Let’s give them something to blog about.

Via Flickr Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Via Flickr Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

This March, join a movement to collaborate and create.

If you are willing and interested in networking your students with mine (and hopefully many more schools around the world), march towards this idea exchange.

Step One: Check out this Padlet of some 30+ blog prompts

Step Two: Get blogging (a little help if you are fresh to the blogosphere), get your students blogging, get your boss blogging.  Could you dedicate one class, one staff meeting, one lunch to a creative and collaborative act?

 

Worried about finding the time for blogging? Check out what George Couros has to say about the importance of students blogging AND why teachers need to join that blogwagon too.

Via Flickr Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
Via Flickr Creative Commons
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Step Three: Add your voice to the wall. Share a link to your post here.

Step Four: Respond, ask questions, shout out ‘bravo’ to your fellow bloggers. Comments matter, and in the wide world of blogging, listening is as crucial as sharing.

Via Flickr Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
Via Flickr Creative Commons
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

 

Step Five: Invite others to join you and your students this month.  In our connected ‘One World Schoolhouse,’ we could all be doing more to network our students, to build bridges for ideation. Marching towards collaboration can happen one blogpost at a time, and it is something worth thinking about.Use the hashtag #March2C to connect with others around the world.

Marchtowardscollaboration(1)Image Credits

All via Flickr

“Quick Connect” by Martin Kuo

“Time Flies” by Robin Maben

“Only 20 Seconds to go…” by Jeff Wasson

 

If you blogging, blog on it!

“What am I doing that will help me succeed?”- Tasha Eurich

Via Flickr Creative Commons Ian Sane "Freedom" https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Via Flickr Creative Commons Ian Sane “Freedom” https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

I love how the Ted Talk above helps remind us that when it comes to coaching or improvement, that sometimes focusing on JUST one element at a time is the most important thing to do.  An actionable step forward is better than an indeterminate amount of time guessing where to put our feet.

My ‘one thing,’ is to provide a better menu of blog post prompts for my students.  That step is part of what I hope will be a journey towards a more authentic blogging community at my school.  I want my students to see themselves as writers and thinkers, and their blogs as important tools for their trade.  Thus far, their blogs have been a place for work and reflection.  I’d like to see more autonomy in posting, more freedom and flexibility in what is being shared.

Via Creative Commons on Flickr Aphrodite's "Although you are far" https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
Via Creative Commons on Flickr Aphrodite’s “Although you are far”
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

 

So here’s the part where I ask for your help:  I’m looking for a few great prompts.  While students will not be limited to these prompts, I want them to see the prompts as a series of diving platforms.

Please take a look at my list as it currently stands.  I’m looking for great corners of the web to point our writers to–anything that will beget more creativity is welcome.  I would appreciate any ideas fed in as a comment below.  Additionally, if you have an approach you are proud of, or if you have an obstacle you want to talk about, please see this post as a diving board into discussing which catalysts work, and which curbs jump out at you, the facilitator.  Thanks in advance!

Via Creative Commons on Flickr Michelle Gow "Untitled" https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
Via Creative Commons on Flickr Michelle Gow “Untitled” https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Handing over the keys.

Image via Creative Commons, by Mattias Ripp: “Keys to the heart? No only the office”

I’ve been blogging with students for roughly six years now.  The magic of blogging resides in the space we leave rather than the perimeters we establish. In the mad dash that is an academic year, one thing begs for our attention:  student autonomy.  Where and when do we give students the chance to think about their ideas? To produce ideas? To shape thought? To engage not because we demand it, but because they are well…engaged.

Via Flickr Creative Commons Karola Riegler Thinking... please wait
Via Flickr Creative Commons
Karola Riegler
Thinking… please wait

My final COETAIL project is about investing time in my students.  Investing time in student voice, time for them to find their voice.  This unit is not a stand alone unit, but rather is a ‘sidebar’ to our studies.  This unit is about consolidating teaching and learning time to ensure that our blogs are allowing students to do what they set out to do: connect.  Over the past few months of establishing blogs in my high school classes, I am gobsmacked whenever a student asks, “What should I call this post?”  I’ve realized if they are asking that question, they must not feel a sense of ownership over their space.  And if that is true, I must treat it as a symptom of a bigger issue: these blogs feel less about them, and more about ‘requirements,’ and ‘getting it right.’  That’s not learning, that is falling into line.

Via Flickr Creative Commons "Navigator" by Thomas Abbs
Via Flickr Creative Commons
“Navigator” by Thomas Abbs

Sometimes before you move forward, you need to stand still, check the map:  is this where you want to go? Where are you right now? Which direction needs correcting?

That’s what this unit is about:  correcting and realigning my intentions with student blogging.  Technology should empower.  If we value that, we need to provide time and space for said empowerment to happen.  Sometimes the most important thing a teacher can do is to establish the right environment for growth, and then let the seeds find their own way through.

Is that frustrating at times?  Yes.  But maybe that isn’t a bad thing:

So here we go, have a look at my UBD planner.  It is still a work in progress.  What are your thoughts on developing autonomy in the classroom? What are your obstacles?