Adaptive Learning, Teaching, Technology

Give Students a Voice Through Blogging

Writing is one of the key skills that students, particularly those in high school, need to put effort into developing. Rather than assigning boring reports or essays, one of the best ways to help students write is to give them a chance to write about the things they are genuinely interested in. As students head back into the classroom this fall, launch a student blogging project to get them writing about some of their awesome summer experiences.

How to Launch a Student Blogging Assignment

  1. Decide on a format, particularly whether you’ll have a class blog with multiple authors or have each student create his own blog. A class blog is ideal if you don’t plan to have all the students write regularly. Instead, you can cycle through students and have each one write about once per month. On the other hand, letting students create individual blogs gives them more ownership and encourages them to write more frequently.
  2. Create guidelines for what type of content students should write about. One idea is to have them write mostly in response to class-related material. Another is to write about their activities outside of school. This might include hobbies, high school community service experiences, sports or other activities. The benefit of giving them more freedom is that they’re more likely to be engaged in what they write.
  3. Let students know your expectations on the quality of writing. In particular, remind them to proofread their blogs, run spell check and avoid using chat abbreviations. This will help them hone their writing skills as they blog. In addition, let them know if they need to submit posts to you before they are allowed to publish them online.
  4. Encourage students to read one another’s blog posts and comment on things they are interested in. Set guidelines on what types of comments are acceptable to ensure the comments remain positive, civil, and substantial.

Benefits of Student Blogging

Keep the benefits of blogging in mind as you design your assignment and touch base with students throughout the project:

  • Students get to share their ideas in a way they can be proud of. Blogging is great for this because the posts are read not only by classmates, but also by anyone else who stumbles upon them online.
  • Blogging promotes the development of good writing skills, so helping students take ownership of the project can help them write well.
  • Blogging provides students with an outlet for things they may not get to share in the classroom, so giving looser guidelines on topics can bring about more interesting blog posts.

Launching a blog assignment to start the school year is a great way to channel some of the residual excitement students have about their summer activities and turn that into an educational lesson. Students love sharing their ideas and experiences, and blogging lets them learn about and practice writing as well. Students may even continue blogging after the assignment is done, which is proof of a job well done on the instructor’s part.

Zach Buckley is a freelance writer based in the Midwest.  Having graduated from high school in the year 2000, he belongs to the millennial generation.  Zach holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science and a master’s degree in communication.  He enjoys exploring developing trends in education, technology and culture.  When he isn’t reading or writing blogs, he enjoys sampling good music and good food. Follow him on Twitter! @Zach_buckley

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