One of the largest benefits of having students create blog posts is the opportunity for them to write for an authentic audience. Writing for an authentic audience allows students to experience more of a sense of ownership for their writing than simply writing for their own teacher can provide. Even having the opportunity to read their classmates’ posts and make comments motivates students to share their best. When my 4th graders have the chance to read posts made by peers from other parts of the country and world and provide their own feedback and comments, it is difficult for them to contain their excitement.
Likewise, knowing that other students from around the world will be reading and commenting on their blog posts gives students a sense of reality and purpose to their writing. They are no longer simply writing an assignment because their teacher has told them to. They are writing for a purpose and an authentic audience. Kids their own age who may have similar interests as they have will be reading and commenting on their writing. Knowing that fact often gives students an extra incentive to try and present their writing in the best light.
In order to provide students with that authentic audience, how do educators expand their class blog’s reach? A great start is Kidblog’s connections feature. If you find a Kidblog class blog that you feel would be a good connection to your own class, simply click on the follow button at the top of their Kidblog page. The other teacher will be sent a connection request, and if approved, your students can read and comment on each other’s blogs. This is a great way to expose your students to other parts of the world and different cultures, and have them discover what other kids are learning in their schools. If you find a class to connect with, examining what other classes follow them and who they are following will provide you with more potential classes to make connections with.
Another way to expand your class blog’s reach is to utilize social media. There are many avenues of social media that can help amplify your students’ message and writing, however, educators have to be careful about student privacy issues and making sure that they are not sharing personal student information, including last names of students. If a teacher has an education blog, then linking the class blog to a post can be a powerful way to share the students’ writing and ideas. Furthermore, Twitter can be a robust way to not only share your class blog with others, but to make connections to partner classes. Using the hashtag #kidblog, #comments4kids, and sharing your class URL, educators can find partner classes and share their class blog with other classes looking to connect their students.
Giving students an authentic audience not only makes writing more engaging, but it better prepares them for the real world. They are writing for an audience and receiving real feedback on their work. Finding ways to expand your class blog’s reach and engage others is well worth the time and effort.
For more information and helpful tips for connecting with audiences in Kidblog, watch this Kidblog webinar.