We know how important partnerships between all stakeholders are in learning. We also know the impact that quality feedback has on progress. In our school we use individual SharePoint blogs as a way of sharing our learning and building powerful partnerships.
Each student's Office 365 login allows them access to a number of different sites. Their learning journal blog is one of them. These blogs have external permission settings meaning they can be shared both their peers within our organisation and their parents outside of our organisation.
The purpose of these learning journals is to give our students the opportunity to share and reflect on their learning and to gain feedback from teachers, peers and their parents. The focus is always about learning. Students share assessments and reflect on the progress being made made. They write about the goals they have for the term and reflect on how they went . Students also post about school events and personal achievements. Our intention is to record snapshots of their everyday learning journey throughout the year and then beyond as they progress through our school.
We have been recording our learning in this form for some time and we have learned a few things about what makes a successful journal along the way -
- making sure students are clear about the purpose of learning, including the use of learning intentions and discussions to clarify
- taking the time to model what quality reflection looks like, including how to use co-constructed success criteria to help scaffold this reflection
- consider how the learning went as well as identifying next steps, and again how the success criteria can be useful here
- explicit teaching of how to give quality peer feedback, including why this is so valuable
Examples of Learning Journal Entries
Sharing these journals regularly with parents still requires some work at this age level. We are investigating ways to provide notifications to parents so that they can see quickly and easily when updates are made. We also plan to hold workshop evenings for our parents to help explain the purpose for these and to provide tips about how to give fast, effective and specific feedback that will benefit our learners.
The use of learning journals blogs has ensured that our students have the forum to be demonstrate and celebrate progress. They can easily identify next learning steps, get feedback from teachers and peers and share what they are doing with their whanau.