“Research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills, and promotes meaningful learning experiences” (Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Washington). Student blogging is one of my favorite ways to engage students in the learning process. I have seen firsthand how having a class blog has increased focus, motivated students, and promoted meaningful learning experiences.
Student blogging provides students with an opportunity to:
- Connect to the writing process in an authentic way
- Expand their voice to to a global audience
- Share what they want to share
- Provide comments and receive feedback about their writing, their thinking, and their perspective
Blogging can be successfully implemented in any grade level. In thinking about how to implement blogging and a the focus for the blog, teachers must decide if they want students learning to write and/or writing to learn. I personally see blogging making the most sense in primary grades as a tool to focus on the craft of writing (learning to write). In upper grades, I would shift my focus more to writing to learn.
There are numerous sites that host blogs. As a fifth grade teacher, I chose KidBlog because of its simplicity, versatility, and safety features (settings allowed me the ability to approve posts/comments before they appeared on the blog). Kidblog explains “How Teachers & Students Are Using KidBlog”:
- Creative Writing
- Book Club
- Math Problem-solving
- Science Notebooks
- Global Pen Pals
- Digital Portfolio (http://kidblog.org/home/#why-kidblog)
January’s Innovation at Doniphan flyer highlights how fourth graders at Alexander Doniphan Elementary are currently using their class blogs. It includes quotes about what students like about blogging. Check out what they have to say …and consider all the possibilities of how blogging can excite and empower learners through engagement and an authentic audience.