Blogs in Student-Led Conferences

Let me start this post with a disclaimer. There are a million ways to use blogs in education. The following is just one way we are using blogs at SAS. As my time winds down here at SAS I find myself reflecting on the past three years and keep asking myself: Did I leave a mark? I think we all go through this and we all want this on some level. We want to know that our institution is better off because we were there. That somewhere we left a mark on a student, on the organization, or on fellow teachers. I think it’s a natural human feeling to reflect and hope that you have had a lasting positive effect at your workplace. Last year I introduced blogging to SAS. A year later we have close to 700 student blogs/web sites and we’re closing in on 200 teacher blogs/websites. I say blogs/websites because I do believe the two are different and the way in which a user decides to use the space they have been given is up to them. Last year we saw the blogs be “another thing” that we were doing at our school. This year thanks to some leaders in the classroom the blogs at certain grades have become just what we do. Our middle school was been moving to a Student-Led Conference (SLC) format over the past two years. Personally I think it’s the only way to hold conferences with parents as it puts the student at the center of the learning process (what a concept). My last three years in the classroom I ran SLCs and at my last school in Saudi Arabia was head of a committee that saw us implement SLCs K-12 in our school (my lasting moment at that school). (An article I wrote in 2002 on Student-Led Conferences as part of my Master’s Degree) Student-Led Conference are usually built around a portfolio created by the student. This year our 8th grade team with the help of Amanda DeCardy (8th Grade Math teacher, and next year a technology integrator for the school) set out to use the blogs as a place for student to produce, upload, and reflect on work in their classrooms. Essentially creating an e-portfolios. Early in the year I sat down with the 8th grade team for about an hour and we discussed how students could organize their...

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