In the beginning of the school year, there are many routines and procedures to be established. The first few weeks of school are often spent getting to know one another, discussing classroom expectations, and becoming familiar with classroom tools and materials. A great way to begin the new year is by taking the opportunity to learn about students within the first few months: their backgrounds, interests, strengths,and learning needs. A great way to help students share these details is through their writing.
To many students, the idea of blogging will be new. A common way to prepare students for publishing blog posts is by first creating “posts” with paper and pencil. I often begin by providing a prompt for the students and having them write for a short period of time. Giving students this opportunity to first practice on paper helps them get comfortable with their writing prior to publishing their posts for a more public audience. I have found it also helps me learn a little more about my students.
Once both you and your students feel ready to publish, create a prompt to help ease students into the online blogging experience. A great beginning prompt will guide students in their writing. It will provide them with an opportunity to think and apply knowledge already learned this year. In my foreign language classroom, a prompt focused on a particular concept or as a review of the material covered from the prior year works well. This also serves as an excellent way to determine what content needs to be reviewed, as well as how to provide some more individualized instruction for each of your students.
Once these posts are published, leave comments to inquire more. Ask how students believe they best learn, what resources help them the most, and other similar questions. These questions help students to engage more in the learning process and provide you with valuable information on each class member.
Blogging as a tool in the classroom provides a way for teachers and students to convey information and communicate understanding. It gives students a voice as it allows for open-ended expression. Students begin to focus on expressing themselves and throughout the year will become increasingly comfortable.