I’ve written many posts about my journey with my students and blogging. Most recently I gave students a survey about their thoughts and ideas on this topic. This year my students have made huge progress in their ability to think and write about books. The amount of writing they do is far more than they would have ever done in a notebook and we’ve been able to build an online presence for our classroom community. We’ve opened our blogs to the outside world and had comments from authors, other students, and teachers. The fifth graders have even started supporting their first grade friends efforts by reading and commenting on their blogs.
One of the things that I did towards the beginning was to try and give students a structure. Their initial blog posts were short and very casual. Then they began writing “book reviews.” Next, they started exploring how to include their thinking about the book. (This is where some students still reside.) Now, several students are starting to experiment with voice and point of view. While I’m glad I gave them the structure to help them learn to not just summarize and start to really have a conversation I think they and I are ready for more.
The truth is the structure feels “schoolified.” I want students to feel like they can experiment and explore, discover their voice, and use their blog as a place to connect with the world. My next steps are to find some great mentor posts for them to study and use as a way to regain some of their creativity! If you have one please leave it in the comments below.