Welcome to The Write Weblog! This weblog will be the record of a weblog initiative at J.H. House Elementary School in Conyers, Georgia. I chose this name because the plan is to use weblogs with educators and students to make writing THE focus. Writing matters at J. H. House Elementary School!
For the past two years, I have initiated weblog projects with a group of fourth and fifth graders at this school. My goal was to explore ways to use this technology to improve students’ writing skills.
The first project, NewsQuest, used current events with a group of fourth and fifth graders as a springboard to develop writing, critical thinking skills and media awareness, and to make connections with the school’s curriculum objectives.
The second project, Thinking & Writing Wrinkles, fostered cooperative learning between native English-speaking students and ESL (English as a Second Language) fifth-grade students. Students developed their abilities as speakers, listeners, readers, writers and thinkers using weblogs to write about topics of interest to them. A weblog, Idioms Are Fun!, was also used in this project as a place to talk about idioms, their meanings and their origins. Students wrote sentences, illustrated them, and even wrote stories. This gave students practice using idioms and they had fun during the process!
Weblogs have proven to be an excellent way to focus on writing and thinking. Student writing improved. Student motivation soared! Students experienced a learning community that went beyond the school walls. We want to continue the learning journey.
This year, the goal is to branch out within the school, and get more educators and students involved exploring more ways to use weblogs effectively in elementary schools.