The tools we use to write today have changed. No longer are we limited to typewriters, correction tape, and word processing machines. The evolution has changed how, where, and for whom we write. Writing for students is open to a variety of genres, purposes, methods, and audiences. Today, writers of all ages and developmental levels of writing have opportunities to write for and with others. Individual writing processes, styles, and voices are welcomed and shared each day with digital writing tools.
Blogs and New Opportunities
Blogging is one digital writing tool that has opened the world to writers and helped to build learning networks reaching across the globe. Through blogging, writers are sharing their writing and readers are seeking and learning new ideas. Blog readers and blog writers are an inspirational partnership. In my experience (personal and classroom) bloggers are supportive of one another and inspire others to write. Through comments, sharing a post on social media, or even writing in response to a post, bloggers grow and learn together. These reciprocal relationships encourage writers to write more, try new methods, styles, and genres as they become comfortable and learn to count on the feedback of their audience.
What is Blogging?
The benefits of blogging can extend into our classrooms. But before you decide to dive head first into classroom blogging, consider the following:
- What are you asking your students to do?
- What do you want them to gain from blogging?
- Where will you put blogging in your day?
- Will the students be free to choose topics, genres, and reasons to write?
Immerse Yourself and Your Class in A Blogging Community
To help you and your students see what blogging is and how other writers engage in blogging, spend some time reading student and professional blogs as a class. Discuss what you and your students notice on blogs. Look at the titles, fonts, layouts, and photographs bloggers use to share their message. How are these tools used? Are they effective? Pay attention to the topics or focus of a blog. Does the blogger write about one topic or a variety? How often do they blog? How do they begin and end a blog? What about comments? Does the blog receive comments? Why or why not?
The Toe Dip
Now, with an idea of what blogs are and how they work, ask your writers:
- How do you envision your students’ blogs?
- Will you allow the students’ writing development to be visual? (The work a writer does should reflect the writer.)
- What will you blog about?
- How often or when will you blog?
- What possibilities do you see in being a member of a blogging community?
With this preparation and guidance, you and your writers are ready to embrace the world of blogging. And who knows, you just might find your class asking to join the Classroom Slice of Life Challenge this year!