As I read the wonderful posts about quality blogging while participating in Silvia Tolisano’s blogging series and audit meme, I considered several strategies, audiences, and purposes for blogging. What else do writers do?
First of all, my students and I have also learned so much about blogging and commenting from Linda Yollis & Class. We also have adopted Linda Yollis’s Class Quality Comment Guidelines for our checklist. As Andrea commented in Tracy’s Quality Blogging and Audit Meme post, sometimes our comments sound forced and constrained because they are using the checklist. Tracy shared Gina Fraher’s Color Coding Checklist, adding that students need to start somewhere; we all do. Following a model is one way to learn, and this color coding strategy is one I’ve used with younger students learning to write paragraphs. Evaluating our work, and writing excellent posts to share information are two reasons for blogging.
Writing is not easy. That’s why we break the task into a writing process and a writing traits. Tracy adds, “Breaking the task down and working through it together.” Learning the “parts” means that sometimes our blogs and comments will be stilted and forced, but that is part of learning to break writing into the parts to work on improving them— such as asking questions to carry on the conversation, –when it’s valuable, because as Linda Yollis commented in Tracy’s post, “sometimes there isn’t a need for a reply.” Kids need to learn that too, and that decision could be part of the rubric “Choice to comment reflects purpose of post/comment.” Critical thinking is part of reading and writing through blogging, another purpose.
As I began to visualize all these marvelous models we’ll have from Silvia Tolisano’s blogging series and audit meme, I considered the voice from those who consider blogging a personal venture.
I wonder if we need to add one more strategy and purpose for blogging and writing. Our goal is better writers, and we are asking our writing to be powerful and clear for the reader. Sometimes the audience and purpose, though, in blogging is as much for the writer as it is for the reader. That’s the “What Else.” Peter Elbow recommends that we sometimes struggle through “messy writing.” Writing just to discover the ideas. Writing just to capture that gem of powerful writing amongst the stones. Just as we learn to read well, not only through instruction, but also by reading a lot, so too we must allow students time for both instruction and for independent writing. This discovery writing will be “messy writing” to discover our ideas and to gather ideas from others.
- allows writers to explore ideas
- connects writers and readers
- develops writing fluency and voice
- provides evidence of writing process
- allows the experience of real and messy writing
- encourages the flow if ideas
- connects formal and personal writing
- honors writing time as instructional and evaluative as well as personal and explorative
The Elbow Grease activity provides a writing and audit strategy that may also benefit students new to blogging, allowing them a place to develop their ideas in the digital format of today’s connectedness. I think we need both. I think Denise’s comment is an example — she let her “stream of consciousness” discover important ideas about the different purposes for commenting (on photos, in student blogs, part 2 of the conversation). This is how writer’s think through their ideas. Students need this time also, with the added benefit of asking the readers to add to the conversation and discovery, and a chance to develop a personal style and voice. Do you think there’s room for both such formal and informal blogging in our classrooms?
Of course, we always remind students that “Internet writing is your footprint, a path back to you; prepare your path wisely.”
What do you think? Do you think there’s room for both such formal and informal blogging in our classrooms?