WELCOME TO THE 5th GRADERS’ BLOG!!
Since the implementation of the Bilingual Program in our classrooms, the increase in the number of hours taught in English and the significant improvement of our students’ level, have meant that we have had to adapt our working methods and produce new resources aimed at improving “our English teaching”. Teaching contents in a foreign language involves both a change in the way teachers teach and in the way students learn.
During the school year 2008-2009 we created a weblog for our students in the 2nd grade. It was a bilingual blog: that is, it was administered by an English and a Spanish teacher. It was created with the purpose of offering our students extra activities which could help them improve their learning. After that year all of my colleagues created and administered weblogs for their students for each grade.
We use the blog in the classroom to show our students how to make the most of it as a learning resource. We visit it when starting the lesson to show them the new articles and links and demonstrate how it can be used. We also help our students to write comments when we are in the classroom. By doing so, they feel more confident when using the blog as a learning tool at home.[quote]Children love sharing the blog with relatives and friends from other schools to show them the things they are learning.[/quote]
We use it as a kind of personal tutor for each student in their own homes. When students visit the blog, they have access to a wide range of activities that they can visit anytime they need.
As digital publication of content, blogs have a many characteristics that make them special and very useful for education:
- They allow the students to develop the ability to express themselves.
- They are easy to use.
- The whole content is organized in a chronological and thematic order. The thematic categories and the chronological files help the students to develop habits of organizing information, by creating their own categories of articles, links, etc.
- The users contribute by commenting on different articles and content, encouraging debates, discussions and responsible use of cyberspace.
- They allow shared or cooperative management of the blog, also the possibility to access it from any place and at any time, therefore it opens many possibilities to working cooperatively.
It is also a very good way to keep parents informed of what their kids are learning and how; whenever we give our students school letters to take home; we also post them on the blog so that parents have another format in which to read them.
On our blog we have a few permanent links; one of them is a ‘text to speech’ translator which our students can use at home to find out how a certain word is written in English or in Spanish as well as how it is pronounced.
Blogs, both inside and outside the classroom, are a fantastic modern-day teaching and learning tool. It is an excellent place to have different types and levels of extra activities so the kids can feel capable when practising them at home with their families, in a highly motivating environment.
Blogs can imply a lot of extra work for teachers, but the results are really worth it.
Estibaliz Medina Martín
- Estíbaliz’s classroom blog.On the right side of her blog under “Links,” look for the school’s other levels!