Using Blogs as a Reflection Platform to Deepen Learning

A classroom or school-wide blogging platform is a great tool for having students reflect on their learning. The beauty is that it can be used in ANY subject area, and perhaps is even more powerful in subjects where students don’t traditionally “write” in class.  Scaffold the reflective process for students by providing a list of possible questions that probe into their learning process.

For younger students – use SeeSaw or Fresh Grade –   While many elementary classrooms use Edublogs, other popular options for younger learners include platforms like SeeSaw or FreshGrade.  These sites facilitate parent views more easily, and provide easier access to including video for pre-readers and writers. Check out a SeeSaw overview here (grade 1 class)

Check out these student examples. Notice how the learning is deepened and extended as students reflect on their process.

1. In Foods Class: Appetizer

Student Reflection: For an appetizer we made Beet, Goat Cheese, Arugula Salad with a vinaigrette as a dressing. This salad stimulates the taste buds and therefore is a great choice for an appetizer. It altogether is very colorfuland flavourful.

This salad has a variety of shapes, from the thin sliced apples to the long cut red onion and even further with the crumble of the goat cheese and the unique shape of the arugula leaves. The texture also varies in this appetizer. The red onions are crunchy along with the apples while the goat cheese is smooth and melts in the mouth. The vinaigrette coats the salad and gives the dish extended flavor and shiny appearance. The salad has many colors within it. The bright red of the beets contrasts with the green of the arugula leaves. Red and green are complimentary colors and brighten the dish altogether. The clean bright white of the goat cheese contrasts with the other garnish, craisins which is a dark red. A variety of sizes are also incorporated into this dish. The leafy arugula, the sliced apple, and the crunchy pecans all help bring balance to the dish. With the contrast in texture, shape, size and color this salad is a great example of an appetizer.

If I were to make this salad again I would add less of the vinaigrette to the salad as it was drowning in it. I would also think ahead and plan the plating so that more of the toppings for the salad are visible on the plate. One thing I would keep the same is the placement of the beets. I placed them directly on top of the arugula leaves which allowed the other garnishes to stay clean and free of the red beet juice which would dye them.

2. At the culmination of a semester-long Current Events Project

Student Reflection: I learned about multiple events that I was not even aware that they had occurred. First of all, China and the United States have a well rounded relationship with many trials and tribulations. They are not always the best of friends to one another and can be focusing on their own national interests at times. However, China and the United Sates have a very important and on going tie to one another. Trade between the two is so vast that China is the second largest trading partner next to Canada. The relationship is beneficial to both and that is why it is still and will continue to be a fulfilling relationship. One thing that I was unaware of was that NATO accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy building while bombing Serbians that were in Kosovo. This was a substantial event for this relationship.

I definitely learned much more about the world than I did before. Before this project, I was unaware of the significant impact that international relations have on each country and even further how it affects those around them. Taiwan, for example, was something that I was familiar with but I was unaware of the depth of the issue. Because of the project I can tell others about what I have learned and further explain the controversial relationship between the US and China.

Despite me learning a widespread of events that occurred between two nations I found that after numerous amounts of research it appeared to be a continuous spectrum of the same issues. Trade between these two countries was one of the main necessities for the relation and other than that there was not much to the relation. Learning about the history was interesting but if I could have switched I would have preferred a more impactful and possibly devastating topic to explore. These issues although information can be harder to find, would be more interesting to me. If I could have switched I would have taken that opportunity.

Some of the biggest challenges for me was not necessarily finding the information needed but finding the benefits and draw backs that came with the relationship. I myself did not fully understand the relationship even after researching it because there was numerous opinions about it. I was unsure which to believe. Citing my information came easy to me and I found that part of the project time consuming but easily done. I was hardly ever stressed over this project and I believe that is because i took time almost every weekend to do a little bit of the work and when the checkpoint came I was already finished.

To finish, my project is obviously an on going issue/relationship and therefore much will change. I will most likely still hear about the issue/relationship but wont go as far as researching it on my own. I learned vast amounts of information about events that occurred in the world and between the United States and China than I probably ever would have with this project. Therefore, it was a great way to help students learn more about the world and some of the issues that are arising and those that are continuing.


3. After a group project in Psychology Class

 Student Reflection:  I think the most enjoyable part of this project was being able to come up with different ideas and using that to our advantage. For example, we chose to make the project funny and a bit goofy, but at the same time still taking into consideration it needs to be professional as well. I believe one thing my group did really great on is coming together and deciding which aspect is our best qualities to work on, in order to get the project done. The part of the project I am most proud of is how well the project came together. Saying that, sadly we did not decide to dress up. However, it still turned out very well and my group still shares laughs while reading this. Some of the challenges my group faced was being able to focus and not being able to contribute enough. Since our project was so small it was hard for everyone to have something to do at all times. I enjoyed working in a group because this was a huge task, and I found it really cool how we got to pick our own and communicate our ideas effectively.