Friday, September 5, 2014

Mod 2

One thing from Zeinstejer's "Blogging in Language Learning" that really stuck with me was that blogs create “An appropriate environment to encourage students to collaborate and share not only the language but also their different cultures and even personal queries and expectations”. I think this is important to incorporate into all classrooms because it helps develop a sense of community, even if it is in an online setting.

Zeinstejer shares many activities that blogging can be used for by teachers and students. From my undergrad, I have a strong background in English. With that being said, one thing that perked my interest was that teachers can use blogs for posting quotes and having their students write their interpretation and applying it to some aspect of their life. I like this for many reasons. First and foremost, if I was working with high school students, this is similar to writing a critical lens essay. An important part of a critical lens essay is being able to read a quote, put it into your own words and then being able to relate it to a text. This activity gives students the opportunity to practice that, but instead of relating it to a text, they can relate it to their life. This also gives you some insight to your students and helps you to get to know them better. It gives students a chance to practice their reading and writing skills informally which tends to seem less threatening.

One thing that a student can do with a blog is create an ongoing portfolio. What I’ve encountered while working with ESL students is that, they tend to focus on how much they don’t know, opposed to how much they have learned. Zeinstejer shared that teachers should focus on content, not dwell on mistakes. This makes writing less intimidating because they can share their thoughts without getting penalized for misspellings or grammar mistakes. I think having a blog where student’s submitted work over a period of time would give them the opportunity to look at how much they’ve progressed. They can witness how much their vocabulary has increased, or how they're now able to develop thoughts or string sentences together. It’s actual evidence for a student to reflect back on to track their progression.

Two performance indicators that a student blogger could demonstrate in grades 9-12 would be ESL2.C.1.I: Students engage in collaborative activities through a variety of student groupings to create and respond to literature. This could happen with students creating a blog together or even commenting on each others blogs. Also,ESL2.C.1.K: Students apply self-monitoring and self-correcting strategies while reading, viewing, discussing, listening to, or producing literary texts and essays. This could be done with what I described above where students create an online ongoing portfolio.


  1. I particularly liked your comment on having students interpret quotes. As you mentioned, this might be a good way to gain insights into your students own lives. In addition to quotes, ESL students could also interpret idioms which you may or may not have previewed in class. This could be a good informal assessment tool to check for understanding or see how the students interpret idioms on their own without the previewing.

  2. I really liked how you pointed out that blogs can be a portfolio of accomplishments. Especially for ESL students, they may not be able to see a real picture of how they are improving. Sometimes grades and tests don't do an accurate assessment of that. So by virtually seeing improvement I think you're right in that it will encourage more development and give the students a greater sense of achievement.

  3. Hey Mal! I completely agree with that quote "An appropriate environment to encourage students to collaborate and share not only the language but also their different cultures and even personal queries and expectations..." I think it's very important for students to feel comfortable and share their culture and opinions with others! I also talked about portfolios! I think they are beneficial for both native and ESL students. I think it's always great when a student can see how much they have improved in a year.

  4. Hi Mallory. I really like your idea of having students create a portfolio through the use of a blog. You're right about how important it is for students to see their progress. When I've tried to incorporate time for students to look at their class portfolios in order to see and reflect upon their progress, many students were disinterested and chose instead to use the time to socialize. Having a digital portfolio would allow students to look at their past work whenever they wanted. Towards the end of the year, you asks students to compare something they had written at the beginning of the year and a recent piece.