“I can write a blog. I have thoughts!” –Julie & Julia
That quote says it all. If you have thoughts, you can blog. Blogging can reach across multiple grade levels and all abilities. Have a thought in your head? You can blog! That’s it. Starting to see the beauty of it all? Students who are struggling in any academic area can build their confidence by blogging. Not only does blogging reach across multiple abilities, but it also reaches across multiple subjects.
As a third grade teacher, it can be like pulling teeth to get students to write. Often times when they do write, I am asked, “How many sentences do I HAVE to write?” or “Is this enough for a good grade?” Either the passion for writing is missing or they strongly lack confidence in their writing abilities. When students blog, they take complete ownership in their writing. With blogging, students put their best piece of writing forward for others to read. Their writing will improve because their passion and confidence in their writing abilities will develop and grow. They will CARE about writing and communicating with a broad audience. Not only will they take ownership of their own writing, they will also learn to appreciate other students’ writing and how to offer constructive, positive feedback to buildup others. What a great way to develop digital citizenship from a young age! Most students at this point in their education and personal experience have only had the teacher or a few classmates as their audience for their writing. It’s important for students to realize that with technology and online media, their audience is so much greater than they would have imagined.
Blogging is a great tool for students to develop their voice and get their ideas into writing. In my class, blogging is not for a grade, so to students the stakes are low. They don’t have to have anxiety about whether their writing will be good enough for a desired grade. Blogging can truly develop students into risk takers. As a teacher, I want to know what my students are thinking and I want to see their perspective on what we are learning in the classroom. Having a desired grade in mind can hinder that process. With that said, you may certainly choose to grade what your students have blogged. However, if you do decide to go this route, I strongly suggest you set clear guidelines and give students a rubric for what you are looking for. When creating a rubric, keep their creativity in mind. It is also very important to model and teach digital citizenship right from the start. Setting clear guidelines will make your class blog a huge success. Happy blogging everyone!
Photo Credit: Eddy Van 3000 via flickr cc