Commit to Something

This year I made a commitment to have my struggling students start blogging. I was reluctant to begin this endeavor because there were so many unknown variables: could I really pull off a workshop where they write about topics they want? What would I do for mentor texts to teach them skills? How would I teach e wry skill on the rubric? I really had no idea.

But I also knew that unless I committed to it from the get- go I would never do it and I’d just do the same old assignments I’ve always done with them.

And so I began.

First getting the students on social media to teach etiquette and how to comment to one another in genuine ways. Then they made paper blogs to learn that different types of writing, even online, have structure.

At this point I got stuck.

My students in this class are all different skill levels. I had to figure out a way to give my students mentor texts without pushing them to read about things they’re not interested in. This is when this population turns off and I could lose them for the rest of the semester.

So I took a risk and had my students find their own mentors who write about the topics they have chosen.

The risk has paid off. The deal is that for most of them this is the first time they have looked closely at writers. It is the first time most of them have read like writers.

Each blog cycle they set a goal based on our rubric that is targeted to struggling writers, and the find a place where one of their three blog mentors does whatever they envision doing. They post all of this on G+. But here’s where I’m struggling, and where you might be able to help me.

How do I get them to write valuable comments to one another and develop this as part of our class culture? This is what I would really like to try this school year. I am committed to play around with it some more…I feel like the curriculum is solid. I just really think they could help one another with feedback.

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