I have blogged with my students for the past three years now and have been trying to figure out, within the bounds of our Responsible Use Policy, how to up my game. I started blogging with my kids as a way for them to find their authentic voice. We mostly wrote about books we were reading and I have also had students respond to journal type prompts. I used Google’s blogspot as my platform as it was free and easy. I posted and my students would comment anonymously using only their initials as identifiers.
I moved to a new district where they required all student writing to be within the ‘walled garden’. So I moved to +Kidblog http://kidblog.org/home/, a free app where students post freely and privately within just our class. Again, we mostly used the blog for journal prompts and reading logs. I was most excited when, without prompting, one of my students started a story, to which other students added chapters!
But still, I want more fro my kids from this experience. I want their real and authentic voices to shine through. I want them to learn the value writing. And I want them to learn to be responsible citizens, both in the virtual and real worlds!
This summer I discovered Pernille Ripp. Within 24 hours, I came across two or her posts about her blogging experience with 4th graders. She had some great ideas that I wanted to capture and share.
I love the idea of starting out on paper. I often take for granted that kids know how to do something which they have not yet learned to do. Blogging on poster paper with post-its for comments provides opportunities to discuss real time issues like safety and style.
The second post came by way of Smartblogs.com Here she talks at a higher level about how to give students a voice in their education. How and why and most of all, listening to those voices then reflecting and revising based on what you hear.
She has some great ideas for ‘blog challenges’ with categories such as about me, and about school at Student Blogging Challenges - A List of Ideas
Finally, Ms. Ripp has some great suggestions for integrating blogging throughout the curriculum.
In the end, blogging should not be a burden in your already full day. Students should love blogging, not see it as a chore (which is also why I never grade my students’ blogs) and they should be eager to express themselves and expand their worlds.
So this summer I will be researching ways to 'go global' with our blogging as well as integrating with curriculum, not just language arts. I also want to learn more about how to use twitter with my students.