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What Comes First, the Writing or the Blogging?

Posted by on in Literacy
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The Problem

In a previous district, I got my hand slapped for encouraging third graders to blog (using Kidblog, which was free at the time). The given rationale behind the hand slapping was something to the effect of, “These kids have trouble writing, and you want them to blog?!?”

So, what comes first, the writing or the blogging?...In other words, should students have to master the basics before they are allowed to blog? Or, can they learn to write through blogging?

The Solution

In my mind, the answer, which is the latter, is quite clear…

Withholding blogging from students who are learning or struggling to write is equivalent to saying, “It is a privilege to be taught in an exciting, authentic way.”

Seriously. Anyone can blog, including my adorable 3-year-old nephew, Nolan. It’s all a matter of how much adult assistance is needed, and the process may look different from one classroom/grade level to the next. Think gradual release…For example, primary level students can work with their teacher to create a whole class blog, which is commented on by a classroom from across the district doing the same. Then, as students get older (around second or third grade), they can start to create their own individual blogs, which would obviously come with an increase in expectations and possible frequency of use. (Another potential shift can be made to utilizing your blogging platform – WordPress, Blogger, Kidblog, Seesaw, etc. – for student portfolios.)

Also, while I am normally not a fan of using technology just for the sake of student engagement, it is important to note that blogging offers students a whole lot more than being able to capture their attention. Out of the countless advantages, here are a select handful:

  • Students learn from one another by reading and commenting on each other’s posts.
  • They can access and work on blogs from wherever/whenever.
  • They can leverage the same platforms used by professional writers.
  • Students sharing/promoting their work is a natural extension of blogging, which is a vital skill in and of itself. 
  • As I asked in a previous post, “Why write for your teacher when you can publish for the world?”
  • Bottom line…Most of us are more highly motivated when our work is made public.

In the End

There is a teacher somewhere who is teaching the same grade level as you, with “lower” kids, and student blogging has been made a reality in her classroom.

So, let’s go from, “The kids I have couldn’t blog!” to, “I know my students would love this! How can I make it work?”

What is the role of blogging in your classroom? How can we make blogging work for students who are learning or struggling to write?

Connect with Ross on his blog and on Twitter.

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I am the coauthor of Hacking Project Based Learning, and the Supervisor of Instructional Practice K-12 in the Salisbury Township School District (1:1 MacBook/iPad) in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I am an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Innovator. My passions are inquiry-based learning and quality professional development. I blog about these topics at rosscoops31.com. I regularly speak, present, and conduct workshops related to my writings and professional experiences.

When I am not working, I enjoy eating steak and pizza, exercising, reading books, playing on my computer, and provoking my three beautiful nephews. Please feel free to connect via email, RossCoops31@gmail.com, and Twitter, @RossCoops31.

  • Jon Harper /  @Jonharper70bd
    Jon Harper / @Jonharper70bd Sunday, 24 January 2016

    Sing it Ross! How dare someone deny kids this right and privilege. They are probably the same folks who wouldn't dare post something themselves for fear of ridicule or making a mistake. We want to create fearless writers. It reminds of the quote that goes something like, "If only the best birds sang, the forest would be a quiet place."

  • Guest
    Ross Cooper Monday, 25 January 2016

    Thanks, Jon! Yes, as you imply, I do think it is important for educators to model risk-taking for our students...I hope all is well!

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