Up and running with the Year 10 blogging

It took me half an hour to get my year 10 French class up and running with their WordPress blogs. They were really good but at one stage I had to get up and see whether they were actually doing what I asked because they were so silent. They had become very intense and were trying to keep up. Two had wifi issues but we smoothed that over with an iPad until they got their wifi back. Another had missed most of what I had done but as an English as second language learner it was just probably too much information for him. He told me and I shall help him get going because his capacity to do and understand is excellent. It is hard when language barriers stand in the way. Something I like to avoid. In years 11 and 12 the blogs are there to back up work, provide some authentic learning, practice target language skills and explore culture. The year 10 ones are going fulfil a different role and some of that will be discovered as we go along. We learned about categories, tagging and how to put links so we have the links to other student blogs and sites for learning French. I plan to link up the blogs across the 3 year levels once we all get going. I want to see if students like supporting each other in cyberspace across classes. They support each other well within class groups in my experience. I am also going to use their blogs to extend their learning in a lesson I am not there. Another language teacher will take the lesson and already the possibilities are opening up. At the moment the blog will be to practise the things we have done in class and then to explore learning opportunities. We were doing telephone conversations. One of them was listening to where someone was. She was in Bora Bora. The students did not know where it was . It is in a French speaking country so one of their blog posts this week will be about Tahiti. For younger students this is a great way to fill knowledge gaps because they are in charge of their learning and they like that. We are also learning about Brittany along with our telephone conversations so they can look at Brittany, the food, the lifestyle and the fact it has Gaelic as a language. Blogs can really extend the boundaries of the classroom. I have not looked at their blogs as yet as we have only just set them up. I’ll give them a week to sort them out and then I shall go visiting.They were certainly trying to get it right.  My year 11s and 12s got their blogs together really quickly and what was evident was they had a real awareness this was going to be public and they wanted their work and their French to look good. The year 12s could revisit their blogs from last year and the year 11s had set theirs up at the end of year 10. The video shows you how to set up a WordPress blog. There are much longer videos if you want to look them up on YouTube. They explain things well. I really am curious to see how these younger students manage blogging. One thing I noticed was they were immediately attracted to the quick posting option and the reader. They much preferred the blue and white dashboard and felt uncomfortable in the traditional set up. Colour is everything to younger students and blue and white is probably familiar ground for them.

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