In my previous post, Making the Writer Better: Getting Started with Blogging, I wrote,
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!
So, today I am sharing my process, from inquiry to independent writing, on how I set students up for success in the world blogging.
What is a blog?
I like to approach blogging as an inquiry. After spending time immersing my students in reading blogs (see link to mentor blogs in my previous post) I ask my students to define blogging. Using a Frayer Model, we consider examples, non-examples, and the characteristics of a blog.
Following our minilesson, I turn the work over to the students. Students go out into the workshop to browse and read blogs. As they are reading, I confer with individuals. Using the words and language of the chart we created, I ask students questions that will connect them to the work we did together and challenge them to think about how the writer organizes the blog and uses visuals as well as writing craft.
Time to Write!
Using what we know about best practice and scaffolding writers, our blog writing begins with shared writing. Gathered together on the carpet we discuss the message of our post. We decide what we want to say to our audience, consider who our audience might be, and what they’ll want to know. As we work to craft our first post together, we refer to our mentor blogs for support and inspiration.
When it’s time to hit the infamous PUBLISH button, we make it a big deal. A REALLY BIG DEAL complete with a drum roll and applause. With all this celebration you don’t want to leave the commenting up to chance. No blogger wants to hear crickets after working so intentionally to create a post worthy of publishing.
Here’s where we come in; reach out for comments!
- Tweet a link to the post mentioning specific followers that will inspire your students
- Email the link to parents
- Email the link to special area teachers, coaches, intervention specialist, the guidance counselor, the principal, the custodians, media specialist, and teachers the grade level below (who will love to see and follow their former students’ work)
As the comments begin to roll in, remember to share them with the students. I like to use comment reading as a shared reading. We gather together to read our comments, reflect on our message, and sometimes we reply to our comments. Responding to comments is a great way to embed teaching students how we comment on blogs.
With the support given to building an understanding of a blog, co-authoring our first post, and responding to comments, I ask my students to envision their blog. I ask them to think about the mentor blogs they’ve read.
- Will you write a branded blog or will the topic of your blog vary?
- What will you share on your blog?
- How often will you write?
- How will you choose when to use visual media?
- How will you find visual media?
All of these elements of blogging will need to be taught in our minilessons and developed in our conferences with students.
Blogging, like all genres in our workshop, must be guided through intentional teaching and allowing students the time and freedom to do the work we are asking them to do. I subscribe to the belief that writing teachers should also write to understand what it is we are asking of our students. So I want to challenge you to follow these steps alongside your students and start a blog of your own. You will be amazed at how blogging expands your professional learning community and connects you to others who are equally passionate about the work we do each day!