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Have your students blogged today? 5 Reasons Why Teachers Should Consider a Class Blog

Class blogs can serve many different purposes including opening a new venue for teachers and students to share their ideas, work, and discussions.  Few teachers take advantage of this online resource, but it is a perfect fit for the classroom for all ages. Here are 5 reasons why every teacher should consider creating a class blog:

1. Use Blogs to  Teach Common Core State Standards

Writing standards expect students to write for a variety of purposes and audiences.  Yet, most writing instruction revolves around how to write essays.  Why not teach students writing through blogs as well?  Technology has made it easier to communicate through writing via text messaging, emails, social media, and blogs.  However, little time is spent teaching students how to communicate appropriately with this type of writing.   

Try this… Students write a summary or share their opinion on an topic.  Classmates read what is written and post comments or questions, such as “can you provide more details about...?”  

Try this… Students take turns updating the class blog daily/weekly to share information about the learning and activities while working on their narrative writing skills.

2. Use a Blog to Guide You Toward Distinguished on TPEP

Someone once told me that it is difficult to live in the distinguished level, but it is a place teachers should visit often.  Creating and using a class blog can make those visits occur more frequently.  Depending on the purpose of the blog, it can easily “establish a culture for learning” that reaches beyond the classroom walls.  The interaction through commenting can help build strong “questioning and discussion techniques” to help students dive deeper into their learning.  It is also a way of “engaging students in learning” because they become active participants and are encouraged to share resources or reflect on their learning.  By providing students a voice through blogging, it can also help build “respect and rapport” as students learn to value each others opinions through online discourse.

Try this…  Students blog about their learning and share related resources
or activities they find that could be used to further build on that learning.  Students can explain how their sources are beneficial to the learning.

Try this… Teacher posts a current event each week and students have an online conversation about the issue where they ask higher-order questions, challenge their classmates and teachers thoughts in a way that enriches the discussion.  

3. Use a Blog to Make Digital Citizenship a Daily Lesson

Blogging provides the perfect opportunity for teachable moments about digital citizenship.  First, guidelines must be established prior to using a class blog with students. Second, blogging provides a platform for conversations as situations arise.   “How does the post reflect on you?” “How is this post beneficial to the conversation?”  Students are provided the chance to practice making appropriate contributions and comments within a monitored environment.

Try this… Start a conversation around blogging, commenting, and posts by involving students in the process of setting up guidelines and expectations for the class blog. 

Try this… Every few weeks, have students reflect on their contributions and comments to determine if their words added value to the blog, providing reasons for their conclusions and an explanation of how their contributions could improve.

4. Use a Blog to Allow Students to Help Guide the Learning

Creating lifelong learners should be a goal of any educator.  We want students to experience the joy of learning something new and encourage them to expand on that learning.  Blogs are an excellent way to create this type of culture because they give students a voice.  Think about what drives people to post on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites.  How many people are following?  How many viewed the video?  Recognition provides immediate reward.  Educators need to capitalize on this phenomena by encouraging students to share their work, thoughts, questions, and resources through a blog creating an active learning community.

Try this… Students share photos or stories of real world applications of concepts being learned at school.  

Try this… Students take turns selecting articles to post to the site and initiate a discussion about the issues, people, or events.  

5. Use a Blog to Reach Beyond the Classroom Walls

Students complete projects to demonstrate their understanding, skills, and thought processes, but these creations are often only seen by the teacher.  Why not celebrate the learning that is occurring at school?  Blogs can help expand the classroom walls by allowing students to publish their work so parents, classmates, or other educators can view it.  Suddenly, their work is a creation that is valued by more people and becomes more than just an assignment.

Try this… At the completion of each unit, students select their best piece of work and post it on the blog along with a description of the learning that occurred.

Try this Students create their own blog to log their learning throughout the year to create an online portfolio of their work.
Check out some of these classroom blogs:

There are many other examples out there.   Feel free to explore or just get started setting up one for your class.    

Taking a leap into the blogosphere is scary for many especially if you are unsure where to start. 
Check out these resources to help get you started:

Anyone can blog! 


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