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K-5 Instructional Technology Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

[quote]I like the idea of

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[quote]I like the idea of blogging to get hesitant students to "speak." I think that having a question posted on a blog would be more motivating than having the students answer a question using pencil and paper. The only worry I have is that some of my students are not capable of writing coherent sentences independently. I worry that they might experience some ridicule as a result.[/quote]
I think they key here is that blogging doesn't mean that you give up on the writing process that you'll assist your students with. There's going to be editing and revision as a part of the process, and that's going to include your help. You can review all student posts before they go public to help them put their best work forward.

Alternately, you could look at video or audio blogs as a way for students to share their ideas. Don't limit yourself to the typed word.

High school English teacher at Biotechnology High School in Freehold, NJ

I use kidblog with my

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I use kidblog with my freshmen (my juniors blog publicly), and I've never once had an issue with kids teaching each other for their writing. If anything, I find them super encouraging! And for the kids who do struggle the most, having a real audience motivates them to push their skills even more. Like Kevin said, you can start smaller and more privately- I make sure that I read and give specific feedback for posts before they start blogging for real. This helps set expectations and guide students to improve their skills.

High school English teacher at Biotechnology High School in Freehold, NJ

Yes, absolutely! I may not

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Yes, absolutely! I may not have addressed it specifically here, but I definitely believe that the #1 reason their posts are so good is that they have quite a bit of choice in what they write about. Last year I gave them different types of posts, and they had to do a variety, but this year I backed off and pretty much gave them free reign. It's going really well for year two.

I also think that the less formal style of a blog is freeing for many students; when they learn that they don't have to adhere to a formula or formal tone, they take lots more risks and experiment to find their own style. For my students, that can sometimes take a while, as they are extremely grade driven. It takes them a while to figure out that I pretty much just give them full credit for their blog as long as they take it seriously and follow the basic instructions regarding logistics. But once they realize that their grade doesn't hang in the balance, they start getting bolder. It's so fun to watch!

Here are two of my favorites:
http://humansofbiotech.tumblr.com/
http://14strangers.wordpress.com/

I love seeing them use the assignment to come up with meaningful projects that enable them to find out who they are!

I hadn't thought about the connection to PARCC readiness...good point! Thanks for your thoughts. :)

K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey

[quote]The only worry I have

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[quote]The only worry I have is that some of my students are not capable of writing coherent sentences independently. I worry that they might experience some ridicule as a result.[/quote]

Set up a private blog that only you and your students see. Most decent blogging systems like Wordpress allow you to see everything before it's posted. Work with your kids to develop their online writing skills, coaching them, and finally encouraging them to comment on things publicly. They'll love the attention and the chance to shine for all the world to see!

K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey

Blogging, done well, has the

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Blogging, done well, has the potential to do three things:

1) Get students to write for pleasure
2) Prepare them for PARCC's online writing component
3) Improve keyboarding skills

Blogs are so easy to set up (I administer the WordPress blogging server at our school) and so easy to use (the gentle learning curve starts with teaching them how to comment) that teachers everywhere should be considering them even more than they have in the past.

This article does a fine job explaining the curricular connections and potential classroom/standards impact but it does not really explore the awesome power of helping students find their online voice. Many are already doing so in other places online. Why not as part of school, too?

Here, as I type this, I am writing and rewriting, reviewing the passage for ideas, entering text into a teeny little box with minimal (no!) formatting capability - exactly as you do on a blog, and exactly as they will on the PARCC test. See the connection?

All of this makes no sense however if it's "just another homework assignment" - kids have to be intrinsically motivated - and have permission to write about things they love. How else can you write for pleasure?

If we can pull that off, I'm convinced we'd see a corresponding increase in online writing ability, keyboarding skill, and PARCC test readiness.

Just my $0.02!

-kj-

The idea of blogging is

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The idea of blogging is intriguing. I like the idea very much. It seems like it's an easy way to share ideas and get student feedback without the stress of feeling like I have to grade it for spelling etc. I think it's a good idea to allow the kids to post without worrying about "doing it wrong." Thanks for sharing your ideas!

I like the idea of blogging

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I like the idea of blogging to get hesitant students to "speak." I think that having a question posted on a blog would be more motivating than having the students answer a question using pencil and paper. The only worry I have is that some of my students are not capable of writing coherent sentences independently. I worry that they might experience some ridicule as a result.

Great Post...

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Great Post...

Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I'm so excited about this! I

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I'm so excited about this! I love blogging, and it is a great way to help students exercise their writing muscles in a more informal way, more frequently. With publication on the web, they can learn about everything from audience to digital citizenship.
Part of the problem my own kids seem to struggle with, with writing, is so much is proscribed, it gives them little freedom to really find their voice- instead, they are writing predictable, run of the mill essays that have to be as boring to read as they are to write. Loosening up the boundaries give kids a better chance at expression, and learning to like, if not love, writing.

High school English teacher at Biotechnology High School in Freehold, NJ

Agreed! Blogging definitely

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Agreed! Blogging definitely helps to meet students in the middle and help them thrive in their comfort zone. I also love that the skills transfer to their more formal and academic assignments, and over time, they become more comfortable with writing in general. I try to be sure to have a good balance between blogging and academic writing so they have a good variety and learn to write in a variety of contexts.

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