Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Learning About Blogging!

We are getting ready to start our blogs at Kidblogs this week. These blogs will be closed to our classroom as students learn the power of blogging and connecting with others through writing.  This week, we'll spend much of our writing workshop time learning about blogging.

Learning to Study
One of my goals for the first six weeks of school is learning the power of study and mentor texts as writers. During these first six weeks, I want my students to learn to live their lives as writers, noticing all they can. And I also want them to begin to learn the power of mentors.  Studying quality texts and thinking "I'd like to do that in my writing." will be important throughout the year.  Our conversations this week will build on the bits we've already talked about in the area of study and mentor texts.

At the beginning of the week, we'll take a look at some blogs. We'll talk about the following questions:

What is a blog?
What is a blog post?
What is possible in a blog posts?
What makes an effective blog post?
How is this blogger unique?
What is the focus of this person's blog?
What can we learn from this blogger?

We'll take a look at a variety of blogs and blog posts written by kid bloggers. Some blogs we'll look at will be:
Behind the Scenes of the Cooperstown Bat Factory
DIY Locker Door
5 Interesting Facts about Electric Eels
Sunny Days
Baseball with Matt Blog
Tissue Flower Kit
This Kid Reviews Books
Lil Dog Whisperer

(I've found some of these on Blogs By Kids, which is a great resource for teachers looking for blog posts by kids.)

Paper Blogging
After some study, we'll do some practice.  I didn't buy into practice until I read Lee Kolbert's post on Paper Blogging and Learning to Comment a few years ago. I've followed her thinking for the past few years and it's led to some great blogging. We'll take a few days creating paper blog posts and we'll comment on each with sticky notes. This will take a few days but I've found that after this, kids are ready to blog and anxious to share their writing in a digital space!

Learning to Comment
Before we comment on the paper blogs, we'll watch this video by Mrs. Yolis's 3rd grade class. I have used it for a few years and it is a great conversation starter about good commenting.

Of course, we'll continue to build on this initial conversation but I know that commenting is as important as posting so I want kids to see what's possible in a comment. This video is part of a blog post on Mrs. Yolis's Classroom Blog: How to Compose a Quality Comment.

Moving Forward
We'll continue to study mentor blogs throughout the year as an integrated part of our writing. We'll look at classroom blogs as we work together to tell our classroom story.  We'll look at blog series such as Celebrate This Week, Poetry Friday,  and It's Monday! What Are You Reading?. These will serve as invitations for students who want to focus on their blog writing more seriously.  (I'll show them two series that past students have created--Ben's Book Reviews and Time to Interview.  We'll talk about Blog challenges and blog plans. I might eventually share this blog schedule to start the conversation about the importance of planning as a writer.

I'm anxious to see where this group of students goes with blogging. I am always amazed and surprised by all that kids find to do in the digital world as writers and this first step is always an exciting one.

This post was cross posted to Click Here Next.


  1. Thanks for these great ideas! I'll be using them to introduce my fifth graders to blogging soon!

  2. Thanks for a great post. I'm sure I will returning here many times as I implement this year. Happy new school year!

  3. Many, many thanks for sharing these resources, Franki! It really helps for the kids to see what is possible.

  4. It's an interesting way to start blogging! Post-Its! Great idea.

  5. Good luck with blogging. My students love it. They blog at http://kidblog.org/sliceoflifechallenge. I originally started the space for the March SOLC, but they love it so much, we've kept it open and active. They are doing 3 posts a week, Slice of Life, Poetry Friday, and It's Monday. So far, so good. We have been having discussions about good comments. I shared comments that I had gotten on my blog that really touched me. How when a connection is made, the writer feels more confident. Let me know if your students post publicly and we can connect. I only have one 3rd grader this year. (I teach all elementary grades in gifted.) She would love to know other 3rd grade bloggers.

  6. I am excited to try out your resources. I am trying to convince our admin team that blogs need to be opened beyond our school community, so sort of on hold for the moment.

  7. This sounds so exciting. When I read good ideas like this it makes me miss classroom teaching so much. I would be trying this with my writers....sigh.... ;-)

  8. Thank you so much! I saw my blog post on this list an got so excited! Thank you, thank you. This is going on my blog.


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