5 Tips for Successful Student Blogging
Looking for a way engage your students, include technology in the classroom, and foster deeper, more meaningful thinking? Then you need to introduce them to blogging. Here are a few helpful tips inspired by the ultimate kid's blogging guide.
#1 Model, Model, Model
As with all things in education, modeling is paramount. . So before you teach students to blog start your own and learn best practices. From there, make sure to expose students to your blog often before getting them started on their own. A few good ways to get students acquainted with your blog:
- Do a webquest -Create an assignment on your blog with links students need to click through.
- Give a homework assignment-Let students know their homework assignment is on the blog. Then they have to check the blog to figure out what to do.
- Ask a question and require a blog response-This could be about a book you read in class, a science concept, or whatever. This will get students used to reading and responding to blog posts.
#2 Set Expectations
Before beginning, make sure you have clear expectations set. This would include when students are allowed to blog, behavior during blogging, and expectations for what a blog should include. You have to remember that students simply won't perform the way you want if you don't let them know in advance exactly what you're looking for. Take the guesswork out of it for them. If the expectations are clear, they'll more than likely perform accordingly. And if they don't, whatever consequences you give will be justifiable.
#3 Give Them a Blogging Template
Rather than simply turning them lose, give them an outline to start. This could be similar to an essay, with an introduction, body, and conclusion. However, get a bit more specific with what a blog entails, as it's not the same as a 5 paragraph essay. A few things to consider in your template:
- An introduction
- A body that includes a bullet point or numbered list for readability
- Sub headings
- A conclusion with a call to action that asks people to comment
I'd also suggest that you give very specific blogging prompts in the beginning.
#4 Spend Time Teaching Them How to Comment
If you aren't careful, the comments section can turn into a mess. Make sure to spend time modeling and teaching what constructive comments look like. A few specific behaviors to address from the get-go:
- It's not a text-Since the comments section usually doesn't have a spell checker, and since comments are often short messages, students tend to teach them as texts with abbreviations and misspellings.
- Be positive-Some students use the comments as a place to criticize. That's not the goal, as it's not constructive and is no fun for anyone.
- Don't correct-High achieving students will often use this as an area to correct people. Make sure they know they aren't the teacher. The conversation should revolve around content, not typos and punctuation.
#5 Stress the Importance of Internet Safety
The internet can be a big, scary place… and kids don't usually realize it. It's your job to teach them how to behave appropriately online, and how to stay safe. Students need to realize the importance of keeping their personal information off the internet, especially the younger students. They also need to understand that the internet should be a fun, safe place for everyone-say no to cyber bullying!
Blogging can be an enriching experience in the classroom. Just make sure to set your expectations high and model plenty. Need help with getting your teach blog started? Learn with this guide for how to start a teacher blog.
Chris Brantner is an English Language Arts teacher of 11 years, and has used blogging as an integral part of his classroom. During this time, he started using the skills he was teaching to create his own successful blogs like Scribblrs.com and CutCableToday. Whether helping people learn to emulate his success with their own blogs, or showing them how to save money by cutting the cord, Chris will always seek to share his knowledge with the world.