As I reflect on my students’ progress in the area of writing, I cannot ignore the positive impact blogging has had with my students.
- Motivation: Students write because they have an authentic audience. The Global Read Aloud enabled us to make connections easily with classrooms around the world. Students receive comments from other students. (Which they value way more than teacher comments). We have continued many of these connections throughout the year. Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension has a vast resource on student blogging by Pernille Ripp, founder of the Global Read Aloud.
- Knowing Your Audience If I had to pick the biggest change in my students’ writing ability, it is writing FOR an audience. When I read my students’ writing, it sounds like they are talking to me, actually having a conversation with me. As a reader, I am genuinely engaged and enjoy the voice that leaps from the paper. Parents have commented on this as well.
- Practice We all know, readers become better readers by reading and writers become better writers by writing. Students actually enjoy writing for a real audience and tend to write more even on their free time.
Things to Let Go When Blogging with Students
- Perfection Students will post writing that is not perfect. If you pick apart their writing, they will stop. Allow for mistakes, but teach them how to use spell check and peer edit. Approve posts even when they are not perfect. The struggling writer will actually write way more than you imagined if you live by this! Trust me.
- Fear If you have thought about starting student blogging, but are afraid, just do it! Kidblog.org is a great classroom blogging site that allows the teacher to filter everything before it is posted, even comments from around the world. It is free and user friendly.
This is just the tip of the iceberg about the benefits of student blogging. If anything, give it a shot! If you have any other benefits you have noticed in your class on blogging, please share.