Using Blogs as Writing Portfolios

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Student Collaboration

Student Collaboration

Students will share their blogs with peers in their direct class, as well as with their classroom teacher. On occasion, students will have their blog contents reviewed and assessed by peers. Students will also have the opportunity to have others post to their blog through the comments section, as well as be able to communicate with other students around the globe via Epals.

The purpose of a portfolio is to collect data works to share or display as evidence of progress over time. Students will complete this aspect of sharing during student-led conferences at the end of each reporting term.

Ongoing interaction between the students, their blogs, and the classroom teacher will occur as students post assignments to be assessed.

Mrs. Harwood

Information and Communication Technology and Writing Portfolio Blogs

Information and Communication Technologies Utilized when
Using Blogs as Writing Portfolios

1. Word Processing
2. Internet Technology
3. Research Skills
4. Multimedia Software
5. Graphic Organizers

The entire purpose of this blog is to gather, organize, synthesize, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information. The various assignments across the subject areas will determine which software materials that students will utilize and add to their blog with. Most assignments will involve using a word processor and the internet to upload the student’s post to their blog.

Mrs. Harwood

Links for Student Use in this Project


The following links are provided for students to use and access to information they may require or have an inquiry of:

Website Evaluation

Copyright Issues

Citing Sources


Acceptable Use Policy (to be posted when it is developed this fall)

Mrs. Harwood

Details of the Project

Details of Project

1. The classroom teacher will instruct the students about how to set up a blog.

2. Students will set up their own blogs.

3. Students will make posts to their blogs according to assigned work.

4. The classroom teacher will assess and track student progress using the blog, and provide students with appropriate feedback.

5. The classroom teacher will troubleshoot any difficulties using the blog.

6. Students will continue to make posts to their blog throughout the year, and improve their practice through reflection.

7. Students will share their accomplishments of their blog with others.

This project would be best carried out in a classroom set up with laptops, so that students could have the ultimate amount of time to dedicate to their writing and blog development. Another solution to this issue is using a computer lab several times a week. The students will need access to the internet in a controlled setting where they can be monitored by their classroom teacher.

Mrs. Harwood

Roles of Participants when Using Blogs as Writing Portfolios

Roles of Participants


Students will be charged with setting up their blog according to teacher guidelines, meaning they must follow the appropriate use policy, and school board regulations regarding computer access. They will be expected to follow assignment criteria, and implement the process of writing as necessary. Students will be encouraged to meet deadlines, and ask for assistance when needed.


The classroom teacher must set up the project and monitor student progress. They must be available to support student difficulties and troubleshoot problems encountered. The teacher will assess the assignment submissions of students and provide them with feedback. Teachers will collaborate with other staff to gain support for students to post all subject area assignments on their blog. Lastly, the teacher must facilitate learning throughout the year as students develop in their writing skills, and blog development.

Administration / Parents

Even though administration and parents are not directly involved in this project, the overall outcome of the project requires their support. Administration should be made aware of this type of learning occurring in the classroom, as well as parents. If parents have any objections, the organizing teacher may resolve the issue.

Mrs. Harwood

Types of Learning Experiences

Types of Learning Experiences

The types of learning experiences students will include but not be limited to the list below. As opportunities arise, students will be introduced to more complex uses of the blog. Students will have the opportunity to develop their writing skills over the course of at least the following list of activities and many more:

Self and Peer assessments
Process of Writing- Compositions
Learning Logs, reflections
Reports from other Subject Areas
Meeting the grade 5 language expectations
Other relevant learning opportunities that involve writing

In terms of the timetable, I would like to make this project a year long one, to truly have the students be able to see their progress over the year.

Mrs. Harwood



Strategies and Suggestions Related to Writing and Students
with Special Education Needs

The teacher may:

§ encourage oral discussion of the assignment before writing begins;

§ use direct instruction and modeling to encourage the use of a variety of pre-writing and organizational strategies (e.g., conferences, brainstorming, illustrating, tape recording, mapping, outlining, semantic webbing);

§ encourage the use of drawing or sketching as part of the planning process;
The Ontario Curriculum Unit Planner: Special Education Companion © Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2002

§ model and display examples for specific purposes in writing (e.g., letters, editorials, essays);

§ model and display various aspects of the writing process (e.g., mapping, outlining, revising);

§ develop strategies with the student that will help him or her move from the pre-writing stage
to sequencing ideas for writing (e.g., TOWER – Think, Organize, Write, Edit, Rewrite;
MAPS – McGill Action Planning System);

§ save the student use a computer for word processing, proofreading, and editing (e.g., to make use of spelling and grammar checkers);

§ provide, as appropriate, technology for speech recognition, word predication programs, and computerized organization tools such as Inspiration;

§ concentrate on teaching one writing skill at a time and assess accordingly;

§ encourage the student to write drafts, and suggest ways he or she can improve drafts;

§ provide frequent feedback on the student’s draft-writing abilities;

§ provide the student with opportunities for collaborative writing with peers;

§ have the student read his or her work aloud or on tape to help with self-editing;

§ teach the student to use electronic spellers, spell-checkers, dictionaries, and thesauruses, and make these available;

§ provide frequent opportunities for small writing assignments as an alternative to long writing assignments;

§ allow the student additional time to submit writing assignments and, where possible, help the student to “chunk” writing assignments for draft submissions;

§ negotiate the required length of appropriate deadlines for written assignments with the student;

§ provide the student with opportunities to submit alternatives to writing assignments (e.g., graphic representations, dramatic or media presentations, collages).
(taken from OCUP, 2002)

**See the links on this blog for many websites to support the use of specialized software in the classroom.

This internet based project can be used with students of all ability levels. Many students with special education needs already have their own or have access to specialized equipment to support their learning needs. Therefore, they will be allowed to use such equipment to support their learning in this area.

Mrs. Harwood

Assessment and Evaluation of Using Blogs as Writing Portfolios

Assessment and Evaluation

Rubrics and checklists will be used as well as self and peer assessments throughout the course of the year to assess and evaluate the various writing assignments. Students will complete learning logs, and reflections, and post them to their blogs.

Another important feature of using the blog as a writing portfolio is that the teacher will be able to provide accurate and ongoing feedback to the student via writing conferences.

Not all submissions to the blog will be assessed. At the end of the school year, a summative evaluation will be provided to assess student progress and overall writing development via a writing conference.

Mrs. Harwood

Project Context and Demonstration of Learning

Context for Learners / How Will They Demonstrate their Learning?

Throughout the course of the school year, students will be provided with the expectations of each assignment as it is given. Students will then fulfill the required expectations, and post the completed assignment to their personal blog.

The end result will be 40 weeks of writing development, and hopefully will result in the pride of accomplishment for each and every student.

Mrs. Harwood

Learning Outcomes of Project

Learning Outcomes

GRADE 5 WRITING : OVERALL EXPECTATIONS (based on the Ontario Curriculum Expectations)

By the end of Grade 5, students will:

1. generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience;

2. draft and revise their writing, using a variety of informational, literary, and graphic forms and stylistic elements appropriate for the purpose and audience;

3. use editing, proofreading, and publishing skills and strategies, and knowledge of language conventions, to correct errors, refine expression, and present their work effectively;

4. reflect on and identify their strengths as writers, areas for improvement, and the strategies they found most helpful at different stages in the writing process. (taken from, 2006)

As well, students will be expected to follow appropriate netiquette, the schools acceptable use policy, develop appropriate internet use, and navigation skills. There is the general expectation that students, by the end of the school year, will show less resistance to written tasks, possess an ease of use when surfing the internet, depict further confidence using technology, and have the blog as evidence of their progress over the course of the year.

Mrs. Harwood

Project Plan

Project Plan

Students will complete various writing assignments throughout the year and post them on their personal writing blog, to create an online writing portfolio. This process will be effective in the sense that it has the ability to include all levels of learners.

My project will be applied at the grade 5 level, since I will be supporting students with special education needs at that level this year in the classroom. However, this type of internet based curriculum project could be used at any grade level, with only a change in the grade appropriate curriculum expectations made.

Mrs. Harwood

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Using Blogs as Writing Portfolios

Blogs are wonderful things. There are so many uses for them. As a teacher, I am challenged to constantly revise and reflect on my own practice. Hopefully, the changes I make improve my practice.

This year, I would like to have all students in my class have their own Writing Portfolio Blog. The intention or purpose of this project is to:

a. Improve writing skills
b. Foster more interest in writing on the parts of all students in the class
c. Meet curriculum expectations
d. Provide students with an alternate method of writing

My hope is that by the end of the school year, students can look back and see all of their hard work and efforts. As well, they will be able to see their development and progress vividly, using the internet. A magical aspect of using Blogs is that they are available for students to share their work at any given time, with anyone they wish. The internet is a new learning environment. I am charged as a teacher in the 21st century with preparing my students for the future. Thus, writing portfolio blogs.

Mrs. Harwood