Thursday, July 28, 2011

Growing Conversation Through Blogging

Growing a Conversation
This month a conversation about summer professional reading between Jill Fisch (Summer Reading), Laura Komos (Summer Reflection and PD) and me (What Are You Learning?) went a little crazy.  Before we knew it, we planned an event that would allow us to read Patrick Allen's book, Conferring:  The Keystone of Reader's Workshop together.  Our hope was that others might find the learning interesting enough to join in the conversation and, thankfully, that is exactly what happened.  During this conversation between blogs I learned a lot about improving the ways I confer in my classroom.  The conversation helped me to create some goals for the new school year, and also helped me to build a community of colleagues I know will be ready to help as I continue my journey.  For me, this event affirmed the significance of blogging with the students in our learning communities.

The Significance of Blogging
Last year, many of you followed my journey into blogging with my class.  One day I just decided I was diving into it, and I never looked back.
After a bit of coaching from Katie DiCesare, I decided I would use for my students.  Though there were are other possibilities, Kidblog would be easy for my young learners to navigate, it would allow them to attach images and video, and it provided a variety of security settings.  

As we introduce new technology into our learning communities, I think we have to ask ourselves some tough questions.  For blogging I think we have to ask, how is it different from picking up a piece of paper and writing?  

Blogging builds conversations in learning through:
  • Community:  Blogging provided an opportunity for me to reflect with others
  • Thinking:  It required me to synthesize my reading and connect it with my world
  • Sharing:  It allowed me to "listen" to the thinking of others without interruption
  • Authentic Feedback:  It provided an opportunity to respond thoughtfully to the thinking of others
  • Valuing All Community Members:  It gave everyone an equal voice
  • Motivation:  It motivated me to keep up with my reading
So What's Different?
I've been following along with the learning at the Boston Learning Conference #blc11 on Twitter.  Yesterday Ewan Mcintosh tweeted this:

My reply:  

If we're just blogging and tweeting to say what we think, we are missing an important piece of learning. However if we are listening, responding, and building on the thinking of others we are taking learning to a new level.  It is in these interactions that blogging becomes more than writing on a piece of paper.  


  1. Love your synthesis at the end: listening, responding, and taking our learning to another level. This is so true for teachers and kids alike! Last year I dared to blog with third, fourth, and fifth graders. Wasn't quite ready for first and second, but maybe? Thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. Cathy,
    Thanks for organizing and guiding my own cyberpd. I love how you were able to participate in blogging and discover the importance of using it with your students. Your very last paragraph is thoughtful and gives me something to think more about.

  3. Thank you so much for giving me so much to think about with the cyper pd and the connection of blogs about Conferring. I agree that reading other's thoughts took my learning to a whole new level! I've been testing out this summer with students am excited to give it a go with my third graders next year!

  4. Cathy~
    I love the way you have summarized the importance/magic of blogging. So true the magic in blogging is the interaction and building with and from others. Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful and crazy world!

  5. Well said Cathy! The last part is key...listening, responding, and building on the thinking of others we are taking learning to a new level. I find that so true in my own learning. My goal this year is to help my students take blogging to the next level through their responses to each other and even with other classrooms outside of our building. You are always stretching me. :) Julie