Monday, September 24, 2012

Student Blogging 2.0 #EdChat

One of the new things I have brought to my class this year is Student Blogging. Now, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you are thinking that blogging is nothin new to my classroom. Well, I'm having students do something a little bit different this year.

Last year, I had students respond to curriculum related questions on their blog and use it as an e-portfolio for their essays. While it worked well, I felt like there were better alternatives. I now use Evernote for e-portfolios and have decided to use the blogs as a personal space for my students.

My students have plenty of practice with writing formal essays and ACT prep, that I really felt they needed a place to express their creativity. Too often, kids are told they are not good writers and that ruins their drive to write anything. My hope is to foster their writing by giving them a space to respond to visual prompts however they want. So far, the kids have been awesome.

Their first task was to write an email to 1 million people. Thy could write about anything they wanted. For some of my honors students, they had trouble because they are not used to having an open ended assignment, but they were able to pull through. There next post will be on "hacking" any part of school. I always give at least two weeks to complete a blog post and I make sure the topic has nothing to do with the content being covered in class. I'm finding my visual prompts here.

The last part of my new student blogging adventure is very important when it comes to student buy in. I needed my kids to view blogging as an important task. To do that, I promised my students I would write every single blog post I asked them to write on my own teacher blog. I told them I would never give them "busy work" because I'm too busy to do it myself. The kids were shocked at this promise and were ready to get to work. My blog post, always completed before I assign it to the students, also provides solid modeling for my students who are not sure where to start.

Long term, I look to connect my students with others to share writing and ideas. I hope students will become more comfortable and post video and personal art. Some are interested, but it will take some time to get there. I'm excited at the work I've seen so far on their Blogger blogs and can't wait to read some more.


Every student created a Blogger blog using their school Google Accounts.
I add every student blog to my Google Reader and place them in class marked folders.
I read and comment on every blog post a student writes.
Students have two weeks to comets each new post.
Students are allowed to respond in any way they want. That could be through video, pictures, song or any other way they want.
Students are encouraged to "own" their blogging space by personalizing their site.
Parents were told about the blog at Back to School Night .


  1. Thanks for this great post. I will introduce my students to blogging this year ( we will use posterous and take turns blogging) and I am very impressed with the scope of your blogging assignments. I will borrow some of your ideas about open-ended prompts (I teach history so those are easy to come by!) to get students to express their creativity. It seems to me that blogging is a great opportunity to practice writing skills while also enabling students to think "outside the box." This is not only useful in English classes, but in history as well.

    Pontus Hiort

  2. I'd love to do something like this. As a maths teacher, I know that my students' first reaction would be: what's maths got to do with blogging? But I'm sure it would be useful.


  3. Hi Nick,

    Longtime follower, first time commenter. I just started doing this with my students this year. I have two different preps doing it - one American Lit Honors, one World Lit. I am also using some visual writing prompts, as well as some that I create on my own. If you would be interested in exchanging information to have each other's classes comment on posts, let me know.

    I tried mine a little differently where the students are authors/contributors to a classroom blog instead of them creating their own blog.

    I was wondering how you "collect and grade" assignments. I am having students post the URL to their specific post in our LMS, but sometimes this is tedious, and too many clicks.

  4. @ Unknown

    I use Google Reader to track my students' posts. I have a due date and I just check my reader to see if they have posted. From there, I can read their work and leave comments. Reader allows me to organize blogs I'm following so I place blogs into folders by class. It makes checking them much easier.

  5. Thanks for this post, Nick. I love how practical and straightforward it is.

    Planning on sharing it all over the universe.



    Rock on,

  6. nice & impressive article you have posted..Your post have the information that is helpful for me as I am a new blogger.I would like you to keep up the good work..Thanks and keep up the good work.

    Online Diploma

  7. Great idea. Will create a blog post about it to share with teachers in my graduate education course. Naturally will link them to this post. Thanks.

  8. Thank u for the post; perfect timing since we've begun our own google app experiment/experience with our students. As a team, we decided to start slow with a class blog and invite students to 'guest blog' our learning this year. We plan to invite them to create a group blog down the road. Love your story and practical guides in the logistic section; will share with my grade partners and perhaps, like Bill mentioned, we ail #dreambigger and do more this year with our blogging~ =)


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