26 July 2013

Engaging and Authentic Student Blogging

Last year, I started blogging with my students on Kidblog. I immediately saw the benefits to their motivation to write and the potential to expand our classroom across oceans and continents. In the next school year, I plan to use our class blog as a hub for writing and collaboration with other classes around the world.

There are as many approaches to student blogging as there are innovative teachers doing it, but I have a suggestion related to promoting and commenting which I think would make blogging more engaging and authentic for students.
Photo by Lars Plougmann

I think the Comments For Kids community is a fabulous idea. Certainly, writers love recognition of and feedback for their work. However, I wish there were more interaction between students. What follows are practices which I believe can accomplish this.

When students complete a task on their blog, they should tag the posts specifically. For example, 'persuasive essay' or 'nature poem'. This allows those posts to be shared via a link to just those posts. Here's an example of a link to students' posts as part of an inquiry into Rights and Responsibilities: http://kidblog.org/JIESGrade6/category/units-of-inquiry/rights-responsibilities/.

A teacher can use that link to promote students' writing on twitter or any other platform. More importantly, if another teacher notices posts that are particularly relevant to learning in her class, she can post that same link in her own class blog for her students to follow, read, and comment.

Finally, when a teacher uses a class blog for an assignment, create a post that allows students anywhere to participate. For example, if the task is to respond to a video, embed the video in the post so that students from other classes can participate. If there is a resource students would need, include a link in the post so that anyone can find it.

I think that student blogs should be central to collaboration and developing international mindedness and just a few careful habits from teachers can make it happen. Let's create a deep net of posts, links, and comments!

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