Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Process blogging!

When I was still teaching, I found 'Process Writing' an excellent method of freeing up students' creativity. They worked for the first couple of sessions in pairs, each writing a paragraph - which need not necessarily be the opening of a story or other imaginative piece, but could be from the middle - and then submitting themselves to the questioning of their partner. By making sure that each subsequent paragraph held the answers to any of their partner's questions, they would produce writing that felt real and solid, based originally on some experience of their own, and left no dangling threads. When they had doen six Q/A sessions, they went on and wrote the whole piece - even if sometimes they scrapped what they'd started and began again. At the end, they conferenced, edited, tightened up their writing, and presented the finished piece to the whole group.

Now, working to that model, I'm delighted to say that the blog set up by my two private students, progress report is falling into that pattern. I'm grateful to fellow-edubloggers (or fellow writers!) for their helpful comments, not least because within the space of three days the students will have realised they have a bigger audience than just me - and an audience who are going to say more than "that's very good" - always a danger with unsupported peer assessment, especially if one partner is more proficient than the other.

I wish we could have done it this way in the classroom - all these wee bits of paper! To say nothing of the sheer noise of 30 pupils conferencing in a confined space - I used to have to send the trusties along the corridor, and even then if they became enthusiastic my colleagues would curse me as the voices rose in disputation. The efficiency of blogging the work means I can supervise, join in as required - and the stress levels for the classroom situation would have nosedived. No coming back after helping one pair along at the lift shaft only to find that wee Kevin, who was never one for writing, had refused to help his partner and had started a fight instead ....

So here I am, retired, relaxed (huh) and getting excited about edublogging. Maybe I need to get out more ....

Di? Dogs?

7 comments:

  1. Hi Chris
    It is amazing how motivating a blog is- even for 5 and 6 year olds. The P2's who were adding entries on Monday- really word processing for the first time were absolutely determined to use capital letters, spaces and to get their spelling correct! Writing with a clear purpose!
    Will try to comment on your writing in progress blog although I am a little rusty beyond Level B!

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  2. I'm really excited by the possibilities of all this - won't quite be enough to get me back into the classroom, but I'm enjoying the current interaction!

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  3. Can't thank you enough for your input to the teddy blog. Have posted your pics for consideration. No need to do more with them. Quite right about staying out of the classroom. Despite my enthusiasm..not long till I go too. With the wee ones the linguistics are not always evidenced, fully, but the verbals this generates, still zap a strand or two, at our stages.

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  4. I am really impressed with the Progress Report blog. I'm sorry that my only contributin so far has been a very poor attempt at humour and will try to leave more sensible comments in the future.

    Would you, or your pupils object to me using this as an example of good practice? I'd love to show this to people as an example of possible classroom applications of blogs.

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  5. I have no problem with your using it - I don't imagine the pupils will either. After all, the bigger the readership, the greater the pressure to perform - and that 's what's needed, IMHO. (False modesty there ...no"H" about it!)

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  6. Blogging is a medium that facilitates the near telepathic exchange of thought.
    There is a Lent Blog at -
    nealb.co.uk/lent
    It is a really moving and inspiring daily read.

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  7. Thanks for that link, Jimmy - you're right: I shall return to it!

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