Friday, September 5, 2014

Blogging in a Classroom Setting

The ways in which I would incorporate blogs into the classroom corresponds with the New York State Standards in ESL  specifically for grades 9-12. The two standards which I would utilize include ESL4: Language for Social Interaction, and ESL5: Language for Cross-Cultural Knowledge and Understanding. I have outlined below the specific requirements for each standard, as stated by New York State :

1. Language for Social Interaction; Performance Indicator 1A  and 1B (ESL4.C.1A, ESL4.C.1B)

  • Students use a variety of oral, print, and electronic forms for social communication and for writing to or for self, applying conventions of social writing
  • Students describe, read about, participate in, or recommend a favorite activity, book, song, or other interest to various audiences
2. Language for Cross-Cultural Knowledge and Understanding
  • Students will demonstrate cross-cultural knowledge and sensitivity in communicating with others of varied social, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. They will develop and use culturally appropriate behaviors, and a knowledge of local and US cultures and practices, in their interactions with others in their new cultural environment

As stated in Language for Social Interaction, the use of blogs would open a sphere of communication for which students can practice their English reading and writing skills. I would be able to post pictures and videos to connect an academic theory or idea (i.e. places in the home) with a concrete visual of, say, a kitchen and living room. The students then can have a better understanding about our use of words such as "kitchen" and "bathroom", and from there establish a literal and visual vocabulary of other components such as "refrigerator" or "bathtub". By establishing these visual and written components, students can then comment about what their room looks like, what their favorite room in the house is, what their dream house looks like. Such discussion allows for creative thinking within a sphere of immediate, open communication.

Additionally, I would use a blog to establish a space of cultural acceptance. While my job would be to assimilate students into the English language and culture, it is crucial not to ignore the various backgrounds that exist in the classroom. Through a blog I can showcase various American traditions, such as holidays, cuisine, and entertainment as aspects of American life. Music videos, recipes, and visuals would allow students to better engross themselves into a new way of life and allows them to compare one way of life to another. I would then encourage students to make their own posts about their cultural background, sharing with us what they feel stands out in their own culture. In doing so, students can practice appropriate cultural behavior, and the classroom (and blog-sphere) can be a place of universal acceptance and cultural understanding.


  1. Emily, I love how you would choose to use a blog for cultural acceptance. It's a really good way to give each student their own space to express themselves freely. I also like how you have included not only photos but also recipes, which is something that I think a lot of people would be interested in! Depending on how many cultures you have in your classroom, it can be very hard to cover them all and make sure each student feels as though their culture is represented. By having students do this individually, it would help you as a teacher know what each student thinks stands out in their culture without you having to pick and choose. I love this idea!

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  3. Emily,
    Like Mallory, I feel that your idea of having the students use a blog to showcase their own cultures could have many benefits. Students are sometimes asked about things related to their own countries and the practice of blogging about their native cultures would be helpful in learning the vocabulary necessary to explain things of importance to them to an English-speaking audience.

  4. Hi Emily,
    I really like your idea about connecting words to items. Many students learn visually and giving them the opportunity to be able to do so will help many English learners succeed in their goals. Taking it even further, you also said that you would ask them to share their own stories which I think is an awesome idea! This makes them feel connected to their own learning but at the same time being able to showcase themselves as not only a student, but also a person. This would help someone to feel as though they are not just doing homework, but being a part of a community of learners and sharers. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hello Emily!
    I completely agree with your purpose of establishing a space of cultural acceptance. I also think it is crucial not to ignore the various backgrounds that exist in the classroom because you don't want the students to lose their identity or feel that their culture is inferior to American culture.