This month I had my students revisit blogging using our class read aloud and our class blog. I had them answer some questions about our book Hard Gold since we had just finished reading it aloud. The students used their "Blogging Docs" to create their responses and then posted them to the blog when complete. What I realized was what an authentic experience this was for them as writers. We have blogged before, but I don't think I realized how powerful this work really is.
Before I publish anything on the blog, I call the students up to look through their pending response with me. I am able to give them immediate feedback before I send them back to their seats. If they have made convention errors I point them out, if they haven't used enough detail I point it out, and if they didn't answer all the questions (which was common in this post) I point it out. The best part about this is they go back and edit immediately while the comments are still fresh in their minds. Because they have it typed in their "Blogging Doc" the edits are easy to make as well so no one has to start from scratch. I also make sure my SMART Board screen is on so that other students can glimpse at the responses that are submitted. Many of them gauge their work by what they are seeing on that screen. I have had students add more to a response (more than they would have on their own) because of what they saw on the board. I also watch as many of them listen to my mini-conferences with students. Some of them take the information I give to others and use that advice in their own work before they publish. I am amazed that something so simple can create such wonderful editing experiences. I am also looking forward to April when we will have parents blogging with us as well because this will create a bigger audience and hopefully push them into creating their best work! Thank you Blogger :)