For Students

Teachers have had students writing for centuries and journaling in class for decades; however, the art of writing in learning is not limited to paper nor screen. Blogging is simply a modern way for students to engage in the writing process, capture their ideas, and share their work with others.

One of the benefits of blogging in student writing is that it facilitates the dynamic and ongoing aspects of the writing process: feedback and revision. With the comments section and editing capabilities, students can obtain feedback on their work from others and use that feedback to adjust their writing. In addition to capturing ideas in writing, as students have done in journals for many years, blogs make it easy to incorporate multimedia and references to enhance the written work of students.

Some ways that students can use blogs in class include, but are not limited to:
  • Journaling
  • Regular reflections of learning
  • Digital portfolios
  • Learning logs
While there are numerous ways that students can use blogs in their learning, perhaps reflective writing (journaling) is the most obvious way for students to get started with blogging in the classroom.

Students can have a Blogger blog using a Google Account and create an entry with regular frequency for class. The blog entries could be reflections on what they learned, a commentary on a prompt or question, or a way to summarize a topic from class. Having students blog with regularity will help them to see the progression of their writing as time goes on during the year. The teacher as well as others can provide feedback on the students' writing through the comments section of a blog post, and students can edit their blogs to use that feedback to adjust writing and learning.

Blog posts can be graded regularly, ungraded, or graded infrequently. One example of scoring reflective blog posts is this scoring rubric, adapted for a science class. Keep in mind, if you have your students blog, it will generate a lot of writing; however, you don't have to read/grade every piece of writing or every blog post. You could set up a system where students sometimes read each other's blogs and provide feedback, or you read their posts. Perhaps grading them has multiple components: one for accountability (students track that they have completed all the required blog posts in a log) and another for assessment of writing (students select their best post from a subset of their blog posts to submit for evaluation.)

To make it easy and accessible for students to blog, keep the criteria simple and easy to do. Consider a length of about 500 words, which is about one printed page worth of writing. Encourage, or even require, that blog posts have hyperlinks, images, video, or other relevant content to enhance their writing. Maybe each post will have its own unique criteria, or maybe all blog posts will take on a similar format and the variable will be the topic on which they write. You might want to give students some basic questions to keep in mind if you want blogging to be a general form of reflection. Here are some examples:
  • Explain the big ideas.
  • How do the big ideas relate to each other?
  • How did I come to know and understand the ideas I learned?
  • How do new ideas compare or contrast to previous ones I learned?
  • What questions do I still have about what I learned?
  • How would I rate my understanding of all the ideas from class?
  • What do I still need to work on more?
  • What was surprising to me?
  • What do I wonder about?
  • What did I notice about what we learned?
If you have students create individual blogs, you can keep track of them with a feed reading tool, like Feedly, by entering each student's blog URL once into your Feedly account. You can even sort blogs into folders in Feedly for easy organizing. Feedly will show you which posts are new, unread, or marked for later reviewing.

Resources: why blogging and not just notebook writing?

  1. Reflective Writing
  2. Common Core Standards
  3. 21st Century Skills
  4. Practice Higher Order Writing
  5. Creating Collections of Blogs For Teacher or Student (Guide to Using Feedly)

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