Last week my students became bloggers. My plan for summer was to look into how to get my students writing in a more realistic setting than typing an essay that is share with only me (and their parents if they were excited about the topic.) Becoming a blogger myself recently, I learned the value of reflection by putting myself out there in the real world. My biggest questions were would the students take to it with the same enthusiasm as I had and would it increase their writing ability.
I introduced my students to the process of blogging by creating and commenting on a class blog. I noticed that they were far more receptive to what I was trying to get through. They were willing to ask more questions and comment more appropriately on the class blog than they would have been had I thrown an essay on the board or a worksheet for class comments. Students who normally won't share a word in class in front of their peers gave in depth and amazing comments to the class blog online.
The process of actually creating the blog was interesting. This is where we were reminded of our class motto, "Try Everything" (The Zootopia song that reminds us to not give up and keep trying, even if you think you fail.). Students walked through the process step by step with me. They were able to choose their own titles/blog names, theme/background, and the overall look of their blog. They had to set up the blog so that I became admin and they were changed to authors. (This helps protect their identity as they are under 13 and makes it easier for me to monitor posts and comments). It was explained to both students and their parents that the students would get back their admin rights after the left our school and that they could keep the blog as long as they stayed a student in our district. This aspect alone got the students extremely excited.
In our first blogging session the students were able to actually write and publish their first blog in their first session. The students were so excited to write. They could chose their own topics. Some chose a personal interest, like football or their pets. Others wrote about creating their own blogs. These were the posts that made me the most proud. Several wrote how they were nervous but couldn't wait to see how their blog would take place. It was this last group that intrigued me the most. Many of these were my shy students. Suddenly they were opening up in a way that they had not done previously (almost half of my class had me for a teacher last year).
I am really excited to see where their blogging takes them. To see the levels of engagement and excitement that one writing activity brought about had me bouncing around the school giddy with joy. I can only hope that the students will continue to enjoy the process throughout the year.
What I learned:
- Students will write when they are excited about the platform, even if they aren't thrilled about the topic.
- Writing with the ability to have comments from people outside their classroom makes writing fun!
- Teacher excitement creates student excitement! (Yes, knew this, but love when it is reinforced with new activities!)
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching