I've just introduced my ESL students to blogs via our class Ning. Anyway it's got me thinking about a few things. Should I correct all their writing? My students are refugees and migrants learning English and I don't want to discourage them in anyway. I want them to feel free to get their ideas down and to feel confident doing so.

Should I respond modelling correct spelling and grammar?

Should they write in Word first and do a spell check etc?

What do you do with your students? How do you work with blogs? I'd be grateful for any ideas/suggestions.

Tags: assessment, blogging, esl

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Hi Greg, I am very interested in this - I left a long reply at Fireside, but I am leaving a note here just so I can get email notifications about replies that show up in this forum also! :-)
I am also very interested in this discussion. I teach Latin to Middle School students. So far, I've only had them do one blog post and it was a completion grade. I would love to do more, but I am also not sure how I should grade the posts.
I have a standard set for blogging. I have most of my students create the post in Word and then paste in into the post. I believe that this is not a bad skill to teach kids as many times I do this when I write online. Many online college courses will require students to create documents and post them in the forum, etc. Using Word is a great way to help students edit.

I do not correct/modify the writing. If I have a student who is posting things which need correcting, I will take them down until corrected and encourage or require them going forward to write in Word. I do want them to feel that they will not be edited once online.

Good Luck!

Sue P
Greg, sounds like a really good project. But like anything planning and implementation are key.

What is it that you want them to have accomplished by the end of the project or key points within the project? Once you know that then you can work backwards and make some simple rubrics (use google to find lots of online resources) to help guide and keep on course .. if the student help with the rubrics it's even better. Start with the end in mind, but allow as always for an organic project.

Is the overall aim to learn the writing process, enhance communication skills, exercise collaboration or reflection, or become digital citizens (etc.)? From a language point, is your main concern accuracy (correction) or fluency (communication)? Or are you just looking for ways to increase exposure to and use of the language? It might be helpful to take a look at Bloom's Taxonomy for a refresher on setting objectives that promote higher thinking skills and consider those in your course design. Take note of the action verbs, very key as students should be doing.

Also, learning to learn and to self correct is good .. or to have peer review of the blogs and let the students do the "correction" for you ... learner autonomy is key .. with teacher as a facilitator .. setting up tasks and then monitoring. Perhaps rather than strict correction you could have a reflection (language foucus, etc.) period where the group discuss common issues (that they have and that you've seen or taken note of). These give the students "Ahas" that are more meaningful and constructive to them and doesn't single anyone out (safer).

In the end, you as teacher decide what is best. Good luck!

I think that your comments are right on. The first question that needs to be answered is "What are the objectives of the activity?"

I think that too often people have students use tools of Web 2.0 so that they are using the tools of Web 2.0. I'm pretty certain that this does not promote learning.
I really like your reply to this topic, Frank. Gives me some good ideas for introducing this way of working for the students (I teach adults literacy, ESL, communication and job-seeking skills).

I would agree with Frank...Faced with your student population I would have the students:

- type their entries in Word first so they can get the assistance of the spellcheck and grammar check
- track changes and add comments to a peer's submission (you can find rubrics on peer editing all over the web)
- edit and revise their blog post as appropriate
-post to their blog

you could then use a rubric to grade the post...
Thanks so much Ruth and Frank...

Yes, one of my students actually started using Word just as you describe Ruth to proof her work. I'm going to get her to show others.

Thanks Frank too for the wealth of ideas. I really enjoy your blog as an ESL teacher. Yes I'm going to sharpen up what I'm trying to achieve skill wise with the blog etc. Also really like the peer review of blogs where the students assume some control in the process. The reflection is also a good one. I'd been thinking about that - the notion of this being an issue arising in our Learning Community and how we could approach it.

Wow so much to think about. That's what I like about these forums, the opportunity to learn so much, so quickly.
Hi Greg,

There's a great book by Kirby & Liner called Inside Out...and in one of the sections, it provides a great rubric for struggling writers---another section focuses on getting the students to "get the writing" first--corrections later. I use a generic rubric first and then individualize a rubric for each of my students to tackle their individual problem areas. It means more work for me, but it really helps people understand that everyone has some bad habits with writing--

Hope this helps.

When you think about a rubric for your students you may want to involve them in what the rubric should include. then there's more ownership for their writing and grades. You can create your own personalized rubric at Rubistar --rubistar.4teachers.org

Hi Arlene,

I found that rubistar4teachers simply led me to more and more sponsored sites. Never found a rubric that worked! Can you give me a better link within that site that you found really worked?

Many thanks,

Hi Becca,
The URL is http://rubistar.4teachers.org - the one you went to is an impostor!

The 4Teachers project comes out of the ALTEC (Advanced Learning Technologies) project at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. They have a TON of useful tools for project-based teaching and learning with technology, professional development, and more. You might want to check out http://www.altec.org/ for the whole line up. Rubistar is just one of many goodies there!

So seriously, try this link to Rubistar, what you saw was NOT the real deal.



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