Ideas for Student Blogging – A Baker’s Dozen

Nov 4, 2014 by

I’m sitting in a session at the MI Google Summit¹ and I’m listening to Jessica Winstanley melt my heart with adorable images of elementary students working through the mechanics of blogging with markers, sticky notes and reflective thought. Her session was focused on getting students (and teachers) to start blogging, and provided a host of reason why you might want to start blogging in the classroom. It instantly took me back to my post a few weeks ago about how educators should approach the blogging process; give me the “why” first, and then figure out the mechanics of “how”.

Jessica did a wonderful job, barely touching upon the tools for blogging, and instead focused on the why. So I thought I’d share her compelling examples for why you should get your students blogging, a full baker’s dozen! Alright, so there are 14 ideas here, but 13 made for a better title, poetically speaking 🙂

Jessica Winstanley’s Ideas for Student Blogging

  • Share class news with parents.
  • Provide a list of homework or useful links.
  • Link to online photo albums to share pictures with the classroom community.
  • Discussion forum with parents/students on material discussed in class.
  • Use as a medium for students to share their writing.

Elementary Specific

  • Book Blog – Class blog where students are the authors and they blog about the books they are reading
  • Class News – Student guest bloggers blog each week about what is happening in the classroom
  • Current EventsStudents blog about current events: what is happening and their thoughts and opinions on the topic.
  • Diary of a (Insert class pet here) – Students can blog about the life cycle and happenings of the class pet.
  • I Spy – Have students post photos or pictures related to the content area and have them discuss why the picture is relevant.  Other students then can comment and expand the discussion.

Secondary Specific

  • Book Discussion – Blog about a novel and have fellow students who are reading the same novel comment and discuss.
  • Living History – students conduct original interviews with local senior citizens, placing text, images, and audio clips on their blog as a digital archive of local history.
  • Class Scribe –  Each day, a student is the class scribe, responsible for posting the class notes to the blog. With clever formatting and the use of pictures and graphs, lessons are shared each day. Discussions in the comments.
  • Lab Reports – Blog about experiments conducted in class, like a lab report.  Through commenting, compare notes with classmates to evaluate what worked or didn’t for each group.

Want more ideas? Jessica was kind enough to share her entire presentation with me, and you can view it here, or embedded below! I couldn’t embed her original version, so below is a copy. To keep up with changes to the document use the previous link for her “live” presentation.


1 The MI Google conference is easily one of the most affordable and well run Google Summits around compared to the hundreds of dollars being asked of attendees for Google Summits in many other states.

 

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4 Comments

  1. It was wonderful to share my passion for blogging with students with such a fun audience. Thanks Ben for the shout out!

    • Thank you for sharing! I honestly felt rejuvenated after your session, having recently been to far too many “here’s how the tool works” gatherings. And I include myself in that group, as I am still guilty of leading simple “how to” sessions without providing enough of a compelling hook.

  2. I think your point is great. I’d refine it a little. Sessions should be clear on whether they are:

    Why? Why should teachers looking to blogs for education? When are they authentic and motivating? When do they feel as artificial and lifeless as a book report defined as a five paragraph essay?

    How? How on earth do we set up a class or set of student blogs? Passwords? Graphics? Decorations? Security?

    I’ve wrestled for years with this. At one point, we offered BlackBeltBlogger.com . Now we provide Time4Writing.com. The whole story of these courses was written up at http://www.blorum.info/2014/10/status-and-history-of.html

    • I think you’ve got a good point in being clear about the expectations of a breakout session regarding technology. Given that this was a conference comprised of 50 minute sessions, I’m glad that it was focused on the why and ideas for sustained blogging practice. An hour, or less, is far too precious a time to get someone setup with a blogging tool, but no clear plan for continued use in the classroom. Thinking about ideas for shared authorship are key, even if we have to start at some basic levels to get the ball rolling.

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