Blogging is a great way for students to express themselves. Many teachers have personal blogs which they use to communicate with students and parents. Blogging is a great way to teach your students digital storytelling.

Blogging Sites:
There are many sites which will host blogs free of charge. Some of the more common ones are blogspot, blogger, wordpress, weebly, and there are many others.
Unless you are very familiar with these applications, I would recommend that you spend the time to familiarize yourself with them before introducing them to students.

My Google Custom Search Engine on Educational Blogging

Educational Blogs:
Here are a few educational blogs for you to check out.

Abbey's Blog Abbey is 12 year old girl. Her blog will amaze you.
Mrs. Cassidy's Classroom Blog A teacher's classroom blog; this replaces and surpasses the old monthly classroom letter.
Sue Waters' Edublogger Sue Waters teaches about educational blogging and how to set up an educational blog on edublogs.org. An awesome resource!
Jan Smith's Blog on teaching blogging
Kimberly Brown's Blog a teacher from Regina uses blogging with her grade 5/6 class.
Paul Bogush's Blog a grade 8 blog by a teacher from Connecticut. He uses his blog as both a communication tool and an assignment delivery tool.

Ideas for using blogging in the English Language Arts classroom:

View authors' blogs to gain more insight into their writing
Correspond with authors via the comments section on their blogs
Correspond with other students about works being studied via comments section on multiple blogs
Use students' blogs as a vehicle for writers' workshop
Use blogging to publish writing
Write a blog post as a character in a novel/play being studied
Write a blog post as an author who is being studied
Using the peer editing model students can comment on peers' blog posts using the comments section in writers' workshop style blog posts
Students' blogs can be used as a record of their development and growth; a type of digital portfolio
Students can journal online rather than on paper

Ideas for using blogging in the Visual Arts classroom:

Use blogging as a reflective journal
Use blogging to respond to viewed works
Respond to artists' works using the comments section on their blogs
Respond to fellow students' work using the comments section on their blogs
Publish works on a blog with or without reflection
Gain inspiration from other students' blogs
Have students write a complex blog post with multiple links rather than write a report about a style of art, period of art, artist, etc. instead of a paper report

Blogging Assignment Ideas:

  • Reader response
  • Writers' workshop
  • Book or article reviews
  • Publishing student writing
  • Journaling
  • any other things you can think of!

Ways to start Blogging with students:

  • Have students practice blogging in response to something they have read in class or as a journal entry. Use either paper or MS Word before creating their own blog. This way you can edit and monitor their posts. You could continue this practise throughout the period you are using blogging or you could gradually wean students off this control.
  • Encourage students in the class to visit their classmates’ blogs and comment on their posts. You can keep a master list of class blogs or, in an effort to utilize more technology, you can start a Google Reader feed where all students’ blogs are subscribed to and students can read them all from there.

a.To create a Google Reader feed go to http://google.reader.com, create a Google Reader account with your email address and a password. You could create "dummy” address for the class or you could use your own email address and a general password and share that with the students so they can simply access one Google Reader account.

b.Once your Google Reader account is set up you can subscribe to a person’s blog while you are reading it. Usually at the bottom of the blog page there is an option to subscribe to the blog.

c.Students should be encouraged to log in to Google Reader at least once a week (or more often depending on how often you require students to post to their blogs) to read their classmates’ blogs.


Set up your edublogger account NOW using Sue Waters' tips.

How to set up a blog:


For this lesson I will use edublogs.org to set up a blog, but you can use any free blog site you wish.

1)Go to edublogs.org. On the homepage there is a “sign up here” button. Click on it.

2)Fill in the form as seen below. I would encourage students to use a pseudonym or a username that doesn’t include their last name. Also, encourage them to use a password they will remember. They must provide an email address. When you are introducing this concept to parents, ask them to provide the email address their child will use in this form. Some parents may not be comfortable with their child having an email address depending on their age. I personally would print the screen and send a copy of this form home with each child and have them fill it out with their parents and bring it back for the day the blogs are created.
edublog_1.JPG

3)Once you have created your blog you will get a screen with your blog domain (web address), blog title, language, privacy options, and a sign up button. For student blogs you may want to de-select the privacy box. Once the settings are the way you want them, click the “sign up” button.
edublog_2.JPG

4)You will be sent an email to the address you provided to confirm your information and complete your registration. Just follow the simple instructions in the email.

5)Once you have gotten this far you will need to choose a look for your blog and create your first post. Do this in your "dashboard" after activating your blog account.

6)Once your blog is looking the way you want, go to the dashboard in the tool bar and then go to settings. In this area you can set your time zone, language, and add a picture to your blog. Under settings go to “discussion” and here you can either enable or disable comments from people reading your blog. Although the initial reaction of a teacher may be to disable comments to avoid issues like cyber bullying, I encourage you to leave commenting on. If you encourage students to leave useful comments on their classmates’ blogs their experience will be more genuine. With students I would recommend that you select the option that all comments must be approved by the administrator.

Check out what Sue Waters recommends.