Just as there are wonderful library blogs, there are also some fantastic classroom blogs written by passionate teachers. Blogs are a great way for teachers to reflect on their teaching practices and share what they are doing in their classroom. Blogs can spark great conversation between educators and create a network of colleagues. Maintaining your own classroom blog is also an effective way to model digital etiquette and how to maintain a positive digital footprint. They can also be incorporated into your lesson plans and involve your students. Requiring students to post on your blog makes it “nice to have class discussions and assignments saved in a central location so that students can return to the blog when exams or final papers loom” (Windham 4). Blogs can also serve as a place for students to connect with each other and express their ideas and opinions. A benefit of this is that students “are less likely to engage in risky behaviors online because they see social media spaces as forums for learning first and entertainment second” (Ferriter). Below are some of my favorite classroom blogs.
I really love Katherine Sokolowski’s elementary blog “Read, Write, Reflect.” Katherine uses her blog to share and reflect on what she is doing in her fifth grade classroom. Her blog is full of optimism and positivity; she posts a “Celebration” post weekly in which she talks about the accomplishments of her students. In last week’s Celebration post, she discusses the end of the school year and how much she will miss her students. She even included a video of her students showing how many books each of them read over the course of the school year. She also reflects on educational articles and speakers. In her “Boys and Reading” post, she discusses the struggle to make boys want to read. She shares multiple ways that she encourages her sons and her male students to read.
If you are looking for some inventive, problem-based projects to incorporate into your classroom, I suggest you read Bianca Hewes’ high school blog. In this post, Bianca explains how she uses popular music to teach poetry. She uses music as a hook to spark interest and to make the students begin to examine verses. In this post, she talks about how she introduced her students to blogging. She first discussed the purpose of blogs and proper etiquette when commenting. Then, the students created a blog on paper, posted the blogs around the classroom, and commented on each other’s post. This is a great first lesson before actually creating blogs online.
Kevin Hodgson’s middle school blog “Kevin’s Meandering Mind” is a collections of his thoughts and ideas about teaching. He regularly shares what he is teaching as well as emerging technologies. Just yesterday, he posted about a site called Fold That Story . On the website, students write a creative story one piece at a time without being about to see how the story began. He shared some impressive examples and inspired me to try it in my own classroom. He also wrote a post about an app called Rosie Comic Maker. He shared some of the comics he created using the app and they look great! My mind is spinning thinking of all the ways I can incorporate this into my classroom.
Ferriter, William M. “Digitally Speaking/Positive Digital Footprints.” Educational Leadership 68.7 (2011): 92-93. ASCD. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Web. 29 May 2014.
Windham, Carie. “Reflecting, Writing, and Responding: Reasons Students Blog.” EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Discovery Tool: Guide to Blogging (2007): 1-10. Print.