-10 RL 1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. Although in blogging, the writer puts his or her own spin on things, it maximizes one’s credibility when they are able to provide factual evidence to support their position. This is in fact, what the Common Core expects students to do.
Today, those students launched their first official blog posts, thus transforming their 20th century writing practices into a future-ready way of life. One thing I want to say emphatically to both teachers is THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME! Sometimes, teachers feel that with instructional technology, they have to master tools themselves, and then they must e the ones to teach their students how to use the technology. Not so. Children learn tech tools at a faster rate than we do. Essentially, during both sessions, I stated a couple of times, “Now I want you to go ahead and…Oh! I see you’re already there!”
So in other words, give them the keys, put them in the driver’s seat, give them the GPS and let them roll! You’ll be surprised what they can create in your classes!
The screenshots below are from two students’ blog pages. We could tell from the beginning that they were going to take the assignment and run with it. Click on each thumbnail to see how their first posts turned out!
While it will take a few days to see how the creative writing class will fair, the fact that the ball is rolling at Bertie Early College High School is a slam dunk in my book!
For more on some of the amazing things our kids are doing, visit BECHS on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @bechs14! If you’ve got student’s blogging in your classroom, share some of their posts! As always, leave a comment and subscribe!
Best regards –