Student Blogging: My Questions

I have just barely begun my adventure in student blogging. My students have created their blogs, customized them, joined the class, and created their first post.

For the first post I assigned a simple set of questions called “Where I Stand,” questions that ask students to examine their own likes/dislikes, beliefs, and positions.

I wanted to choose a relatively simple format for the first post because my main goal here is just to make sure that each student actually figures out how to make the post.

I read through several student blogs last night, and I found that my questions became clearer.  Here’s a list that I have begun:

  1. How much should I assign topics and how much should I allow them to choose? I’ve always been a proponent of student choice in writing, but I also know that when they are learning a new tool, the actual writing may have to take a back seat until students have a grasp of how to navigate the technology.

  2. How will I develop this gradual release from teacher assigned topics to more freedom?

  3. What are the best themes/colors to choose on a blog? I have already found that certain themes are difficult to read or appear less professional than I would like.

  4. How can I teach my students to create a professional image on their blogs?  Many students know how to use the internet for social and entertainment purposes, but I want them to think about crafting a more adult tone on their blogs.

  5. What should I do about commenting?  What is important to teach about commenting? Should I assign particular classmates to each student? Should I let them choose a certain number of classmates?

  6. How can I teach and model internet civility for my students? This is my biggest question, I think, probably because this is one of the most significant issues facing internet communication in our society.

If any of you have ventured into the world of student blogging, I would love to hear your perspective on any of these questions!  Or, what are your questions about student blogging?


2 responses to “Student Blogging: My Questions

  1. I know that, as a student, I would have more enthusiasm for the project the fewer requirements you gave. Also, if you want their blogs to have a more adult tone, you could give out awards to the students who get five comments on their blogs from adults. I think it’s important to give the students a goal you want them to reach but not micromanage the steps they take to get there. They have to learn on their own and use more creativity that way.

    • Thank you so much for your thoughts, Sharon. I agree with you that I need to trust them more and give them more freedom. I think I will have the talk about audience with them. I am going to send out an email to the parents, letting them know about the student blogs. Asking students to get comments from adults is a good suggestion! Thank you for really helping me get back to the idea of giving my students the freedom to explore and make their own decisions.

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