Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Few Ideas for Blogging

Lately, I've spent a lot of time talking "blogging" with teachers. Blogging is a great way to engage students and can be used in some fashion with all students. Classrooms without a lot of technology hardware can blog and collect a digital portfolio of students writing, while also teaching some valuable Internet safety lessons. Many teachers are interested in blogging but wonder if this might be one more thing to maintain and manage throughout the day. Blogs can be used in a lot of ways to help teachers work smarter not harder.

And sometimes everyone just needs a few ideas for getting started. And while there are many ideas for classroom blogging on the Internet, I'd like to throw out some advice and a few easy ways I've seen teachers in our district blogging with students.
  • Keep it simple and ask a simple open-ended question. Remember blogging is not meant to create a lot more written work for the teacher. Post a question and let the kids respond. Some of the best blogs I've seen used with students are less about the post and more about the comments/responses from the students.
  • Use pictures. Marlo presented Image Journaling as part of our session for NCTIES last year, and it was brilliant in its simplicity. Post a picture (observing copyright) and have the students respond to a question involving the image. Great for descriptive writing, prediction strategies, summarizing etc...
  • Use multimedia. With the popularity of hand-held video cameras (like the Flipcamera) teachers can easily upload lessons and group performance videos to their blogs. This is a great way to showcase some of the events in your classroom, while allowing students to create digital content. Please note large videos can be much harder to upload into a blog.
  • Showcase student work. Let the blog be a digital bulletin board for displaying student work. Pictures can be scanned in and student writing can be posted, giving students a chance to show off what they've done in class with a potentially global audience.
It does take some effort in getting started, but the majority of teachers I've spoken with who have blogged with their students over the course of a year really seem to think the blog has helped. Try it and I think you'll agree.

1 comment:

Scott Armstrong said...

A hearty amen! I wrote a technology blog last year when I taught Computer Apps I, and am writing a sports/entertainment marketing blog this year. My students can comment on the questions I pose. Some of my students even write the blog for me.

And pictures work, too. I find that I get more comments on a blog if I include a picture of what I'm writing about.

Blogging--try it, you'll like it!