Publishing your writing to the World Wide Web can be intimidating. Since I’ve started writing weekly blog posts for TXEDUCHAT, I’ve felt inspired and excited, and have learned so much. Blogging is a great tool that anyone can use to share their thoughts and ideas. As soon as my first post was published, I felt a sense of pride. I was excited that people were reading my writing, whether they thought it was worth their time or not. The feeling of sharing a piece of writing I was proud of was such a confidence booster. I started wishing that I had the opportunity to blog earlier on in life.
I despised writing until my second year of college. But there was something that I hated even more than the actual act of writing; sharing my work with the class. I didn’t know what my classmates would think about it. As a teacher, I now understand the importance of students sharing their work, but it doesn’t make it easier on my students. Building confidence is vital and I think blogging is a way to do just that. I think some students will always have some anxiety about sharing their work, but my goal is that the fear of others not enjoying their writing lessens as they have the opportunity to share more and more.
Sometimes it is hard to find a purpose for writing, other than “It’s a standard you have to meet” or “This is something you’ll need to know in the sixth grade”. Both are very practical for teachers and administrators, but are not motivating for students. Blogging creates purpose, and more importantly motivation, for your students’ writing. Hopefully once your class starts blogging regularly, you’ll find blogging buddies or other teachers that will comment on your students’ blogs. If not, reach out on Twitter. There are so many people willing and ready to help their students become connected. Students will become connected to classes from thousands of miles away and they will have a personal purpose for writing. Although I see blogging as a way for students to feel free to express themselves, I think it also makes sense to ask students to share some of their assigned work on their blog, as they will receive feedback from so many fantastic people. I’ve seen students use blogging for their journal writing, narratives, non-fiction writing, and so much more. I’ve even seen video blogs by sixth graders that were created to help others learn the proper etiquette for commenting on blogs. Students have so much to share, so why not let them share with a much wider audience?
Here are a few examples of inspiring student blogs:
I hope you aren’t reading this blog and thinking, “Is she saying blogging is the only purposeful writing for students?” Blogging does not replace a student sitting at their desk and writing on paper, then going through the writing process and eventually sharing it with their classmates. It’s another way to let students share their voice and encourage learning, all while meeting several Common Core State Standards and integrating technology and literacy. Start by giving students one writing block a week to work on their blogs. Or encourage them to use the time after they finish another assignment to begin planning their blog. Blogging doesn’t have to take extra time out of your schedule but is worth every minute you can spend on it.
Choosing a platform can be a tedious task, as there are quite a few options but some of them may not meet the needs of the classroom. I created the chart below to help guide you. There are obvious blogging platforms, like WordPress or Blogger (through Google), that students could use. However, students will need emails for both of these. Also, it might be hard for teachers to manage so many accounts and the privacy settings. KidBlog and EduBlogs are platforms created specifically for classrooms. Both are free, but to access all the elements of EduBlogs, you have to purchase the “Pro” version. There are hundreds of other platforms available to you and your students, so the decision is a personal one.
|Cost||Privacy Available?||Email Needed?||Account Management|
|WordPress||Free||Yes||Yes||Teacher cannot manage|
|Blogger||Free||Yes||Yes||Teacher cannot manage|
|KidBlog||Free||Yes||No||Teacher can manage|
|EduBlogs||Free (Fee for Pro version)||Yes||No||Teacher can manage|
Engaging students in writing assignments, building their confidence in sharing their work, and integrating technology and literacy are just a few of the benefits of blogging in the classroom. While it may be intimidating for teachers or students to begin the process, it is one that is well worth it. If you’re already blogging, I would love to hear what platform you’re using and how you and/or your students like it.