I wanted to talk about some of the positive aspects of blogging today. We just had parent conference last week, and I was able to pull up the students work on the computer while talking to the parents. The next day several of the students came to school with stories about how they discovered their parents reading their essays that night. Interestingly, we were writing about the moral code that they live by, and I think several of the parents were surprised to find out that their children claim to live by the code of the street. Hopefully, as we continue to blog I will have more stories like this.
Many of my students are parents as well and as such sometimes can't make it to school on a regular basis. Apparently, they get time off after they give birth. Because of the blogs and email I have been able to keep in contact with these students so that they don't fall too far behind.
And now a less touching tale of classroom management. As a language arts teacher I have frequently had conflicts with students about whether they met a deadline for drafts of their papers. It should be mentioned at this point that I suffer from certain filing deficiencies and rarely had evidence to support my side. This led to many a compromise reulting in partial credit and excused assignments. I am now having the students turn in their drafts to the blogs. Since a date is affixed when it is posted in has minimized such arguments. Of course this gives the students until midnight to turn in their work, and in some case until 2:00 in the morning because they have the time set for Pacific and we live in St. Louis.
Another classroom management benefit is that students can no longer claim that they were afraid to turn their work into a sub. I no longer have to accept this excuse, and it was with a smug sense of satisfaction that I was able to say this to a student last week. Most of the time the work wasn't done to begin with and the sub was just an excuse of convenience.
As my management issues improve and student skill increases I hope to have more stories like this.