Literacy ShopTalk

"Prepare self-directed learners to think critically about the messages received and created by media.”

‘Walk the Walk’

Written By: Paula Neidlinger - Nov• 13•13

‘Walk the Walk’…….. leave a footprint with your words

Leave a footprint with your words.

Leave a footprint with your words.


The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.  ~Alvin Toffler


Does blogging truly develop the 21st century skills of Global collaboration, authentic learning, and digital literacy in our students?  When I began incorporating blogging into my language arts classroom last year, I really was diving into an abyss. Creating a  literacy-rich classroom culture through writing was my initial goal.  However, moving the student blogging process from simple writing tasks and prompts to true global collaboration and reflection, required me to ‘Walk the Walk.’


I set out to learn, unlearn, and relearn……

I realized very quickly that in order to move classroom blogging from simple writing tasks to true global collaboration and reflection, required me to become a blogger myself – I needed to ‘Walk the Walk,’ and leave a footprint with my words.

As a connected educator, I utilized the early contacts I had made through @INelearn chats on Thursday nights including  @mrg_3 (Michelle Green), @jmattmiller (Matt Miller), and @coolcatteacher (Vicki Davis).  They pushed me through the yellow light into the streets of professional blogging.  I was advised to take it slowly, research blogging platforms available, and read two mind-changing books, Platform by @MichaelHyatt and Start by @JonAcuff, before making a decision.  By the end of the summer, I launched my blog, Literacy ShopTalk.

Blogging requires diligence.  If we are going to encourage students to write, reflect, and collaborate globally on-line, we need to be the front line- we need to ‘Walk the Walk.’


My footprints……….

*   professional blog- Literacy ShopTalk

*  class website with additional connected sites- Neidlinger La 7/8-Globally Connected

*  weekly classroom magazine through Neidlinger LA Ezine

*  classroom- (@Neidlingerla7)  and professional (@pneid ) Twitter accounts


How has student blogging evolved over the past year from simple writing tasks to true global collaboration and reflection?

I have learned……….

  • blogging must be authentic.  Admittedly, I fell into the trap of assigning blogging as a specific, pre-determined prompt or as a reflection of an assignment. Through trial and error,  I’ve learned that we cannot teach passion, but we can model our passion for writing.  This year, students have begun questioning their own thinking by reflecting on their learning rather than their writing tasks.  True blogging should encourage students to explore their own ideas and question the world through their own lens- not mine.
  • blogging requires an authentic audience.  Creating a global, authentic audience has been the most challenging aspect of the student blogging process.  Modeling 21st century digital citizenship and creating an atmosphere in which students are encouraged to  share and express their ideas globally, has been my primary goal.  Currently, students are engaged in blogging through the following:

a.  International Student Blogging Challenge – This is a blogging program, which challenges students to connect and learn through blogging.  Blogging challenges run ten weeks, twice a year.  Currently, over 1,000 students world-wide are participating in the program.

b.  Student ePortfolios/websites– All students have constructed their own ePortfolios through Blogger, which are linked through the class website.  In addition to the portfolio components, students post blogs weekly and blog with students globally almost daily.

c.   #teach2blog– Known as my blogging crew, this group of educators connected through a simple Twitter chat in September of this year.  We have conjugated a blogging alliance in an effort to provide an authentic audience for all our students.  We continue to expand our crew and recruit classrooms to participate in our blogging efforts.

  • blogging requires time.  The bottom line, consistent blogging takes time.  However, if blogging becomes a task rather than an anticipated daily global connection, complacency sets in, and the passion for writing vanishes.

Student Success…………………….

Eleven students have been recognized for their blog posts through the Student Blogging Challenge Flipped Magazine- “One World Our World.”


Leave a footprint with your words….. ‘Walk the Walk.’   Share your classroom success!



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