Thursday, July 18, 2013

Student Blogging

I love teaching writing. It allows me to see students find their voice, grow in their creativity, and learn very practical skills. Last year, however, writing became my favorite thing we do in the classroom. It all began with creating a class blog.

Why blog? It provides students with a platform. (They were now publishing writing to share... much more purposeful than publishing writing to turn in for me - their teacher - to read, assess, and return.) It provides students with a real audience. (Anyone in the world could now read their writing, and we received comments from students all across the United States.) It provides students with an experience. (Students were using a digital tool that allowed them to be "connected" as well as have a creative outlet for new options such as customizing their personal blog page). Another words, why not?

When I was looking into setting up the blog, I discovered many different platforms. I chose Kidblog (http://kidblog.org) and absolutely love it for various reasons. A few of Kidblog's highlights include:
  • It's free (and doesn't have ads)
  • It's designed for teachers to use with students (yet students don't need an e-mail address)
  • It's safe (with teachers having control over accounts, moderating blog posts, and allowing comments)
  • It's simple (while using WordPress software)

Students used our class blog to publish writing about school, their learning, or anything that was important to them. Students blogged during writer's workshop, while in the computer lab, and some even blogged from home (including on a SNOW DAY!). We shared our blog by telling others about it, through e-mailing families and friends the web address, and via our class twitter account. (@KidblogDotOrg even retweeted us to help us gain a following.)

Blogging not only allows classrooms to share writing; blogs allow you and your students to share various types of media: pictures, videos, audio. Try it out. Students love it, and you'll probably discover that you do too.

-Matthew Krohne