I set up some year group blogs, with ethink, a month or so ago, and have begun introducing them slowly to colleagues as a way of sharing the ongoing work they engage in with students in class. My initial reason for introducing blogs, was an attempt to encourage a wider ownership of and engagement with our growing online community and website. It also struck me that the increasing use of the IWB in classrooms, meant an enormous amount of readily available and publishable work was going to waste. Shared and Guided writing for example consumes a considerable amount of our time in the literacy hour. Granted students use these as models to support their own texts, but saved to hard disc, this collaborative and high quality, guided and shared work, never sees the light of day beyond the classroom where it is made. One of the keys I feel in promoting the value of writing is a sense of audience and purpose. What better way to develop this than by sharing our work with people who visit our website, and enabling them to offer comments, that can help us to consider how we might improve our work, or better still praise and celebrate our achievements, and motivate us to keep trying.
I have spent the last couple of weeks working with year one students, initially using the space as a newsboard, and somewhere to share the things we have enjoyed doing in class. Today, we uploaded our first focussed use of the space. The students have been learning about plants and the conditions they need to grow. They have planted bean seeds, and will be keeping a bean diary. This diary will be developed over the course of a few weeks, with pictures and simple annotations as the bean grows. We began today to develop a digital version of the diary, using our blog space as a place where we can include digital photographs of the process, and as a class annotate these. Uploading the photograph and their comments to the blog together, means we will be able to share our "logging" process not only with each other but with a wider audience too. Although constituting primarily a science based literacy activity, this also introduces the use of ICT to sense and monitor change. At key Stage One much of science's AT1 is about making and beginning to relate observations. Using digital photographs we can capture visually the process of change over time and use visually captured data, to compare and contrast evidence, relating what we have done to what has happened. Through "thinking together" around these images we can introduce the vocabulary and explore and discuss the processes involved, drawing on the visual evidence we have collected. You can visit our bean diary on our year 1 blog, we would love to hear from you.