Even though I'm counting down to summer right along with the children, one thing I have really enjoyed about this last nine weeks is blogging. After giving Google Drive a try with two of my six classes when we returned from Christmas break, I decided that after Spring Break I was going to try using Kidblog for my students' journaling in the other four classes I teach. Instead of grouping students into blogging groups by class period, I split up all one hundred-ish students into two blogging groups of fifty or so students each. This gave them an opportunity to enjoy an expanded audience and to read writing from peers of all different ability levels.
Over the past quarter, I've seen a definite improvement in the depth and breadth of writing that my students are composing. I recently had my summative evaluation for the year, and I told my principal that one area of teaching that I've worked hard to improve since the start of my career is my writing instruction. Everyone's writing process is different. Yes, there's the general process of brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing, but not everyone follows the same process successfully. I feel like this year I've hit a much better stride in my writing instruction, and I've seen a noticeable change in the way my students came to me as writers and in the way they are leaving me as editors and authors of their own work and the work of their peers. I truly believe that a major part of that improvement has been the implementation of technology in the writing process. It's much easier to workshop with students and check in regularly when I can access their work anywhere, from my phone or iPad. It's been a really cool experience that I've enjoyed immensely.
So, yes, I'm ready for my sweet seventh graders to be eighth graders. I'm also so incredibly proud of the way I've seen them grow intellectually this year, and I'm confident in the fact that they're leaving me as better learners. And that thought is just the positive, happy realization I need to get through the next two weeks!