We are finally getting ready for the ACTUAL writing part with our students. Until now you have prepared your students by:
- exploring other student authored blogs
- talking about online safety, online identity and cyber bullying
- making the difference between social and academic commenting clear
As with commenting, talk with your students about the difference between social and academic writing. A true educational blog is NOT about socializing, but about students and teacher helping each other grow in their learning.
savvy teachers work to keep the focus of blogging on academic collaboration, helping students frame thought-provoking questions at the end of their blog entries that will invite valuable comments. “This is a different writing space than students are accustomed to”
Here are the main points of the Paper (Post-It) Blog that I have tweaked a little:
- Give each student a post it notes in two different colors and a pen or pencil.
- Have each student pick a safe online avatar nickname and write it on the top of the post it note. All students will write on the same colored post it.
- Give one “post it starter”, such asÂ “My favorite smell reminds me of…” Have students include a little illustration in order to try to catch our attention and choose their post it to read.
- Give students time to read each others post it notes.
- Remind students to keep commenting netiquette in mind and ask them to use the second color post it note to respond to someone’s “blog post”. Each comment will be signed with their avatar nickname.
- Repeat steps 3-5 as long as time allows.
- You can also divide the class into 2 groups of posters and commenters. Then switch during a second round.
- Plant a “troll” among the posts and comments. Someone who does not follow netiquette rules, goes off topic or does not stay within academic content.
- As a class read each post and the corresponding comments. Discuss which posts received the most comments? Why did some receive less? What was the reason behind it? Which posts turned into social nature? Which post or comment connected to something studentsÂ had studied?
- Remind students that the posts’ author or blog owner can always “moderate’ the comment and throw it out, if deemed inappropriate.
Now it is time to move from the paper and pencil blog, to the online blog. Show your students the Logistics of Formatting a Blog Post. Once they know how to create a title, type their text, bold a selection, insert links, or use bullet, then you can get into the “real” writing part.
Writing their own blog posts can open up a whole new world for your students. Most likely it will be the first time that the readers of their work will be someone other than their teacher and possibly their parent. We need to make our students aware of the potential a worldwide audience will/shouldÂ have on their work.
Connecting blogging to your curriculum?
Blogging can connect to EVERY subject. Posts can be about ANY theme, topic or content studied. The fun begins when you and your students connect what you have learned (in the classroom, at home or another media) on the blog. Obviously writing is involved in every post. Ask yourself :What kind of writing/genre do you want your students to practice? Guide your students with appropriate writing prompts.
- Your favorite idiom
- Learning is like…
- There are a lot of ways to …
- My tip of the day is…
- For those who don’t know already …
- Thought it would be fun to share …
- Have you ever tried to figure out why …
- I’m thoroughly impressed with …
More writing prompt lists:
Writing Netiquette Guideline
Discuss with your students how post writing netiquette differs or is the same as commenting guidelines.
Here are some points to keep in mind when developing your own classroom writing guidelines.
There is a â€œNetiquetteâ€ for when you write and comment on blogs. Always, always keep your safety in mind.
- Make sure your work is the best it can be
- Think before you post: Make sure what you write is appropriate to put online.
- Always tell the truth on your posts
- Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
- Online work is NOT private. Never say anything on a blog that you wouldnâ€™t mind seeing on the school bulletin board, or in the local newspaper.
- Get descriptive in your title. The title helps your audience decide if they want to read your post or not.
- Try to link to other ideas or resources that back up the point you are trying to get across or further explain or enhance your content.
- Is your post learning related?
- Make your writing physically attractive. Add a supportive image, use bullets and paragraphs appropriately.
- Give credit in your works cited list to anyone whose work you use. Never use other peopleâ€™s work and call it your own. In other words, donâ€™t cut, copy, or plagiarize Internet content!
- Share your knowledge with others; when you learn something new, pass it along to someone else who can benefit.
- Carefully proofread your online work before you post, just like you would a regular letter. Use good form, spelling and grammar.
- Capital letters are regarded as â€œSHOUTING.â€ Be careful with them.
- Donâ€™t publicly criticize (or â€œflameâ€) others. Donâ€™t be offensive, and donâ€™t ever use bad language.
Some of the aboveÂ â€œRules of Netiquetteâ€ were adapted from Grade 3 BlogPals.
- Keep your writing organized and focused.
- Elaborate on your ideas.
- Use a strong voice to make your writing interesting.
- Use higher level vocabulary.
- Edit, edit, edit for spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar.
More Ideas for Blog posts
- Continuing Stories
- Vocabulary studies
- “I have always wondered…”
- Study Hints
- Recipes for success
- 1st & 6th Grade Buddies
- Current Events
- Report from a long weekend
- Role Playing- write from another persons or objects perspective
- Describe your neighborhood/community tour with picture.
- Book reviews/recommendations. Each student required to contribute a different book recommendation.
- More blogging activities in the classroom