Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lessons Learned

My college students have just finished their last blogs for the semester. You can find their reflection posts here. This semester is the second one that I have required all of my undergraduate and graduate students to create and write a blog for our Teaching Writing in Middle and High School class. I first participated in the Slice of Life Writing Challenge in March 2012. I then created a two week mini-challenge in May for my freshmen with my cohort, Lee Ann Spillane.  In the spring of 2013 I challenged my grad students with a range of digital writing choices.  Five of them elected to do the Slice of Life Story Challenge in March with me.  In the fall of 2013, I made digital writing via a blog a mandatory component of the graduate section of the class.  In the spring of 2014, I made it a mandatory component for both undergrads and grads and then have continued that requirement this fall.

Lessons Learned 
  • Even adult writers can struggle coming up with ideas for Open Posts.
  • Some sites such as Tumblr and Wikis are not as easy for others to post feedback. 
  • Be mindful of how/when/what you require for posts.
  • A discussion of audience & purpose are still invaluable.
  • The lessons learned about yourself as a writer and about digital writing matter most for your future students, not the quantity of the posts or comments.  
  • You will learn so much more about your students than what they can reveal to you in class.
  • A mini-lesson on commenting can be helpful.
  • A dedicated feedback partner for each student other than the teacher ensures some writing accountability and everyone gets at least two comments.
  • Students are scared to go public even the ones who seem confidant in class.
  • It takes time to comment on every single student.  Be sure to set aside that time each week.
This year is the fall is the first that I have been dedicated to writing weekly. I want to thank Stacey and her team for creating and continuing to host the weekly slice and the March challenge. It is truly your contribution to the world!  I want to thank Lee Ann Spillane who challenged me to do this with her in 2012.  I also want to thank all of my students and colleagues who have taken the writing plunge. I love every minute of this digital writing learning journey!

1 comment:

  1. Insightful lessons learned. We have a large group of teachers from my district who participate in the March SOLSC, and the lessons learned for us as writers are invaluable. I think it's a really smart thing to require your students to write. There is no better way to teach them how to teach writing.


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