Blogging: Getting Started
Kathleen Morris of Edublogs explains ten good reasons to start blogging in her post “10 Reasons Every Educator Should Start Blogging.” She includes these topics to which I’ve added comments here:
- Home-School Connections: provide a visual/textual informative link for families
- Authentic Audience: students reach a real audience, not just “teacher”
- Literacy Skills: perfection not required; growth as learner is
- ICT Skills: 21st Century skills, a school responsibility and embedded in Common Core State Standards
- Internet Safety: practice makes habit
An expectation is that schools involve parents and families, and research confirms that family involvement increases the potential for student success in school. Including multiple ways for families to participate indicates a successful school.
“The impact of an authentic audience is summed up well by Clive Thompson who noted that,
…studies have found that particularly when it comes to analytic or critical thought, the effort of communicating to someone else forces you to think more precisely, make deeper connections, and learn more.
Alan November also has some strong advice for educators:
“Stop saying hand it in, start saying publish it.” This paradigm shift from an audience of one to an audience of the world will inspire more students to achieve up to their potential, while instilling a life-long passion for genuine learning.
Parents and family members have the potential to be engaged, active and regular readers of your class blog. We need to bring this potential to life. Parents must be educated about blogging and encouraged to participate in different ways throughout the school year.”
One of her best suggestions is a “Family Blogging Afternoon,” which Linda Yollis implemented in her own classroom. In 2013, Linda and her students shared “Why Blogging.” In fact, in 2010, her students created a video “How to Comment,” which over 65,000 people have viewed — it’s a great video to share to this day. This year, her students shared “Tips to Ensure Quality Blogging.”
Please read Kathleen’s post for much more on family connections. Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy a family afternoon/night where students share their writing and learning?
8 Easy Steps
- Set up Class Blog
- Set up class [student blogs]
- Connect Blogs in Blog Roll
- Write teacher first post
- Students write their first post
- Teach commenting and comment
- Review your school’s Digital Citizenship expectations
- Integrate internet safety .
Check out the great resources at Edublogs, which are relevant wherever you and your students blog.
Start the March Challenge by Edublogs; sign up starts February 20th. Challenge you and your students to connect with others through blogging.
Participate in the March Slice of Life by the Two Writing Teachers. During the year bloggers write a “Slice of Life,” a snapshot of an event, each Tuesday. In March, the challenge is to write a Slice of Life daily. It’s a great way to inspire new writers. Student prompt suggestions guide new writers. Check out “4 Conversations” for more ideas. Here’s an example with writing strategies explained, a part of my students’ blogging.
And back to Why?
Slide through Silvia Tolisano’s “Blogging as Pedagogy” and “Blogging Through the Lens of SAMR.” The world is digital; our students need to learn appropriate publishing to leave their positive and knowledgeable digital footprints under the guidance of their teachers.
The benefit is as Alice Chen says,
“It’s every teacher’s dream. Students are no longer writing for a grade or for their teacher. Instead, they are writing for their peers and generating their own topics. Can this really be possible?”
With blogging, yes.
With Edublogs, you can start for free, or for a $39.95/yr, have more features. Kidblogs no longer has a free version and costs $54/year for the teacher version, by student for schools. These are the best platforms for student blogging.
If you have any questions — there are plenty of resources and people to guide you, or contact me.
I mention Edublogs and Kidblogs for elementary and middle schools because they offer varying structures for a gradual release of responsibility as students learn online publishing etiquette and content.
For older students, Edublogs in a school setting is still awesome– students can have complete control of their blog and still be under the umbrella of the teacher or school.
For college students, many universities use Edublogs. However, the choice of blogging platforms could be left to students, depending on the needs of the college or teacher.