What is a blog?
A blog is a website that has posts updated regularly and can be conversational in tone. The key aspect about blogging is that this on-line platform encourages participation and interaction from it's audience. With blogging there can be opportunities for the author and the audience to connect, share knowledge and explore multiple perspectives, as well as collaborate and allow for greater understanding.
Video: What is Blog?
Video by Ronnie Burt, via Edublogs
How Do You Get Started With Blogging?
Below is a presentation which explores how to get started with blogging in the classroom with Kidblog. The presentation is intended for use for both teachers and students in how to compose a quality blog post, comment effectively, add media and photos, categorize blog posts for better organization, as well as digital citizenship essentials.
For more extensive information on blogging with your students, be sure to check out the resources at Edublogs, "Blogging With Students". There are resources from setting up pages to attribution with Creative Commons.
There are a plethora of platforms for on-line writing and blogging. For an extensive review of all the platforms available, be sure to check out Common Sense Media - Graphite site, Great Tech for On-line Writing and Blogging. This site is explores the ages the platforms are best suited for as well as the cost. It is definitely worth checking out!
If you wish to explore a blogging tutorial, GCFLearnFree.org offers a course with videos, interactive activities, and quizzes that teachers and students can take for FREE! This program was created to provide essential skills people need for the 21st century.
My Classroom Commenting Framework
Years ago, I created and implemented the 3C's + Q Framework for effective commenting in blogging. I noticed that with this model, student comments went from, "Cool post" or "Awesome", to more substantiated and deeper discussions. In part of this process, it was also essential that I too modelled the framework in my own blogging.
Feel free to adapt or print out and use in your classroom!
How can You Assess Blogging?
One of the first questions teachers often ask is how do you assess blogging? Below are a few samples of blogging rubrics that teachers can adapt for their own use.
Why is Blogging Worth Our Time?
- A platform for students to develop their VOICE and connect with an authentic audience. This means students can share their opinions, thoughts and interests with an audience who will be reading their posts. Knowing that there is a "real" audience, allows the student to think more critically about their message and tone. Developing and exploring one's voice is also strongly connected to developing identity.
- An opportunity to where students can REFLECT on their learning, which allows for further development of metacognition or thinking about thinking. They can take the time to reflect and connect on prior knowledge or personal experiences. This in turn can allow for greater opportunity to make further connections on what is being learned cross-curricularly or in the student's lives.
- An space to CONNECT, and these connections can be made in multiple ways. As mentioned in the previous point, students may be given the opportunity to connect what they are learning in multiple subject areas, as well as connect to personal experience. Students can also connect with other bloggers, who may vary from peers in closed blog community, or a global audience. Blogging also gives students an opportunity to connect with their teachers. With blogging, communication with the teacher becomes more immediate and accessible; thereby providing more opportunity for teachers to provide feedback on student learning or even help encourage further deeper, critical thinking.
- Ways to explore LITERACY. Blogging may improve writing skills because the audience goes beyond just the teacher or a few peers. When students know their writing will be reflected upon by an authentic audience, they become more conscious of the content as well as how to connect to the audience. It becomes more important for the student to write so that the message is clear and engaging. This literacy also extends to DIGITAL LITERACY, as students create and remix on-line, they can share their creations from other Web 2.0 sites using this platform.
- Another way for students to develop an on-line identity, which in turn is related to DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP and developing one's DIGITAL FOOTPRINT. The more student's are engaged in learning about Digital Citizenship and are able to openly discuss on-line interactions in classroom contexts, the greater their understanding in how to interact in the on-line world.
Reasons to Blog from Educators
Not yet convinced as to why you should blog with your students? You can check out other compelling commentaries from educators and administrators on blogging from the following:
The Principal of Change - 5 Reasons Your Students Should Blog
George Couros explores detailed reasons and justifications for blogging and how it can be transformative to learning.
Langwitches - Upgrading Blogs Through the Lens of SAMR
Silvia Tolisano explores what it means to ensure that blogging is more transformative to learning. Also be sure to check out, Stepping it Up - Learning About Blogs FOR Your Students, where Tolisano explores the elements of effective blogging.
Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension - Why Students Should Blog - My Top 10
Pernille Ripp gives straightforward reasons for blogging, if you are still not convinced.
Tech Integration Tips and Blogging information from Mrs. Wideen's Blog.
MindShift - Six Reasons Why Kids Should Know How to Blog
Tina Barseghian provides yet more reasons on why we should blog.
Learning to Blog with Paper Blogging!
Check out images of a group of grade 4/5's learning how to blog and share meaningful comments on posts!
Inter School Blogging Project Ideas
Ways to Extend Blogging
Teachers can take blogging beyond the classroom in a variety of ways. Some of these possibilities worth checking out include:
Quadblogging was created by David Mitchell @DeputyMitchell.
The objective of quadblogging is group of four classrooms will take turns being the focus for blogging, while the other three classes visit and comment on the posts. The project will continue over 4 weeks, until each class has a chance to be a focus class.
The Student Blogging Challenge was created by Sue Waters @SueWaters of Edublogs. The objective of the student blogging challenge is to connect student bloggers with a global audience while supporting teachers with their classroom blogging. Learn more about the challenge by visiting the site!
Beyond Blogging: Other Tools for BackChannel Chatting
Interested in going beyond blogging and having your students share in an synchronous or live platform? Try Socrative, Padlet (formerly Wallwisher) or Today's Meet to keep the discussion going! For more information in using these tools. See Richard Byrnes' Teacher Guide to Backchannel Chats and Informal Assessment Tools. Be sure to also check out Kahoot, Plickers or Quizziz for more ways you can informally assess learning!
Blogging Permission Forms
Before you start blogging, you will want to send out a Blogging Permission Form. The following Documents can be downloaded and modified to suit your needs.
Office 365 links to documents
This work (Blogging, by Karen Lirenman) is free of known copyright restrictions.