In Jennifer Clark Evan's two junior English classes in Virgina, I read seven blogs posts from each of the 40ish students about the novel A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Here are links to some blog posts I've made about this mentorship in the past:
The Beginning: my initial thoughts and ideas about this mentorship
Teaching delicious Through Skype: complete with two audio files
Reading Through Student's Eyes: how I learned about the novel through blog posts
Student Values; blog posts about the student's top five values
Besides all this, I also had to provide feedback on the posts that the student's made at six checkpoints within the novel. Here are some examples of my feedback to Jennifer's students:
Spelling: Matt and Ian
Originality: Ian and Chelsea
Connecting with Hemingway: Derrik
Learning about a different time and culture: Emily
Working on personal reflection: Rachel
Passionate posts: Emma, Jessica and Matt
Last post - near perfection! Brian and Hillary
I also saw that Jennifer posted about the blogging experience in her blog. It was nice to hear her perspective. I emailed her because I wanted some feedback on the work I'd been doing with her class: comments, compliments and most importantly, criticism. Here's what she said:
"You really tried to jump in and do anything that you could learn for yourself. Some of the students even commented on this-your strong work ethic. You were diligent in your commenting and did a great Skype presentation. That was not easy talking to a room of strangers two time zones away. You were flexible and well organized. I enjoyed working with you and wish you luck in the rest of your studies."
I think I experienced the most in Jennifer's mentorship class and spent a TON of time keeping up with all the their blog posts, but I'm now proud to say that I commented on every single blog post: that's over 250 comments! *high-fives myself* That doesn't go to say that my second mentorship, with Maria Knee's kindergarten class in Deerfield, New Hampshire, wasn't a great experience as well. Maria's class only made two blog posts during my mentorship, but they were great! Here are some links to previous blog posts about Maria's class:
The Beginning / Spiders
Skyping with Maria Knee's Class
Pigeons Like to Drive and Stay Up Late
It didn't take long to read and post on their artistic blogs, but it was very fun and I actually did learn quite a bit about what kids can accomplish at that age. As I mention in my previous posts, Maria had the students operating the computer for the Skype call - wow! I will keep their blogs in my Google Reader and hope to continue commenting on their blogs posts in the future. I also asked Maria for some feedback on my work with her students, but she has yet to reply.
Overall, I am glad that I participated in these mentorship opportunities, despite the huge amount of time that they took to do well. I have learned more than I originally expected from these classrooms, and definitely see the benefits in using blogs in a classroom to hand-in assignments rather than written work: the other students can see and comment on your homework! This can be scary, but that probably makes the students work harder! Enough rambling; hope you enjoyed reading about my mentorship experiences.