My 8th grade students are participating in a 40-day blog challenge. Each day two different students post an idea on our Tread Lightly blog of how to be a good steward of the environment by recycling, reducing emissions, using less packaging, planting trees, etc. Our blog project was inspired by “Tread Lightly” a 40-day challenge sponsored by Taking It Global. Go to: http://treadlightly.me/challenge.html and read about their challenge.
From October 24 to December 2, we will join others around the world in blogging about our commitments and encouraging others to do the same on our class blog located at: http://ccassinelli.edublogs.org
Since I only see the 8th graders twice a week I needed them to work on this project outside of class. I divided the students into teams of four. Each member has a specific job to assist their teammates with their blog posts. Here are the roles:
- Production editor – Your job will be to make sure your teammates post their entries on the correct date. You will also be in charge of moderating any blog comments on your posts and assign someone to respond to the comment.
- Technical editor – Your job is to help your teammates with how to post their blog entry. You should be pretty good with computers and willing to spend some time learning about Edublogs.
- Creative editor – Your job will be to assist your teammates in selecting images, media or creative entries to go along with their blog post.
- Communications editor – Your job will be to check the spelling and grammar of your teammates blog posts and maintain communication between group members.
Each teammate drafts their blog post in a shared Google Document and we maintain the 40 day schedule on a shared spreadsheet. Writing on a shared document allowed the students to write and edit their post and see what their teammates were planning. I wasn’t too concerned about duplicate ideas – I just encouraged the students to put their spin on their idea or support it with different facts.
Students are required to support their writing with facts and citations and give credit for images used. Some students are planning on making motivational posts using Big Huge Labs and comics with ToonDoo to post along their writing. Towards the end of the 40 days each team will add an embedded Google Form to survey their readers or check their knowledge.
One of the ways to be successful whenever you start a blogging project is to make sure someone is reading the blog and students are receiving comments. I signed up our class with Comments4Kids http://comments4kids.wikispaces.com/. Teachers list their class blogs on this wiki and I direct my student to visit those student blogs and leave comments and have them invite those students to follow our 40day challenge.
We’ve received comments from a variety of classes – like students from Gary Bertoia’s 9th grade class at Saigon South International School in Vietnam and Russ Goerend’s 6th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies classes. Having other students read and comment on their blog post have motivated our class and raised the quality of writing. Students are teaching each other and moving forward with this project with little teacher intervention though I do moderate all incoming comments.
Please consider joining our 40-day challenge and tell us your idea for reducing your carbon footprint on the environment at http://ccassinelli.edublogs.org