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And When Given the Choice, Student Topics for their Blogs

When students are given a choice and the option to decide what they are going to do, it is empowering and complicated at the same time. My students spent a few weeks before winter break exploring blogs and topics of interest. They made lists of possible topics, and then narrowed that list to three possibilities. From there they discussed their options with a partner, and finalized their decision. Giving students ownership and responsibility for their own learning is crucial to creating a blog site that will work.

The challenge for me as their teacher/facilitator, is providing support and guidance to students with a variety of topics, writing strengths, and yes, even motivation. Even though students have a choice,  I have discovered they still need me to keep them on track. I am responsible for making sure that throughout this process, we still meet the writing standards that are required by our district. Within this blogging process, I need to make sure student get the writing instruction and structure they need to be successful.

This first set of blog posts will revolve around a research question. Students will be posting about their research projects, keeping notes, holding digital conversations, and eventually posting their research project all on their personal blog site. This weekend I will be spending quite a bit of time reviewing all 90 blog sites to see what students have shared thus far. I will also be creating spaces where students  can work together to store research links and information on common topics.

Here is a list of some of  the topics selected by my students: (Soccer and PS3 being the two most popular.

Education,

Soccer

Birds

Basketball

CDub Step Music

P.S. 3

Sports

Music

Black Ops

Football

Cars

Art

Dogs

Folklorica

College

iPods

Mexico

Photography

San Diego Chargers

Local High School Sports

Holidays

Robotic Engineering

Border Issues

Families

Christmas

Animal Rights

Homelessness

Facebook

Baja

The Revolutionary War

Candy

Grafiti as an art form

Tomorrow they will begin the lesson by further refining their research question they would like to explore on their topic and then begin their on-line research.  We will share some of those crafted questions later in the week.

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