|Image: Kristina B|
I have written about it before, I will write about it again I am sure, so here is why students should blog:
- They have an actual audience to write for. The writing is no longer just for me but the whole world. When we write science diaries, we have scientists write back to us and push their questioning skills. When students write about a book they are reading, other students ask them questions and give them more recommendations. When students go on vacations they write to us to tell us all about it. You get the idea.
- You can track their writing progress. I have always had them keep track of their writing in their binders but invariable papers got lost. Here I can see their growth, print it out and hand it to them. I can have them focus on specific skills, just like regular writing, but they can go in and edit on their own time. They can see their growth and the electronic version seems to appeal to them more.
- It opens a dialogue. Students have a direct line to their teacher and to anyone else they are connected with. Blogging helps us write back to each other, but great blogging is like a conversation with questions and critique. My students are learning how to engage in written dialogue with topics they care about.
- It establishes their internet identity in safe manner. Students are getting on the internet earlier and earlier so as teachers it is vital we embrace this opportunity to teach them safety. My students know the safety rules by heart and help each other follow them. By being on the internet and establishing a presence they are actively practicing staying safe rather than just talking about it.
- They teach each other. Numerous times my students have corrected misconceptions or created new awareness of concepts being taught within our room. They become teachers rather than just students in our classroom and blogging allows them to continue that outside our classroom walls.
- They are global citizens and global collaborators. We speak of creating global citizens but then forget to actually connect kids with kids. My students know where places in the world are because they speak to kids from those places. We have connections around the world that we can use when we study other places and this year my students will even be working on a project together with another classroom.
- Transparency. Too often teachers shut their doors to the world rather than sharing the amazing things we concoct along with or students. Blogging opens up that door and shows the whole world what is happening. My students have more than once inspired other teachers to try a project.
- They become aware of themselves as writers. Students start to create their own essence as a writer first playing around with fonts but then creating tag lines for their blogs and deciding how they want to present themselves to the world as writers. This is powerful at the elementary age.
- I can easily check in on their learning. When my students blog about a concept I can quickly see whether they are understanding the essential concepts or need another learning opportunity.
- You give them a voice. Students need a way to express themselves to take ownership of their learning, so through our blog students tell the world their thoughts on education, their learning and their needs. I am a better teacher because of their blogging.
I could keep going but I hope that this inspires you to try it. Reach out, connect, I will gladly help anyone that wants to try blogging with their students. My students tell me now that blogging is one of the best things that has ever happened to them. To see their work and their thoughts visit them here