Making the Writer Better: Getting Started with Blogging

In my previous post, Make Writing Better, Start with the Writer I wrote about the importance of starting with the writer to lift writing.  I shared the infographic I will use to guide my work and keep me focused on the writer.

As I move forward in planning summer professional development for the teachers in my district, I am already finding the infographic invaluable.  In planning my session, “Getting Started with Blogging” I found the information on the infographic guiding each slide and each step as I planned the presentation.

Being A Writer

Visit Authors’ Websites-

I have found visiting websites and blogs of writers helps our students see writers as real people.  Many authors share a photo of themselves as a child and their writing journey. I also like to have a collection of books by these authors in my classroom for students to read, admire, and emulate along the way.  Here are a few of my favorite author websites.

Made with Padlet

Read Writer’s Notebooks

Just as I want to have a collection of mentor authors and their books in our classroom, I also want writer’s notebooks for students to peruse and parallel.  You might ask parents, teachers, or your media specialist to share their notebooks with your class. Or, you might even consider inviting a guest to your classroom via a Google Hangout or Skype.  We invited a local news anchor into our room.  He talked about how he uses his notebook as he investigates and writes his stories. This opened up a whole new genre to my class!

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 2.22.24 PM

Read and Visit Blogs 

I like to have a collection of mentor blogs to serve as mentor texts as I move students closer to creating a blog of their own.  Spend some time reading mentor blogs as a class. I ask students to share what they’re noticing about the blogs. After having done the work above, I often notice students’ attention is drawn to the media added to the blogs.  Later, conversations turn to topics and comments. I use the language and understanding of students to lead them to envision their blogs. What topics will you blog about? What media do you want to add to your blog? What genre will you write?  How often will you blog?

As the teacher, you will want to think about the definition of a blog; how you will use blogging to make your writers better. Blogs are casual, informal writing, written regularly by one person or a group.  How will you fit blogging into your week? Regularly written blogs develop an audience and students are motivated by authentic audiences. Audience brings a writing community where a student can find support and inspiration to write. How will you allow for the informal and casual nature of a blog?  Some teachers have a difficult time with this one. As you decide how you will handle this characteristic of a blog keep in mind, students can only be responsible for what they’ve learned. If you have a first-grader spelling elephant “lfant” we know this writer is willing to take risks in spelling and they’re phonemic spellers.  As a first-grade teacher, this is our goal for a word beyond the student developmental spelling level.

(Thanks to @Catmere for curating this information)

Made with Padlet

Setting up a class for successful blogging is more than setting up an account and adding students.  In my next post, I’ll continue sharing how I am setting students up for success in the blogging world!