Friday, January 25, 2013

Motivate Students to Use Class Blog Part 1

To motivate my students to use the class blogg the most important thing I do is to make sure that whatever activity I do on the blog is helping them improve their English. In the end this is their main motivation. This keeps me on my toes to be more efficient with how I use my blog in my classes.  Here are some of the ways that I have been using it.

1. Uploading their Writing
Uploading their writing on the blog has various benefits.  One is that overtime students can see the progress they are making in their writing. It works like a writing portfolio.  The other thing is that students like seeing their work published.  At first I was posting all the writing in one post with the students names on it (omitting the last names), but then I began creating individual posts for each writing and labeling it with the student name and the writing assignment.  This motivated them to turn in their assignments otherwise their page was empty. I choose one or two writing assignments on the blog to go over in class. This puts pressure on them to do their best on their assignment and to implement the feedback I give them.

2. Respond to Reading
I post real news stories on themes we are covering in class and ask students to comment on these.  I also ask students to post their Response to Literature writing.  Each student has been reading a novel (leveled) and have been creating poems, character bios and more and they post these to the blog.

3. Encourage Classmate Feedback
Getting feedback on their writing from their teacher is important for English learning students. However, it is also helpful for them to look at their classmates writing critically and catch some of the mistakes they might be making themselves.  Peer feedback is also important for the writer, as long as you set some guidelines as to what is appropriate feedback.  I recommend that my students find two things to complement the writer and one comment that they can grow on. Advice them not to make comments personal and to keep them constructive.  I assign partners to comment on each other and rotate partners so that they are getting feedback from different people.

4. Get them Thinking
In our textbook we are practicing phrases for giving their opinion, so I'm thinking of posing thought provoking questions and have students comment on these using the phrases we have been practicing in class.

5. Videos and Powerpoints that Illustrate
One of the great advantages of a blog is to be able to post videos.  I recently posted videos that illustrated stormy weather vocabulary like moonsoon, hurricane and tornado.  Since these are not natural occurrences in the country my students live they were not really familiar with these. This was a great way to illustrate it for them. Before I created my blog I had created a PowerPoint to illustrate textile nouns and adjectives I then emailed it to all my students.  Now that I have my blog I can just post it and we can easily refer to it.