Monday, August 4, 2014

Student Spotlight

A teacher never stops brainstorming. From Pinterest boards for classroom ideas to picking up classroom books at a second hand sale, things continually leap to the minds of educators...summer or not. (Honestly, one of my best lesson ideas ever came to me in the shower, influenced by watching the movie Sixteen Blocks and my recent study of Joseph Campbell!) This summer has been pretty relaxing for me. I've spent adequate time hanging out with family and friends, reading, swimming, and volunteering. I feel like I hit a good balance this summer, so maybe that's why my brain kicked into teacher gear mid-July.

Thinking about writing one day, I began to wonder why it is so hard to get students to work their way through the complete writing process. Writing is difficult, but I'm not looking for perfection or miracles, just effort really. Most students stop at the rough draft, maybe rewriting it neatly or maybe not, and turning it in as the final copy. There are a few factors that need addressed, but the ones to begin with are the problems of audience and purpose. In a classroom, the teacher is the audience and the purpose is a grade, which becomes less motivating as time passes. I needed new audience and to my students, but something I could control.

And it hit me - this blog! Why couldn't my students post their writing to my blog? After two years, I have an audience, which according to my stats is international. I have plenty of readers and writers who comment and participate. It's a form of publication they haven't experienced and maybe never will again. Student Spotlight will post at least once, maybe twice, a month. Really it will depend upon the students. They have to have solid ideas to work with and if they are chosen, they can revise and edit their work for the blog. The writing will be assignments from class (I teach English, so these would still be book related!) or volunteer posts of book reviews or book related topics.

Here's where I ask a big favor of my readers and commenters. I would LOVE for my students' posts to receive the attention you would give to any guest poster - maybe even more?! Thoughtful comments or questions to make them think or discuss would be optimal. Compliments welcome too, of course! I will be encouraging students to comment back. I really want them to experience the value in reading and writing, along with the diverse community of readers and writers that exist in the real world, not just in English class with their whacked out, book lovin' teacher! I will consider all students for this opportunity, so some posts may not be as good as others, but trust that I have a reason for each student who posts here. Sometimes encouragement is all it takes to move to the next level.

Can I count on you?!


  1. You can count on me!! :)
    You know I love the idea, I'm looking forward to reading what your students want to share with us!

  2. I'm interested to hear how they respond to this idea. I think it's great

  3. Great idea, I look forward to seeing how this progresses!
    Bits & Bobs

  4. Lovely idea!! I look forward to reading them and commenting on them!

  5. Awww I love this. I'll keep an eye out and try to leave love for your students!

  6. This is such a great idea, Jennine. I'm in and look forward to reading what your students share.

  7. Thanks everyone! I'm really excited to see where this can lead. I'm already looking ahead to other possibilities.

  8. Replies
    1. Thanks! And thanks for sharing the post!

  9. Years ago, this is how I originally conceived the Emerald City Book Review (as a newsletter though, not a blog)...I'm not teaching any more, but I think it's a great idea! I'll look forward to your students' posts.