This is Part IV in the series “Stepping it Up: Learning About Blogs FOR your Students”
As a teacher,
- you have started reading blogs in order to get ideas, inspiration and format from other writers and educators…
- you have content that sparks your own interest and that you are able to connect to in your own writing…
- you are going through the “process of writing” for yourself, in order to coach your students in becoming better writers…
- you have started leading your students in writing on their own blogs…
- you are modeling conversations, critical thinking and connections by commenting on your students’ blog.
you are realizing that your students are NOT necessarily jumping up and down for you, eager to get to work in order to consistently produce high quality writing. Motivation to get on the blog, blinging it up and producing content might have happened for a brief period right after you started blogging.
The newness wore off fast for these digital natives and now it is (most likely with only a few exceptions among your students) nothing more than school work on a digital platform instead of school work with paper and pencil.
An integral component to keep it exciting and fresh for your students (and yourself too) is to:
Make a conscious effort to CONNECT your students to an audience beyond the teacher.
An authentic global audience for our classroom or individual student blogs does not happen on its own. I have been thinking, researching and experimenting how to connect classrooms to a global audience for a while now.
In my opinion, it comes down to YOU, as the teacher, to make a commitment to:
- be the connector for your students (especially younger ones) or
- teach them how to reach out on their own.
How does a teacher drive traffic to his/her students’ blogs in order to connect them to an audience?
- Blogging Buddies
Connect with blogging buddies (formerly known as pen-pals).
Find another committed classroom teacher who is blogging. They can be from your own building, district, state, or from another country.
(Leave your contact info and blog details on this Google Doc started by Kim Cofino, if you are looking for blogging buddies for your students)
Become part of a Quad-Blog. Make a connection via the site or organize yourself with three other classroom teachers from your own network.
- Blogging Projects
Join pre-existing blogging projects (Student Blogging Challenge)
Tweet about exemplary student posts to your network.
Use hashtag #comment4kids (more info about comments4kids)
- Cross-Posting, Linking and Commenting
Cross-post student posts and link them on your professional blogs. Leave relevant comments on other blogs with links back to your classroom and/or student blogs.
Invite “content experts” of a unit your are studying or specific area of student interest to write a guest blog post or become a guest commenter
Ask a university professor to connect your classroom or student blogs to a group of pre-service teachers. This can be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Educate and ask parents to take the time to read and comment on the classroom or their student’s blog
(Idea: Have students create a “How-to-Video” walking their parents through the steps of leaving a comment and give advice on quality comments)
How do YOU connect your students to a larger audience than one? What has worked for you? Please share.