In October 2014, Tumblr alone had over 200 million bloggers with millions of accounts being added quarterly1! Blogs have shot to the forefront of the information superhighway, and they're providing us with the latest news on everything from politics to playdough. Their interesting and amusing perspectives on just about any topic of our choosing inform us, persuade us, and entertain us. These are the exact forms of writing our students should be crafting, so letting them take the wheel as bloggers just makes sense.
Through blogging, students are able to showcase their individual thoughts and ideas in a variety of ways. Blogs can always be traditional written entries, but students can also create audio, visual, and pictorial posts. Whether they're posting information to their personal pages or a class page, students will feel a sense of ownership and purpose through this pubic display of their work. To help boost the traffic on said blogs and allow students to receive comments and feedback on their posts, check out how Quadblogging2 can link your bloggers to other classrooms.
What's the Best Format to for Your Student Bloggers?
There are several ways to set up blogging for your students. Edublogs offers some fabulous tutorials3 for setting up and managing blogs with your classes. As you consider venturing into blogging with kids or want to freshen up your current approach, here are a few structures to consider:
- Use this format if you're wanting to create a teacher-managed blog where you assign students specific topics with deadlines for posting.
- This would be a multi-author blog (MAB) set-up like The Huffington Post with you the teacher as the lead editor, and students supplying the content (The Jefferson Journal or The Graham Gazette).
- This will require more management on your part with students submitting their posts for you to upload.
- Class Blogs may be better suited for younger bloggers or those with limited internet connections outside of school.
|Individual Student Blog
- Students design their very own blog page and upload content on posting deadlines.
- This can work for any subject area. A health classroom may have blogs like Natalia's Nutrition Nook or Fitness with Finn. Jared's Discovery Journal or Scientific Marvels with Mary may be pages found in a science class.
- With individual blogs, students can choose a topic of interest to delve into with research skills or an overall concept like Courageous Leaders to carry them through the year in history class.
- Creating individual student blogs will heighten commitment as students take on the pride and ownership of developing pages with some personal flair.
- As a grade level, subject area, school, or district, portfolio blogs can be created that share a child's educational journey.
- This may be a blogging portfolio for a particular subject that follows students from year to year and shows their progression in ELA, science, social studies, etc.
- This could also take on the form of a blog representing an entire journey as George Couros shares how his district is using digital portfolios for all students and points out how blogs allow students to polish and showcase 21st Century skills4.
How Does Blogging Meet Writing Standards?
The beauty of blogs is that they can take on any writing format/style. Students can create any of the three key types of writing to share their information and perspectives. Their writing can be argumentative, explanatory, or narrative. Information can be presented using a multitude of formats (i.e., audio, video, image, or text). In the past, we've stressed the importance that all subjects should Lead with Literacy5. With people blogging about anything and everything, why not let student bloggers hit the net with some topics from your current unit of study? The chart below offers a few idea examples from multiple subject areas that meet the big three in writing standards.
Types of Writing
- The Case for Rocks & Minerals (students defend their categorization of selected samples)
- The 28th Amendment Should Be...
- Protagonist vs. Antagonist- The True Victor Was...
- Greasers vs. Socs: Which Group Is Best for You?
- The Pros & Cons of Screen Time
- Graph vs. Table- Here's Why My Choice is Best...
- Tree Rings & Aging
- Why the Food Pyramid is Essential
- When Laws Get Broken
- The Differences Between Pie Charts and Pictographs
- Class Structure in Orwell's 1984
- If _______ (Monkeys, Stars, Hydrogen) Could Talk...
- George Washington Time Travels to 2015
- A Day of Math at My House
- When Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen Switched Places
- How Healthy Living Changed My Life
With some initial setup and planning, blogging can transform how students view writing and presenting as they develop posts for an interactive audience. Blogs can document a student's journey through a single subject or an entire educational career. Help students showcase thoughts and perspectives as they find their 21st Century voice in the blogging world.
If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.
Additional Resources & Works Cited
1. Cumulative total of Tumblr blogs between May 2011 and January 2015
3. Edublogs, Blogging With Students
4. The Principal of Change, 5 Reasons Your Students Should Blog
5. Calling All Teachers: Lead with Literacy