Home » 21st Century Learning »Blogging »Featured Carousel »Professional Development » Currently Reading:

Learning About Blogs FOR Your Students- 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. If we require our students to blog,  we need to be become knowledgeable about blog writing.

In Part I- I reflected upon the need of the importance of READING blogs as a first step of becoming better blog writers.

Part II-A - Learning About Blogs FOR Your Students- 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.

Image licensed under CC by Andrea Hernandez- http://www.flickr.com/photos/21847073

Part II-B looks at student writing on blogs.
Disclaimer: When I talk about “student blogs”, I am referring to blogs, intended for academic writing sponsored by a teacher.

I have seen too many student blogs, that are of very poor quality. I have to ask myself:

  • Where was the teacher?
  • Are students not supervised, guided and coached as they blog?
  • Are the expectations set too low?
  • Does the teacher know what quality looks like on a blog?
  • Does the teacher not see that writing on a blog should have the same quality writing standards they have set for analog writing.

There is a need for us to sketch out and define what a QUALITY student blog looks like.

Quality blog writing includes:

  • age and developmentally appropriate content, grammar and vocabulary
  • focused quality and relevant content
  • traditional quality writing characteristics
  • evidence of writing for an audience
  • reflection
  • logistics of digital writing, such as hyperlinking, embedding media, categorization, etc.

A quick survey on Twitter, revealed the following responses from other educators:

What are your primary objectives for student blogging?

Blogging is surely not about learning the logistics of typing and uploading  posts. It is not about the tool, but about the skills that the tool can facilitate. We MUST keep this in mind as we are asking students to write on blogs.

There are many resources available on the web, if you need help in defining or refining what quality student writing means to you.

On Teaching That Makes Sense, Steve Peha lists six traits of quality writing:

Ideas that are interesting and important. Ideas are the heart of the piece — what the writer is writing about and the information he or she chooses to write about it.

Organization that is logical and effective. Organization refers to the order of ideas and the way the writer moves from one idea to the next.

Voice that is individual and appropriate. Voice is how the writing feels to someone when they read it. Is it formal or casual? Is it friendly and inviting or reserved and standoffish? Voice is the expression of the writer’s personality through words.

Word Choice that is specific and memorable. Good writing uses just the right words to say just the right things.

Sentence Fluency that is smooth and expressive. Fluent sentences are easy to understand and fun to read with expression.

Conventions that are correct and communicative. Conventions are the ways we all agree to use punctuation, spelling, grammar, and other things that make writing consistent and easy to read.

As teachers, it is our job to teach and coach our students in becoming better writers. If you have chosen to use a blog as the vehicle to do that, YOU NEED TO GET GOOD at recognizing quality writing in blogs. As with anything else, in order to get good at something, you need to practice.

  • Start reading student blogs (your own students and others from around the world)
  • Read A LOT OF STUDENT BLOGS! (While you are at it, leave comments for these students too)
  • Consciously be aware of what you like and don’t like. What stands out? What is unacceptable? What is missing? What makes you go “Wow”?
  • Start rating blogs you read in several categories, ex. content, presentation, connections, etc.

Via the blogs of Kathleen Morris, Kim Cofino and Clarence Fisher comes a perfect baseline of a blogging rubric, you can use to help you assess student blogs. Here is the link to the original rubric, so you can make your edits to fit your own needs.

It is imperative that as a teacher, who is blogging with his/her students, becomes a coach for them. In order to be a good coach, you need to know what you are talking about.

Learn about blogs FOR your students!

If you have created a blogging rubric or have more ideas on how to coach students in writing QUALITY blogs, please share your experience and/or links to further resources.

Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. [...] nice post from the Langwitches blog on student blogs. Cindy always said the same thing in a more basic way – why would teachers settle for [...]

  2. Hi Silvia,

    Thanks for the mention. This was a terrific post and I know it will be really useful for lots of educators. I am very passionate about blogging and my class blog is a huge part of my grade two classroom http://2kmand2kj.global2.vic.edu.au/

    You mentioned that you have seen many blogs that are poor quality. I couldn’t agree more! It’s not only student blogs but classroom blogs too. I find myself regularly disappointed by not only poor quality posts but poor quality comments in the education blogosphere.

    I think expectations, awareness and lack of teacher support has a lot to do with it. When I first started blogging with my students four years ago, I just let my students go for it. There was little education, we didn’t have any blogging role models, and I’m embarrassed to say that my expectations weren’t very high.

    Fast forward four years and I have the highest expectations for my grade two students. I regularly notice that their posts and comments are of a higher quality than what children in grade six or older are producing on their blogs.

    I couldn’t agree more how powerful high expectations, explicit teaching, ongoing support, a structured blogging program and blogging role models can be!

    Kathleen Morris

    • Patty Koski says:

      Hi Kathleen,
      I am just beginning a blog with my first graders in Texas. I was so impressed by your website and all of the neat things you are doing in class. Could you perhaps private message me at patty.koski@fortbendisd.com? I would love to ask you a few questions about how you got going with yours.

      Best,
      Patty

  3. [...] Part II B: Student writing (11/12/2011) [...]

  4. Hi, Silvia
    very interesting article series. I’ve written about evaluating blogs and your articles here:
    http://www.ictineducation.org/home-page/2012/1/3/evaluating-students-blogs-so-what.html

    Cheers!
    Terry

  5. [...] FREEDMAN says, ”I’ve been skimming through Silvia Tolisano’s series on student blogging. I emphasise “skimming” because she may have addressed the issues I raise below without my [...]

  6. […] introducing students to blogging. These are links to the complete series:  Reading, Writing, Student Writing, Commenting, Connecting, Reciprocating,  Consistency and Quality.  Blogging is a great way to […]

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Langwitches via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Archives

Choose a Category

In Need of Professional Development?

Contact
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano for customized workshops, coaching and presentations.
Video Conference sessions available.

For a list of sample sessions visit Globally Connected Learning .

Want to Learn More About iPads in the Classroom?

Professional Learning Board just released a Self-study iPads in the Classroom course I wrote. It is a self-directed course to take in your own time and at your own speed.

eduClipper

Upcoming Books

Like Langwitches on Facebook

Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators

Guest Posts

Augmented Reality that’s “Real” and Focused on Learning

aurasma1

cross posted with permission from Dr. Silvana Meneghini,’s On The Edge Blog. Silvana, the High School Technology Coordinator at Graded, The American School of São Paulo, shared a How-To post to connect augmented reality to student reflection by adding a layer of learning (not technology for technology sake). I highly …

(2 Comments)

Upgrading Our Recipes for Learning: Digital Learning Strategies

digital-learning-stragegies

In an attempt to bring  new additions to your Blog reader, I am starting to feature  guest posts on Langwitches. Be assured that these guest posts are from educational bloggers, I highly value and their voices contribute significantly to my own learning. Today I am sharing a blog post and …

(No Comments)

Is Technology shoving Pedagogy to the center stage? TPACK Reviewed

TPCK

Guest post by Silvana Meneghini, Academic Technology Coordinator, Graded- American School of São Paulo. Originally posted on her blog On the Edge. Pedagogical ideas like student centered learning, collaboration, and critical thinking have been around for a long time and are slowly making the way into the classroom. When technology …

(3 Comments)

Professional Development

How to Create a Backchannel Exit Ticket for Class, Presentation or Workshop?

Creating_a_BackChannel_or_Exit_Ticket_on_Google_Docs_on_Vimeo

This screencast below will show you how to use Google Docs as a backchannel or exit ticket during a presentation, lesson or workshop. Creating a BackChannel or Exit Ticket on Google Docs from langwitches on Vimeo.

(1 Comment)

Redefining My Learning

story

Silvana Meneghini and I  work as Academic Technology Coordinators at Graded, the American School of São Paulo. ” A flashlight in the fog of technology integration“, initially the title of a conference workshop proposal, quickly developed into the desire of creating a framework to guide and coach teachers based on …

(1 Comment)

SAMR Exercise Google Hangout: Mark Your Calendars

SAMR-exercise

Silvana Meneghini and I  have created a template for technology, learning and literacy coaches. In an effort to create a depository of examples and scenarios for lessons and activities and how an upgrade movement through the stages of the SAMR model actually looks like in the classroom, we are shared …

(6 Comments)

Download

21st Century Learning

Visible Thinking in Math- Part 1

fail

The conversation about visible thinking in Math started with one of our teachers at Graded, The American School of São Paulo, Adam Hancock, wanting to know how he could incorporate having students’ use their blogfolios in Math class. It seemed natural to have students write for Humanities (Language Arts and …

(2 Comments)

Redefining My Learning

story

Silvana Meneghini and I  work as Academic Technology Coordinators at Graded, the American School of São Paulo. ” A flashlight in the fog of technology integration“, initially the title of a conference workshop proposal, quickly developed into the desire of creating a framework to guide and coach teachers based on …

(1 Comment)

Reflection in the Learning Process, Not As An Add On

Reflection

Is it personality? Are some people born with it? Can it be learned? I am talking about REFLECTION. At the beginning of the week, I had the opportunity to be part of a workshop during our pre-service ( we just returned from our summer break here in the Southern Hemisphere) …

(6 Comments)

The Digital Learning Farm in Action

Student Tutorials- MineCraft, How to Ride a Horse, iMovie and more

minecraft-tutorial

It is no secret, that I am a big fan of Alan November‘s Digital Learning Farm concept. I especially believe in Teaching is the Highest Form of Understanding and the power of motivation and demonstration of evidence of student learning via the Tutorial Designer role. See a myriad of blog …

(3 Comments)

3 Need-Scenarios to Engage Students with Authentic Tasks

core-value-icons-tibet

Alan November’s concept of the Digital Learning Farm, asks schools and teachers to empower students by giving them relevant responsibilities that allow them to contribute in  meaningful ways to their learning community (class/school/etc.). How can we give students the opportunity to CONTRIBUTE versus completing projects that end up in the …

(4 Comments)

Blogging as the Official Scribe of the Classroom

official-scribe-poster

Alan November elevated the “Official Scribe” as one of the roles that empower student learners. I see the role of the scribe as follows: The official scribe plays an important role in the classroom community. Their work is essential for students who were absent from class or need a review …

(10 Comments)

Global Education

NASA’s Global Selfie Crowdsourced on Earth Day

GlobalSelfieLogo_verticalstack

Today, April 22, 2014, NASA is crowdsourcing Global Selfies. NASA astronauts brought home the first ever images of the whole planet from space. Now NASA satellites capture new images of Earth every second. For Earth Day we are trying to create an image of Earth from the ground up while …

(No Comments)

Selfies Around the World

selfies

  On the heels of The Cultural Phenomena of Selfies and  iPhoneography: Photo Challenges, Ideas & Literacy, students from the American School of São Paulo, Brazil want to know more about Selfies around the world. If you and your students would like to CONTRIBUTE with actual images for an in- school and online exhibition …

(2 Comments)

Julie Lindsay: Designing Engaging Curriculum for Global Collaboration in the Classroom

Following the post:  Note- Taking Learnflow of a Conference Workshop, here is the second story of my curated tweets from a session with Julie Lindsay. My favorite take away from her well run workshop was her quote “Flat learning is a pedagogy”. Amplifying our classroom, allowing students to reach out …

(No Comments)

Blogging With your Classroom

There is More to Blogging with Your Students

blogging-with-students_jpg

There is more to blogging with your students than simply creating a blog and starting to copy and paste work, that traditionally was done on a paper journal or worksheet in the classroom, into that digital space. Blogging is about quality and authentic writing in digital spaces with a global …

(No Comments)

You Have 1 Second to Hook a Potential Reader

hook

If you are blogging with your students, you have been exposed to them. You have been exposed to hundreds of unimaginative, cloned, generic and uninspiring BLOG TITLES. When opening your RSS reader that contains the latest blog posts of your students,  you are confronted with a list, similar to the …

(1 Comment)

Student Led Conferences: Sick and Tired of Blogs & Reflection?

SLC

Our students just finished a second round of Student Led Conferences (SLC) this school year (one in Semester 1 and another in Semester 2). SLCs are a formal opportunity for students to present to their parents about the state of their learning. The students’ advisor (a teacher responsible for a …

(1 Comment)

iPads

Evaluating iPad Apps

ipad-components-content

I wanted to take a closer look at the iPad Evaluation I previously blogged about in Evaluating Apps with Transformative Use in Mind. The section of Content and Components deserved a closer look and explanation. You can  download the PDF file of the iPad App Evaluation for the Classroom with …

(No Comments)

Visible Thinking in Math- Part 1

fail

The conversation about visible thinking in Math started with one of our teachers at Graded, The American School of São Paulo, Adam Hancock, wanting to know how he could incorporate having students’ use their blogfolios in Math class. It seemed natural to have students write for Humanities (Language Arts and …

(2 Comments)

Self- Directed Course: iPads in the Classroom

image2-lens-of-pedagogy

Professional Learning Board just released a Self-study  iPads in the Classroom course I wrote. It is a  self-directed course to take in your own time and at your own speed. “You have an iPad in your classroom, now what?” The iPad helps us prepare today’s student for today’s world in …

(10 Comments)

Digital Storytelling

Poetry on Record

Slide1

Inspired by Poetry, Performance & Taylor Mali and Beyond…, 8th grade Humanities teacher Shannon Hancock coached her students to create their own original “Mali Poem”and record a visual and vocal performance. I joined the class to give a brief overview of presentation design. I used selected slides from my slidedeck below to …

(No Comments)

Workflow & Learnflow of an Animation Story

pedro

After teaching a 1:1 Toolkit class for incoming Middle Schoolers tothe 1:1 laptop environment this past quarter, I am currently teaching a Media Basics course for sixth graders. I am using a school blog to document the class (among others), showcase student work, share resources and give written step-by-step directions …

(No Comments)

My StoryTelling App Folder(s)

storytelling-app

Matt Gomez shared a post today with a screenshot of his storytelling iPad app folder. I wanted to reciprocate and share mine. Storytelling I Folder StoryBuddy StoryBuilder StoryPagesHD Toontastic Tappy Memories StoryBoards Premium StoryMaker HD StoryPatch In a World … Drama Build a Story PhotoPuppets HD Epic Citadel Sock Puppets …

(24 Comments)

%d bloggers like this: