Over my seven years of teaching; despite grade changes, district moves, building moves, and classroom moves, there is one thing that I have done consistently, blogging with students.
It is a resource that spans grade levels, abilities and curriculum. Strong writers, developing writers, everyone can access the blog and write to their best ability. It is also a resource that spans subjects. Reading, math, social studies, science; there is something to write about no matter what the subject.
Link an educational website or article in a blog post and students have the opportunity to practice reading online material. This gives me a chance to teach students how to mine an online source for information they need. After mining, they can reflect on that information through a comment on the blog. How to read online is a skill that needs to be explicitly taught to students just like teachers would with traditional books.
Blogging has also allowed me to connect with students while traveling. In fact the reason I started blogging was because it was a requirement for my first Professional Development tour to Peru. Thank goodness they made us blog! I can’t imagine teaching without it. Blogging allows me to connect with students and extend learning outside the classroom.
Students are always excited to go to the computer lab when they know blogging is involved. There are usually cries of, “What is new on the blog?” before we leave the classroom. Even better than the enthusiasm for blogging at school is the transfer to home. Every year I have a few students that like to blog from home. I love logging in to the blog and seeing comments left by students who were eager to read and leave a message from home. Now that really makes my heart sing.
There are many great options for blogging; Blogger, WordPress, Weebly, and many more, but my loyalty lies with Kidblog. Easy to use, kid friendly and at this point, filled with years of blog posts, Kidblog was my first introduction to blogging. Granted it was free when I first used it, so I was a little sad when they switched to a paid service. But the years of connections with kids kept me using it and I have never regretted that decision. There is something magical when a student you had 4 or 5 years ago leaves you a comment over the summer because they thought of you.
Do any teachers out there blog with their students too? I know of a few super blogger teachers that have really inspired me. I am always curious who else blogs with students and how they use their blog. I’d love to hear from other teacher bloggers!