Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Benefits Behind Blogging Buddies

When watching “We Like Our Blogging Buddies: The Write Stuff with Blogging Mentors I was so surprised to see students in first grade using computers to blog! Wow, how times have changed, and it appears to be for the better. Assigning children to university level students is a wonderful way to approach teaching English. Also, this helps to expand the first graders knowledge on how to use computers. The first graders seemed very excited to blog their stories and receive constructive and positive feedback from their 'blogging buddies'. It appeared that this activity, Blogging Buddies, added an extra element of fun for both parties, especially the younger students.

The English classes I have had at UCO have used a similar technique like blogging buddies. First we would post the writing assignments online, and then we would critique them. Having someone critique your paper is so beneficial; because lets face it sometimes we don't always catch all the errors errors. It's also nice to hear an outsider’s opinion, ideas, suggestions, etc. As well as blogging for English assignments I have been subjected to critiques in all of my art classes. I have been approached in both ways while being critiqued on papers and art assignments. Not all of the criticism I have received has been 100% beneficial, but for the most part it has helped more than it has hurt. You learn what to do and what not to do. What works and what doesn't work. Including positive feedback is crucial in this process. In the video, the university students made sure to provide positive constructive critiques for the students' blogs. Regardless of age, whether you are a first grader in elementary school or a junior at a university, just stating the negative (what's wrong) doesn't help much. In fact, it can do quite the opposite. Doing this will more than likely result in associating a negative feeling with sharing. Who wants to share when you have people telling you what's wrong? Not me! That's why the positive should be emphasized. Don't sugarcoat it, but don't be rude. Find a balance. That way sharing will be associated with a positive feeling.

Most people would assume that a middle school art class would not include technology or English in the lesson plan. Well think again. As times change and progress I want my students to be on top of their technological game. English is where students struggle the most. So, I want to encourage the students to utilize correct grammar, punctuation, etc. Originally, I planned on having the students submit a handwritten short essay on 'the professional artist of the week'. This would be a great activity alone by itself. But lets make it more interesting. What if the students were to blog their essays online? Then, another portion of the assignment would require that the students give positive feedback to an assigned blogging buddy within the class, grade level, or school. This would be a great way to incorporate technology and English into my curriculum. I like the idea and would not have thought twice about it, if not for watching the blogging buddies video.

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