I’ve tried blogging with my students for what seems like an eternity. Each year I try it, and each year it seems to fail miserably. I couldn’t really figure out why until I read Katharine Hale’s post on branding student writing.
This post was a game changer for me. My students are so passionate about different things. Branding their blogs around their passions made perfect sense.
Here’s a quick break down of how we got things off and running:
Day 1: I gave students some time to explore some branded blogs, and I showed them the video below.
Day 2: We brainstormed ideas for what our blog’s brand could be.
Day 3: Students chose their brand, and created a list of possible blog post topics.
Day 4: Students wrote a post introducing their blog to the world. This is where kids learned the nuts and bolts of Kid Blog.
Days 5-6: We looked at how you can share stories in a blog post.
Day 7: We learned about commenting on blogs.
Days 8-9: We looked at how you can share lists in a blog post.
Days 10-11: This is where we are now. We’re currently looking at how interviews can be a part of a blog post.
The outline of our unit didn’t take place over 11 days. Some days my lesson was centered on blogging, and other days we were working on other things.We are constantly going back and adding possible blog posts to that original list we made day 2. Right now I’m trying to help them see as many different types of posts as I can, so that blogging is something that pops into their head throughout the course of their day. If a kid is going to baseball practice, I want them to think about interviewing their coach. When a kid has a karate demo, my hope is that they consider sharing that story.
The biggest reason that I feel like I am FINALLY having success with student blogging is because students truly have time and choice. Their blogs are branded based on their passions, and I am giving them time throughout our day to work on getting their writing to their audience. Many parents are on board which helps tremendously. Kids are blogging at home, and parents are leaving comments.
We have a lot to work on, and our blogs are in no way perfect. Some kids seem to be moving at warp-speed while others are plotting along like a tortoise. The thing that makes me the happiest is how passionate my writers are when they are working on their blogs. Passion leads to greatness.
If you’d like to check out their blogs just click on the image below. If you do get a chance to stop by, be sure to leave a comment or two. You will make their day.