“Our Contrails” is a year-long blogging exercise that documents student-learning in a number of different ways. Students are expected to blog at least once a week, and are graded on 3-5 posts a quarter on the public WordPress platform. Our Contrails works in tandem with the #20Time Project, in which students devote 20% of their class time towards a project of their own design. Our Contrails helps to document and share this process with the community we seek to serve.

To protect the privacy of our students, the Our Contrails rules are as follows:

  1. Do not include your last name on anything related to either your blog or any social media you plan to use to promote your blog. The only exception is with written parent permission.
  2. Do not include a picture of your face—cartoon/animated avatars that resemble you are acceptable. The only exception is with written parent permission.
  3. Do not, ever, include any indication of where you live. For example, instead of “metro”, say “train. Instead of “DC,” say “the city”. The only exception is with written parent permission.

For “new account” information, please include only the following:

  • Username = first name only–or something I can identify you with (for example, Sarah could be SarSar or Sarita)
  • First Name = please provide the first name with which I would be most familiar
  • Email = please include your real email
  • Display Name = anything that is school appropriate (and preferably relevant)

Why is it called the Contrail Project?

Like the contrail that stretches across the sky after a jet plane is long gone, our “digital footprint” is the online presence that potential employers and admissions officers explore when analyzing candidates or searching for recruits. In a connected world, many students have already begun building their online presence when they published their first Tweet.

Lets hope it was a good one.


But social media is just one piece of a digital footprint. With only 140 characters per Tweet, blogging offers a more robust platform for truly interacting with the digital community and putting the best foot forward. Successful bloggers exert strong influence in their fields, and stay connected to the rapidly changing world around them.

By blogging in class, students will be able to react to current events and develop their own informed perspectives on hot topics like water rights, alternative energy use and public policy. In addition, students will have a space to reflect on their own learning, and get feedback from their readers.


Students blogs will be graded by two separate criteria; quantity and quality.


At least once a week, students will be given a homework assignment to blog. Posts can be on any topic of your choosing–including school-appropriate subjects that are not academically related. For example, movie reviews or rants on the lack of snow days is perfectly acceptable for the homework assignment. As long as you are blogging once a week, you will receive all 10 “Participation” points for the weekly quantity grade.


Each quarter, 3-5 of these posts will be chosen for a 10-point grade. You may suggest posts for me to grade. Otherwise they will be chosen randomly. Graded posts must be “tagged” with one of the following topics: #CurrentEvent, #Reflection, or #20Time.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions by completing the form below.


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