I took some time looking through the Russell Street School's blog, and I was really impressed. Teachers, students, and school administrators all blog regularly and on different topics. I could see from looking at the student blogs that blogging was part of their class grade as many of them were responding to the same type of reflection. I did see a grading guide for students asking how they thought they did on their blog and what they thought their level of honesty was with the first question. What a great way to get kids thinking about their own performance in an honest manner!
I was really impressed by the amount of media posted by teachers and students. As an English teacher, I like to see writing (and there were some great creative writing pieces showcased), but I was a bit shocked at the frequency of pictures and videos. It's also clear that the students are encouraged to showcase their personalities by customizing their personal blogs. I also liked to see that teachers used their own blogs to show off exemplary student work. I think it's important that students can see and comment on the work of their classmates.
One feature that I noticed wasn't used too much was the comment feature. I looked at many blogs and only saw a handful of comments. Often, they were teacher comments on the student blogs. It's clear that the school values self-reflection, as most of the student blog entries had a reflective piece. So, perhaps that is the beginning of the process and the collaboration comes later? I couldn't really get a handle on the grades I was seeing as I read through the blog, but I was thinking this was elementary school. I didn't see a designation on the about page, but page 12 of Part 1 of the school history says that school was opened as a primary school for standards 1-6. Perhaps that is grades 1-6 in America? In any case, I can see where collaboration would be something stressed more with older children after getting them engaged in blogging, showcasing, and reflecting on their work.