The Podcast: Bloggin' in the Rain

On today’s podcast, I attempt to answer a series of Twitter questions from Nawal about how to promote writing environments that help students to (as Will calls it.)  I also rant a bit about “blogging units” (I’m against ’em.)  Somewhere in there, I reference George Hillocks’ really excellent metaanalysis of composition instruction studies (PDF) and Stephen Downes’ recent talk in Buenos Aires, as well as Troy’s book, The Digital Writing Workshop.  I hope it helps, Nawal.

Looking forward to your thoughts, as always.

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4 thoughts on “The Podcast: Bloggin' in the Rain

  1. Mr Wood says:

    Thanks for an interesting podcast Bud. I agreed with the idea that blogs provide a structured writing environment that allow conversations to happen. Although to create that engagement not all posts should be too structured.

    I think blogs provide a framework for good feedback through the comment field. This is where I provided encouragement, feedback and feedforward. If blogs are part of your literacy environment then they will show a progression (and record) of writing and the feedback that guides it.

    We use success criteria as a grading and common understanding of what is needed to show their learning.

  2. Nawal says:

    Bud, thanks for the detailed response! Yes, absolutely, very helpful!

    So to answer your question, as I build this online PD grad level course for Jeffco ELA “Writing in 21st Century”, I am looking at creating a course around helping teachers use 21st century skills in their writing instruction. My tweet question was really based on criteria of blogging and not so much grading…. I share your philosophies around grading but that may be a whole different PD course 🙂 For now, my focus is to present teachers with a rationale, a reason for using 21st century skills in writing using 21st century tools. So 21st skills= inquiry, evaluation, communication& collaboration, digital citizenship etc. 21st Sample Tool=Blog. As I write this course for teachers, I often anticipate questions, resistence, etc. So my questions to you and others are not necessarily for myself but rather how to to help me present a PD course which answers those potential questions… The more I can help the teacher see the relevancy, the more likely they will participate and implement. You said “Blogging is about reading, and responding to that reading”. Agreed! And a per convince teachers to subscribe and an excellent rationale to have teachers have students subscribe to RSS feeds.
    In Chapter 5 of “Teaching the New Writing”, Paul Allison writes on “Be a Blogger”. This is where I discovered the criteria that I tweeted about. They include 4 stages or habits of work as he calls them: Participating (Responding), Producing (Drafting), Perfecting (revise&edit) and Publishing.
    Under each of those stages are the same criteria modes of expression text, image, links, podcasts. Which are detailed and expanded as you move along the stage. There aren’t any points associated with any of the criteria on the matrix. But those elements build on “connective writing (right?). Teachers may ask “Why should students be convinced that adding an image, link, or podcast builds on their writing and that connective piece?” As teachers we are warned to give out writing rubrics prior to grading a piece. I feel that Blogging gives students the opportunty to work with mentor texts in RSS feeds and from that begin to imitate and create their own Blogs. From that process, they will be able to generate the expectations for a successful Blog. I’ve often taught reading and writing through analysis of genre structure and features before writing in that genre and from that ‘study’, I feel students have been better able to assess the qulaity of their own writing…
    So as one small part of the course am writing, teachers will see the connection of Blogging to writing and 21st century skills… (i’m thinking) they will first spend a week or two assessing what makes a Blog successful and create their own criteria. Then they will start Blogging, building on a new mode of expression or criteria each week.
    Thanks again, I think I just worked through some of course design issues 🙂

    1. Nawal says:

      P.S I apologize for the errors in punctuation and spelling !

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