Everyone knows that the internet is a huge hit for school age children these days, so a great way to get kids excited about learning is to put it on the web. As my 15 year old cousin says "everything cool is on the internet" now I'm assuming her idea of the internet doesn't extend much past Facebook, Wikipedia, and YouTube; but she does have the idea right because learning from the internet can be "cool".
As teachers were always trying to come up with some new way to make classwork fun for the students. And honestly, for us as well because a teacher has a limit to how many papers they can read about whatever book and what it meant to the students before they start wanting to pull out their hair. It doesn't just have to be papers about English either, I'm sure there are teachers out there that think learning about the worlds Biomes (because everyone loves Biomes?) are supper exciting and they could talk and talk.....and talk, about it for hours not realizing that there students are half asleep. So if we think Of Mice and Men or the biomes are really interesting then why not give the students something fun to do along the way? Because in order to retain information you kind of have to like it.
So since kids love the internet and teachers want to keep things interesting for their students a great think to do is use a blog (like this one) so that your students can use the internet as a learning tool and blogging can be a great way to assess a students knowledge and make sure your still keeping track of some ESL Standards. A few ideas for using a blog in a classroom could be:
- As your students are reading their new book for English class post questions on your blog; what did you like? what didn't you like? What did you think about.....? things you didn't understand? comparing the books views to real life. That way as their posting their answers to questions they can see what other people think and before you know it a great conversation can start. It could also be used to post ideas about what students might like to read themselves for class. You can have each student post a description of a book they think would be good to read and look through others book descriptions to decide as a class what to read next. (standard ESL2 from link above)
- Another great way to use a blog could be as a group project page. In this day and age kids are so busy with after school activities and jobs that getting together outside of school for a project is nearly impossible, but through a blog they can stay connected without even having to be together. Each student would have the opportunity to post on the blog what they did for that day and the resources they found so that the other students can comment and add to the work and look through the resources. You could even use the actual blog and all their posts as the presentation for the class; posting pictures, writing papers through blogging, and keeping the resources and links up to date. (standard ESL4 from link above)
So next time your trying to think of a new way to teach a lesson remember there's a blog for everyone; just be creative! Just think of what you and your kids could accomplish with the use of the internet, you could still get butterflies in your stomach when you teach about the civil war and your kids can get excited about being able to use the internet; before they know it they'll know everything they need to know about the war and they wont even know they were learning!