Having students blog about what they have learned is becoming popular in the classroom, this is because students are able to write like they are journaling. Kids like this activity because they writing their own thoughts, comment, and engage with the internet to learn more about their topic.
When I was reading on how to teach students how to blog, I found a great resource called 14 steps to meaningful student blogging. In this blog, Pernille Ripp discusses ways to have your students blog. I agree with the following steps:
The first step is to pick the appropriate platform to have your students blog on. There are many different platforms like WordPress (which I use), kidblog or Edublog. I like that WordPress and Edublog are free to sign up and have different styles that students can explore to make their blog their own. With Kidblog there is a fee associated with it. However, Kidblog is safe since only students enrolled in the class can leave comments. I feel that if you are just starting to use blogs in your classroom this is a safe way to go about it. I would rather use Edublog. Edublog is set up like WordPress, however as a teacher you can monitor what is being posted and the comments that are being left. Edublog allows the public to leave comments but if they are not appropriate, that can be deleted easily without your student knowing. Although I have yet to use blogging in a classroom, I fear the comments the most. This is because I do not have control of the feedback that is being given. But platforms like Edublogs acknowledge this fear and allow teachers to have the control that they need.
Step 2- is teaching kids how to blog. This makes sense, we cannot expect our students to feel comfortable writing on the internet. Pernille Ripp suggests doing a paper blog activity first. This activity is found on her blog.
Step 3- Talk about Safety. We cannot just send our student on the internet without teaching them about internet trolls, cyberbullying, how to be a digital citizen or anything else that you feel that needs to be covered before you let them loose per say. Students need to be prepared for what can happen and they need to know that you are the person to go to if there is a problem. No child should feel unsafe doing an activity in your classroom. Also, I would let parents know that you are running blogs in your classroom and maybe have an informational evening for parents to learn about blogging and how if helps children to read and write.
Step 4- teach students how to comment. This is an important skill to have in the 21st century. Giving feedback to other students that are positive and inquisitive is important. Also replying to comments in a constructive way is important. Students need to know to acknowledge their audience and ask questions of them, conversations happen on the internet this way.
Lastly, Step 5 – Start small – This is common sense, many have your student introduce themselves on a blog. For example, let them write an about page first. This allows your students get used to the language and how they should set up their blog.
I think that students will be excited and engaged to show what they have learned or what they want to write about on a blog. If you have students that need to have adaptations, you can make adaptations by allowing video blogs, However, remember media release forms need to be signed before your students can be featured on the internet. What do you think, will you allow your students to blog? How would you go about introducing your students to blogging?