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.