We’ve all heard about exciting and different ways to motivate and engage our students. If you’re like me, my first question is always, “how would this look in MY class with MY students?” As a language arts teacher, I am always looking for ways to foster the love of reading and writing in my students. Luckily, in my class with my students, blogging is the answer
Blogging is a great outlet for literary response, and the possibilities endless. You can create a character blog series in which students write from a character’s point of view. Students choose a character from their favorite novel or from the novel being read in class and they step into that character’s shoes to write their posts. Through the character blogging series, students are challenged to think critically about character motives and examine how point of view influences how events are retold. Below is one of my fifth graders blogging from the point of view of Helen Keller.
Blogging also supports and encourages creative writing. Foster creative writing in your class by having students complete weekly Blogging Challenges! With all the formal writing styles that need to be taught throughout the school year, I’ve found creative writing often gets the short end of the stick. With weekly blogging challenges, you can provide your students that creative outlet and an authentic audience for their piece. For your reluctant writers, a blogging challenge adds a bit of competition, giving them some extra motivation to write. Students can also practice their descriptive writing skills by responding to a picture. Chris Van Allsburg’s drawings are great for this activity because they leave a lot of room for interpretation and creativity. As a descriptive blogging challenge, post an image on your class blog and have the students tell the story behind it.
Finally, I have found that a class blog can promote student reading. I am always trying to find ways to motivate my students to read. No matter how many recommendations I make, some students will not open a book until they hear its praises from another student. Implementing Book Reviews into your classroom blogging is a great way to establish a community of readers. Students read a book of their choosing, write a book review, then post their recommendation on the blog. These book reviews are posted for all students to see and that’s how the reading frenzy begins! Students are always eager to read what their classmates recommend. I’ve even had students create mini book clubs as they read a novel together. Here is a fourth grade example of a book review for Island of the Blue Dolphins.
I hope you give blogging a try in your language arts instruction. If you do, you’ll find that the writing opportunities are endless and the student engagement cannot be matched.