Blog Success!

9 Dec

Whew, its been a long while since I blogged on my own. However, I have other successes in blogging, my students’!!

I had all my Calculus kids start blogs of their own, responding to prompts that are written on my own blog. It took me awhile to get used to what to ask them to write about, but I’m really starting to see the perks of it.

Perks

  1. No stack of papers to grade. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but this is definitely awesome. I hate deciphering writing and taking stacks of writing to take home. It’s MUCH less daunting when they come in nice feeds to your reader instead.
  2. Instant feedback. I can just comment on their posts. If I can’t type out the response, I just write their names on a 3×5 and give it to them the following day.
  3. Accountability. Sometimes, I make it part of their grade to go around answering each others questions. I also encourage them to go around reading what other people are writing about, especially if they don’t understand something.
  4. They’re writing about math! Even if it’s about something they didn’t understand, I still think that’s really valuable. If you can explain exactly what it is you don’t understand, you’re off to a good start. Really.
  5. It makes them use the internet for something more than chatting and MySpacing. Last week, the week that CSU/UC applications were due, I directed them to the College Board website to look up a bunch of majors. I remember in high school I used to think that English, Math, History , Biology, Chemistry, and Psych were the only majors in college. Basically, the classes we had taken in high school.

Here’s the link to my blog where I post their prompts: http://www.ninjacalculus.blogspot.com/

If you take a look at the list on the right, you’ll see links to all my students’ blogs. The latest one is where they get to tell me all that they don’t understand about limits.

Logistically

Setting Up

I gave them written instructions (w/ pictures) to go and start their own Blogger for homework one night and to bring back their URL the next day. The day that it was due, I reserved time in the computer lab where everyone wrote their web addresses on the board. They then all signed onto Google Reader (hence the reason for using Blogspot also- to keep their username and password the same) and started subscribing to each other. While they were all busy doing this, I got to help out those who were having trouble with it.

Due dates

I have the due dates mostly on Saturday of that week. It has to be time-stamped by that time for full credit. I change them every once in awhile for various reasons, but this gives me Sunday to at least glance through them so I can address misconceptions or common questions on Monday.

I really do love it so far. I love the fact that I don’t have to fear directing them online anymore either, whether to check their grades, find their homework, or to use the net for more resources. =)

Yay for technology! Now this stuff is useful for education!

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2 Responses to “Blog Success!”

  1. Sarah December 9, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    What a cool idea! Do you think you would use it with students from your other levels of math in the future?

    • talkingninja December 14, 2009 at 6:16 am #

      Yes! I really hope so at least. =P
      I ran it this year with my Calculus students to pilot how it would go. Starting in March after our break, all my Calculus kids will already have their blogs up and running so I’m hoping to try it with my 9th grade Algebra 1 class. I’ll try to make another post about it when that gets started.

      In the meantime, I gotta think of some good journal prompts! Got any ideas? Do you teach middle or high school?

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