Wednesday, December 16, 2015

two things i heart

I'm in my second year with my Tiger Blogging Club, and some great additions to our work has helped the students reach further in their blogging in so much less time than last year. I think these things can be applied to the classroom, too, so I wanted to share.

First, my club consists of 4th and 5th graders. I have five fifth graders and eight fourth graders. Having a group of returning kiddos is SO SO helpful for instruction. They are models who have a background with edublogs and naturally, they help me coach the fourth graders on their work.

Nancie Atwell, one of my Literacy Idols creates her Reading - Writing Workshop rosters in this way. She teaches to a seventh and eight grade combo class that loops, so when the seventh graders become eighth graders, there's already one half of the class who are additional coaches to the new kiddos. In my dream job, I'd teach one second of a Reading - Writing Workshop this way, with seventh and eighth graders. (And coach the other parts of my day!)

Another thing I wanted to happen was to track student work on a chart. At first I was thinking it could be a sticker for every post written, or maybe comment, but I didn't want to impose my goals on the kiddos, so I made a goal setting chart:

I wanted to make it more pretty and laminate it, but I don't have tons of time, so it's just hand-drawn squares, one space for each of my kiddos. Then, each week when we meet, I ask kids to set goals for themselves with blogging. Some of the goals this week include:

  • 3 Slice of Life posts, plus four more posts and 5 comments
  • 3 Slice of Life posts, plus 7 more posts, categorize my posts, and leave three coments
  • Write 6 posts total: 5 Slices of Life and one about Christmas
(Remember, they're on break for the next two weeks, so they made their goals bigger!)

The first week, I asked them to set a goal. They didn't know a sticker chart - one where we'd track how often we met our goals - was coming, but in my mind, I knew I'd put that up next week. When they returned that following week, I stood by the sticker chart I had put up, asked who made their goals, and not one person had (myself included). At the end of that session, we took our old goals down from the board and set new ones. When the kids came back on the third week, they were so excited. As they trickled into our meeting, many checked their goals, told me they made them, and sat down happily to begin working on their blogs.

These two strategies - having a combo grade level club and a goal setting chart has led amazing work by my bloggers! Check out their blogs listed on my right sidebar under "Student Bloggers in the Loop." One of my kiddos hit a major milestone this week - she published her 100th post!

Hope your last week before break is wrapping up well!


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