Assessing Student Growth Over Time

@CESMediaCenter Ana works on KB post about buddy bench

B​logging is an effective classroom tool used to exceed learning objectives beyond traditional methods. It offers more than just a platform for writing and sharing ideas. It is a means for teachers to assess, connect, empower, and understand their students. For students, it is a way to to find their voice, while continuously learning more about their interests, strengths, and areas of growth.

There are many innovative ways to use blogging in the classroom to meet these goals. As a teacher, you simply need to be open to new ideas, implement creative lesson plans, and relinquish some control by offering the students a chance to choose their own inspiration for writing.  These choices, this freedom in writing, lead to higher student engagement, more meaningful learning, and an enhanced classroom experience for both teachers and students.

Within my classroom, blogging has become one of the best tools to promote literacy skills, while building students’ confidence to express ideas without the fear of making mistakes. Additionally, it has become a way to learn about my students and create a deeper teacher-student relationship. Blogs offer teachers the ability to learn about students and for students to learn about themselves. Yet, what I have found most valuable is blogging’s ability to foster an engaging learning environment, personal to each student, while providing a means for student growth to be tracked and to promote student reflection in the process.

With Kidblog, we have an opportunity for assessing students in multiple areas of communication. It provides a unique, personalized environment for​ encouraging students to convey their thoughts​,​ demonstrate understanding and​ make meaning out of content material. Because of Kidblog’s ability to be used class-over-class, year-over-year, students can begin blogging at a young age and continue into higher grade levels. At each phase, they further develop their skills, find comfort sharing knowledge and ideas freely, and continuously develop their content-rich digital portfolio. This ever-growing content can later be used as a focal point to help students see their progress and reflect on their work. They are able to review their first blog posts, compared to their current blog posts, and acknowledge their progress as writers throughout the year.

This progress is built upon the ability to engage students in the writing process through student collaboration and the opportunity to reach an authentic audience. In my class, students are asked to review the comments, to re-read their work, and to consider how they have developed over the year.  It has proven to be an effective way to provide feedback to students, to teach them to reflect and work on goal setting, but in a way that puts the control in their hands.

Students often surprise themselves. They develop skills in ways that are personal to them, and they can use this to track their own growth throughout the year. Even those students who ​initially were ​not the biggest fan of writing have been motivated after realizing their progress throughout the year.  Additionally, by taking a look back at where they started and where they are now, students will be inspired to take the next steps to keep moving forward.

 

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About the Author
I am a Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. I am also an attorney and earned my Juris Doctor Degree from Duquesne University School of Law and have a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology. I am the Communications Chair for the ISTE Mobile Learning Network, the President-Elect and Innovations and Resources Co-Chair for the Teacher Education Network and the PAECT Historian. I was selected as the 2017 Outstanding Teacher of the Year by PAECT (the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications in Technology, the PA affiliate of ISTE) and by the NSBA as one of the "20 to watch" educators. I am proud to be involved in several communities including being a Common Sense Media Educator, an Ambassador for BloxelsEDU, Buncee, CoSpaces, Flipgrid, Hoonuit, and an Edmodo Certified Trainer, Nearpod PioNear, Recap Pioneer, TES Ambassador and Ambassador for several other networks. I wrote chapter 3 of the Edumatch book “Snapshot in Education 2016”, and I am a contributing author to “Gamify Literacy” from ISTE. I enjoy blogging and writing for Kidblog and I am always looking for new learning opportunities to benefit my students. You can connect with me on Twitter @rdene915.

8 comments

  1. Carl

    Blogging for children can be an area of intense debate. One major concern is the tendency to become addictive and therefore consuming time for other important activities like school work and physical exercise.

    Nonetheless, technology and digital communication is here to stay and we better find better means to embrace it. I believe that blogging is a major opportunity for younger learners to enhance their skills. When effectively utilized, it can enhance creativity as well as writing and communication skills.

    Looking forward to seeing more innovation and research by individuals and institutions on how to assess learning when it comes to blogging.

    • Rachelle Poth

      Thanks for your post. It has been a work in progress, I constantly look at the benefits, ask students for feedback and try to evaluate the purpose for the blogging. It has provided a lot of opportunities for more open communication and collaboration. And it is accessible through their devices, which makes it possible to work from anywhere at anytime. Thank you

  2. Melvin Mathews

    I do think that assessment is important for the kids so that they understand where they are in the process. I really like rubrics because they let the student know what he or she did well and areas for growth. I think that having a variety of assessments, including traditional ones, is a valuable point to make as well.

    • Rachelle Poth

      Thank you so much for your feedback. I do enjoy using Kidblog as a way for students to enhance so many skills and also to provide for more authentic learning experiences.

  3. Ruth Belmont

    Awesome post. I’m also a teacher but never thought of this idea. Blogging is great way to get to know our children/students. I always try to make as much effort to guide my students in right way and direction. Now i’ll try this also. Thanks a lot for sharing this. You have helped me and lot of little lives. Keep Sharing.

    • Rachelle Poth

      I really appreciate your feedback and kind words. I do value the purpose of blogging for building the writing skills but have seen tremendous growth and changes in students in their confidence and comfort levels. The added bonus is learning more about them in the process and also that they can reflect on the progress they have made.

  4. Mike Sullivan

    As a future special education teacher I just wanted to say that this is exciting. When I was going through school I truly wish blogging and creative lesson plans were incorporated in my past courses. I believe this is a great tool to utilize to get kids excited to participate.

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