Over the next few weeks, I will be publishing a guide (in several parts) for teacher, new to blogs and blogging with their students. The guide will be based on the assumption, that in order for a teacher to facilitate quality student blogs, the teacher needs to have their own understanding of quality blog writing.We will
Stepping it Up: Learning About Blogs FOR your Students
Stay tuned for:
- Part I- Reading
As teachers, we need to be aware of blogging potential in relationship to learning. We need to formulate and address intended student learning outcomes beyond checking off “technology integration” on our lesson plans. Becoming an avid blog reader of a variety of other blogs will help expose teachers to the potential blogging holds. As we read blogs regularly, the better we will become in RECOGNIZING learning opportunities, GAGING the quality (or lack) of our own students’ blogs.
This part will include sample blogs for different grade levels and subject areas to give teachers a head start in finding quality examples.
- Part II-A- Writing
addresses the need for teacher to be writers (bloggers) and to experience the process of learning for themselves, if they are to teach/model/coach/facilitate writing via student blogs.
- Part II-B- Student Writing
We acknowledge that most of us (teachers) did not grow up with blogs, nor did someone teach us how to write our own blog or comment. If we require our students to blog, we need to be become knowledgeable about blog writing. Quality blog writing includes
- logistics of digital writing, such as hyperlinking, embedding media, categorization, etc.
- focused quality content
- traditional quality writing characteristics
- Part III- Commenting
We are our students’ first and primary commenters. When we comment on our students’ blogs, we model quality writing AND content as well as encourage them to expand their own horizons to make connections in the online world. It takes time to learn how to become a quality commenter FOR our students. We, as teachers, need to
- model commenting
- model writing
- model proper grammar, etc.
- take the time to discuss and reflect on comments left by others on our blogs
- to respond to continue a conversation.
- Part IV-Connecting
We need to make a conscious effort to connect our students to a global authentic audience. A global audience for our classroom or individual student blogs does not happen on its own. How do teachers drive traffic to their students’ blogs in order to connect them to an audience?
- Joining pre-existing blogging projects
- tweeting to our network
- cross posting and linking on our professional blogs
- Part V-Reciprocation
If we expect others (educators, mentors, etc.) to take the time to comment on OUR students’ blogs, we need to be prepared to reciprocate. If we want our students to have an audience, we need to be the audience for others. Teach your students to leave quality comments on other blogs with a link back to their own blog or formally volunteer to be a mentor teacher for other blogging classes or students.
- Part VI- Consistency
We are understanding that blogging is not about technology, but about literacies (old & new) and learning. Blogging is a process, not an event that happens as a culminating activity to a lesson or unit.
Consistency, in using blogs as a platform, constitutes a building block
- to build classroom learning communities
- to experience the cognitive process of learning over a period of time
- Part VII- Quality
Reading, responding, assessing and monitoring our students’ progress on their blog requires pedagogical commitment. It is a commitment to student learning, not a commitment to using a specific technology platform. How does an assessment for student blogging look like? How can teachers recognize, encourage and support quality student (digital) writing?