My name is Henrietta Miller and I am a stage 3 teacher and PYP coordinator at Roseville College, a K-12 Anglican girls school in Sydney. I am also a TeachMeet Australia founder member, an Adobe Education leader and Blogger.
I’m not interested in too much of this, marking. Now obviously as a teacher and a year 6 teacher I do have marking and it is a school requirement I do set homework but why add to my marking load with homework as bookwork? Who wants to lug home a pile of books? What good does it do for their learning? Apart from anything I’ve always found that those who can do and those who cant avoid or get their parents to do it for them. I also don’t believe my students care what I write in their books. They might care if I gave them marks, which incidentally we don’t at my school. Comments only with next steps to learning feedback. But to students marks are only useful so they can compare themselves to each other, which is no help to anyone. I believe that peer editing, peer marking and personal reflection teach way more to a student than my slashed red pen.
I also want their homework to be meaningful, to add to their prior knowledge, to build skills and to prepare them for high school.
So I believe that by banishing boring homework and using blogging instead you will be taking the first steps to empower your students to care about what they write. You will be giving them an audience for their work and you will be doing your bit to work smarter not longer. Yes you may still have the doers and the avoiders amongst your students but not as many I guarantee it. At Roseville College we use students blogs for all our homework in year 6 from about the middle of term 1. And in term 2 we use it to complete a self –directed Passion Project
But lets get down to the nitty gritty first. Outcomes, we all need to meet them and they are what should define what your students are learning in your classroom. These are directly taken from the NSW version of the new Australian English Curriculum.
Plan, compose, review, experiment, read, view, compare, reflect all these verbs and more can be found in these outcome statements not to mention the text types of visual, multimodal, digital. I believe that you can meet all these outcomes and more through class and student blogging. Not to mention audience. What better audience can a primary student have but their peers, their community and the wider world? So you can support your students learning in English through the use of blogs.
A Passion Project is a student driven project where they decide what they want to learn, how they want to share their earning and what they will produce.
Each week they need to complete a little of the task and write about it. Each week they must also visit four other student blogs, read their posts and comment on them.
I’m now just going to share with you a few screen shots of students blogs to give you some idea of what they did. Essentially their weekly task involved writing a reflective post on their own blog and as I said visiting four other students in rotation to comment on what they had been up to. We also encourage parents and families to comment and connect with their daughter's learning.
Alex - motorbikes
Emma, dress making with no experience at all.
Lily taught herself to crochet, made help videos
Fabulous reflections on mistakes, admitting failure is hard for girls on year 6.
Sport mad Sophia surveyed students around the globe and used he results to create a website about sport and keeping healthy.
Passion Project presentation day – empowering, fun. We invite year 5 students, other teachers and parents. During the afternoon each student has a ten minute time slot to give her presentation and during the rest of the hour she watches others. Cooking Programming an arduino board to open a guinea pig hutch
Poetry and matching photographs taken
Designed her own surfboard and made video clips of herself surfing
Designed and sewed a range of cushions and sold most of them at our presentation day
The crocheted lion
The dog who performed tricks
Cooked a range of baked goods and sold them every Sunday at church to raise money for Nepal
Made a Dolls house complete with electric wiring for lights all- made by the student
Weekly reflections kept students accountable
To scale model of a water slide,
Final reflections on presentation day with really good suggestions on how to improve it for all next year.
Like to learn more?
Ban boring homework use blogging instead- The abbreviated version
BAN BORING HOMEWORK
USE BLOGGING INSTEAD-
THE ABBREVIATED VERSION! – TERM 2 PASSION PROJECTS
• plans, composes and reviews a range of texts that are more demanding in terms of
topic, audience and language
• experiment with visual, multimodal and digital processes to represent ideas
encountered in texts
• identifies and compares different kinds of texts when reading and viewing and
shows an understanding of purpose, audience and subject matter
• thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively and critically about information and
ideas and identifies connections between texts when responding to and composing
• recognises, reflects on and assesses their strengths as a learner
• http://bit.ly/YNc6AE - for student instructions
• Student driven learning for them to make
something or learn a new skill
• 5 – 7 Blog posts that reflect on the learning
• Weekly comments that encourage and respond to
• A final presentation morning to share learning
http://bit.ly/1sOiIpJ - for instructions
Visit my blog
www.classroomchronicles.net and search
Check out www.year6rc.edublogs.org
Visit our student blogs to read about their
See just how reflective students can be