Assistant Principal Blogs with Students

On one of our Elementary campuses, we have a great project that began in December with one of our assistant principals who wanted to get students reading and writing more before the STARR test. We were able to set up a "Book club Blog" that grew from Carie Broussard's idea. Her goal was to get 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders reading a novel in a structured environment. The students could comment, ask questions, or just share their thoughts and ideas. First, we created the blog space on Microsoft Office 365, in a safe, secure environment for students. Next, we had to show students how to "FOLLOW" the blog in Office 365, while covering some tips on commenting and being good digital citizens on the site. Mrs. Broussard and I met several times while we brainstormed and  planned for the Book Blog. She chose Ribsy by Beverly Clary for the first novel and created her "Welcome" post with some initial rules that are shown below:

Since this was our first book, Mrs. Broussard decided to move slow and allow students to join in any time as long as they were able to catch up  in the reading. The project was offered on a voluntary basis for students who were interested in reading with peers. I love this student's reaction to the blog:

Because of the slow pace, Mrs. Broussard reported that many students read ahead and were completed with the book, while others were staying with the slow schedule and pace. She said she would move much faster on the next book. This of course, was the beginning and many lessons were learned from the first one. I love this student's comment after she completed the book early:

Mrs. Broussard received 177 comments when she asked for ideas on another book to read on the blog. I think that speaks volumes on the possible interest on her next selection. What a tough decision she will have to make!

Throughout the course of the book reading, Mrs. Broussard would give out the Chapter to read and the date that it should be completed. She would post a small assignment for students to share or comment. Here is one sample of her last assignment before Spring Break:

The book was completed before Spring Break and I asked Mrs. Broussard to give her reflections on the outcome of the blog project. Here are her words below:

"Like most GREAT ideas, the Book Blog had a few pitfalls along the way but I believe it is a success overall. 

Students having time to access computers to make comments was sporadic.  I intentionally took a slow pace with the reading for this reason. The students and teachers did make an effort to comment as frequently as possible, but with all of the instructional expectations throughout the day it was difficult to add to the list.

Another stumbling block (which was create by me) was the slow pace.  Many of the students read the book much faster and then stopped commenting.  Many comments even indicated -- can't wait for the next book, I'm finished with this one!

As I said though, I feel that the blog is a success.  Students were making super connections to the story.  Their comments went beyond "I like it" or "It's a good book" to specifics they enjoyed and empathy for the main characters.  I also think it got students involved in reading a book they might not would have considered.  And, it allowed me to connect with students in a different way.  Students would stop me in the hall and say "I'm part of your book club and I love Ribsy" even if they never commented on the blog site.  I was also surprised by some of the most frequent comment-ers....they were students who are not typically the most outgoing or adventurous readers on campus.

We will begin a new book (or two??) soon.  I plan to move through the next book(s) at a faster pace and challenge students to comment a certain amount."

Carie Broussard
Assistant Principal
Mauriceville Elementary


Post a Comment

Comments are encouraged.