Keep Writing Momentum: How to encourage student blogging over the summer

The school year is quickly coming to an end, and I don’t know about you, but I am going to miss my kids.  I will especially miss reading their unique stories in our Kidblog class.

The last day of school does not have to be the end for blogging.  The internet stays open and so does our blog.  Everyone has a password, right?  Take it home with you inside your writer’s notebook, set it next to your home computer, and every once in awhile log in and see what’s up.

Summer is the time of year to recommend and encourage “feral writing,” as Ralph Fletcher calls this type of writing in his new book Joy Write. Ralph reminds us that kids need to rediscover the “raw, untamed power of writing.”  Our Kidblog site is open for this wild writing. During the school year, we have established a community of writers who honor and support one another.  If any student is missing this connection over the summer, the space is waiting for their arrival.  

In a recent Twitter chat with Good to Great (#G2Great), Ralph Fletcher highlighted the importance of students having the chance to enter into low-stakes writing, to have a safe place to play with language and grow their language.  (Amy Brennan wrote a synopsis of the chat on Literacy Lenses.) Kidblog can be that safe place for low stakes writing practice.

Summer slide is a reality.  As a teacher, I have my own summer slide.  Every year I have to re-learn the various systems for recording grades, posting lessons, etc.  Summer is time to clean out the trash that piles up in my closets and in my brain.  While I miss the routine of school and seeing my students each day, I revel in time to walk my dog, have lunch with a friend, read an adult book, and go on a vacation.  Without everyday practice, we all lose ground.

As you pack up your classrooms and say goodbye to your students, hand them a card with your Kidblog site address printed on it along with your home email address. Send home a parent letter encouraging continued blogging.

Invite your students to play with their writing this summer.  Here is a list of experimental feral writing ideas.

  • Write a letter to your teacher.
  • Write a Slice of Life post. (A small moment story about your own life.)
  • Do you have a favorite book series? Write a fanfiction story.
  • Plan a dream vacation.
  • Make a book of poems.  

Kathleen Sokowolski wrote this post on Two Writing Teachers.  She challenges her students to be “Summer Writing Ninjas” with a writing Bingo board.  She also suggests students may be encouraged to write over the summer with a new writing notebook.  Who wouldn’t enjoy decorating a new notebook to take home with blank pages ready to be filled?

Don’t forget to decorate a notebook for yourself!  Write daily and share your own ideas with your students.  If you’ve made a connection this school year, your students will want to hear from you over the summer.  Aim to post every few weeks.  Upload pictures – even if it’s just a photo of your cat.  If your students know you will be posting, they’ll check in and possibly post as well.  What’s to lose?  Hopefully not a full year of writing momentum!

About the Author
Margaret Simon lives on the Bayou Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana. Margaret has a Masters degree in Gifted Education and certification by the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards. She received the Donald Graves Award for teaching writing from NCTE in 2014. Her young readers novel, Blessen, was published by Border Press in April, 2012. She blogs regularly at http://reflectionsontheteche.wordpress.com.

1 Comment

  1. Cindy Friday Beeman

    Thanks for your ideas. It’s one more thing I can add in my moving on gift at the end of the year. We blog through an elective, but I could try adding my current students at the year’s end, too.

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