Monday, February 23, 2015

Making Writing Matter with KidBlog

So here's the thing: You aren't going to hit it out of the park every time.  This is one lesson I have learned from blogging.  My first blogs are always amazing and funny and interesting and memorable.  And then... they aren't.

This is just one reason kids should blog.  In the land of As and 100s and passing scores and just-good-enoughs, blogging is a great place where kids can shine and learn that is OK not to shine every time.


Blogging is a great place to model and practice risk and failure.  And reflection. I could write for days about how great blogging is for kids, but let me just list a few reasons:

1. Taking Risks: it's scary to put yourself and your thoughts out there.  My husband guest blogged for me and was so nervous because he "never put anything on the internet before."

2. Writer's Workshop: blog posts aren't stagnant.  They can be updates, edited and republished.  Because of this, blogging is a great support for Writer's Workshop.  Students have a bank of stories and writing pieces they have started (because no writing is every finished) and not matter the mini-lesson can retrieve, edit, revise and renew any piece of writing.

3. Blogging=Audience=Motivation+Authenticity: There is that school of thought that if students are doing something for a teacher, they want it to be good enough, but if they are doing it for an audience, they want it to be good. I was using KidBlog.org to blog with students and when it was time to write, the room went silent.  The teacher was amazed, "They are really into this!"  When kids know someone is going to read and care about their words, it gives a whole new purpose to writing.

4. Commenting: commenting is hard.  Whether you are taking an online class or commenting on a blog, finding what to say can be stressful.  Blogging allows students to practice this. How many of you have blogged and are bummed because no one comments on your blog?  Trust me; it's not because we don't want to.  It's because we are not sure how to do it without agreeing numbly or hurting feelings.  Teaching kids to politely, respectfully and meaningfully disagree is powerful and useful!


This brings me to KidBlog.org.  A wonderful platform for blogging.  I use it with elementary students and high school students.  It is easy to use and safe. Here's a quick How-To by Adam Bellow:



It can be as simple as publishing a post or as complex as using HTML to embed media.  When your kids write, for whom are they writing?  Who else might care about what they have to say?  Kids say amazing things.  They deserve to be heard and deserve authenticity is their writing.  We would expect the same, wouldn't we?

Resources:

Fighting Writing: Getting Started with KidBlog
Blogging? It's Elementary, My Dear Watson!
Student How-To
One More How-To
5 Reasons Your Students Should Blog
Why Students Should Blog

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