Monday, October 4, 2010

So Blogging is just for Fun?

In the past 3 weeks my students have finally gotten to start blogging on their own. We did not take this endeavor lightly and therefore first had to discuss safety of blogging and being on the Internet, see this post on the lesson used.  We also had to discuss how to properly comment on other posts through the use of paper blogs, a lesson I wish I had come up with but which I absolutely borrowed from some fantastic educators and its creator Leonard Low, and how to solicit comments on one's own; after all, these blogs were meant to be starts of conversations and not solitary pieces of writing.  Finally, we were ready.

Our first blog post was tied in with the Global Read Aloud Project and if you visit our kidblog you will notice that many of them do tie in with this.  However, I hope you will also notice something else; how the students have started to type using paragraphs with topic sentences as well as how their blogs appear visually.   See, I am all for creative writing but I also have a writing curriculum to teach so I therefore combined the students' passion towards blogging, and believe me they are blogging in their free time, with my requirements for writing.  So one week was dedicated to the fine tunings of a paragraph, discussing not just the how (they mostly know that already) but also the why.  The result of that week's focus was these introduction posts.  This week we are discussing types of sentences and you will notice, hopefully, later this week how students have to use different types of sentences in their blog posts.

So to those educators that still think student blogging is just for fun, I say, not in my classroom!  Of course, blogging is a blast, after all, how often do kids beg to write more over the weekend or groan when time is up?  Yet blogging is so much more than that; it is writing for an actual audience, not just the teacher, it is learning how to engage in a written conversation, how to constructively criticize writing, as well as appreciate other people's skills and abilities.  Blogging has brought my fantastic students even closer as they reach out and cheer for each other.  Blogging has taught us that it matters that our writing makes sense because otherwise we may not get many comments or questions.  It is teaching us that we are not solitary writers and hopefully never will be.  Blogging for us is a life lesson of communication, writing, connections, and internet safety mixed in with conventions, crafts of a writer, and as well as the writing process.  To us it is how writing is taught with the added bonus of portfolio creation.  So to those that think student blogging is just a fad,  a way to amuse and use some technology, think again; blogging can a revolution in writing if you let it.  Don't stand in its way.

5 comments:

Wm Chamberlain said...

There are worse things for school work to be than fun ;) Just by having your students write, and be excited to write, you have already accomplished more than most.

To be fair to you, I doubt the students are into the writing only because of the blogging. I bet your lessons are also engaging them too.

MBR said...

Great post! My kids have been really getting into the blogging as well. I hope your class enjoyed the comments my class has been leaving! We're still working on writing posts and comments with depth. They are very surface level. I was beginning to get frustrated but I think that it is more where 4th graders are at developmentally in their writing. I can't wait to see how the blogging develops over the year.

Mary Beth

kidblog.org/revesz2010

Katie Hellerman said...

I have noticed the quality of the blog posts increasing. Great job!
I love what you say about Blogging teaching students that it matters what we write "because otherwise we may not get many comments or questions." I think that many student blogging projects miss the importance of audience completely and end up being rather bland. Furthermore, in regular school writing, when the teacher is the only audience, and is required to give a response, I don't think students strive as hard to put out good content. But, when the whole world might read what they have to say...well that ups the game a bit.
Still, I worry a bit about whether lack of comments on poorly written blogs will act as encouragement for students to improve writing. I could see them giving up all together.

sara said...

Hey I just got permission to start up a class blog, but I'm having trouble coming up with a blog permission slip. Do you happen to have one I could look at? My email address is saraallen01@gmail.com. I would sincerely appreciate it!! Thanks!

Maureen said...

M.Dube said...
This was a good article, Matt! Thanks for taking me into the next century! I think I'd like to blog instead of doing a class newsletter each week. Let me know. Jan.17,2011

 

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