Someone asked me the other day if I thought students would get tired of blogging. My reply? Yes, I believe if every class wants students to come up with their own creative posts with no connection to learning many students will burn out fast. For me it isn’t about the BLOG which, in my opinion, is just an efficient publishing platform. It is about the CONTENT and CONNECTIONS students can create that make me excited about the possibilities!
To learn more about Mrs. Yollis, visit her Class Blog.
In an effort to highlight ideas on blogging, I’m going to break down what we have learned through our journey into student publishing over a series of blog posts. Today we will focus on a few blog mechanics:
Moving from ideation to publishing, requires focus on the revision cycle. We want students to develop positive digital footprints and part of that is helping them continually evaluate and revise their work so that they are increasing publishing quality. We have found paper blogging and storyboarding are great ways to introduce blogging and outline posts prior to publishing.
Students should identify their audience before they begin publishing. Knowing your audience helps build voice confidence and gives teachers and Digital Volunteers a better understanding of the perspective of the post and how to approach commenting. Keep in mind to build an audience, students will need practice writing titles that hook readers. Show students blog examples and have them discuss similarities and differences in writing between both print and digital content. Don’t forget, blogs are the perfect avenue to discuss how you can strengthen your message through the use of images and/or multimedia.
Digital Citizenship Alert – explicitly teach and model giving credit to shareable content that you do not own!
Categories and Tags are a critical foundational skill for students to learn when working with digital platforms. Think of categories, tags and/or labels as the organizational backbone to your blog or published work. For example, in KidBlog, categories are defined by the teacher and once selected, all posts will show as a single link. Think about that… a single link that can be:
- Tweeted out to share a body of work and welcome comments
- Shared with parents via a digital newsletter to highlight learning
- Shared with an expert to preload a face-to-face connection
- Shared with an expert as a thank you to demonstrate new learning as a result of this expert connection and to provide an avenue for ongoing conversation
Help students define and add their own tags (or labels for Blogger users). Create a tag cloud widget and add to your blog environment. Each time the tag is used, that word get larger. What a great formative way to look at your blog to see what is being posted. What kinds of predictions could students make from these clouds and how do tag clouds help tell your story?
When blogging with students or on your own, consider:
Six months down the road why and how might you want to dive back into the content of your blog? What story will your blog tell about you over time?