Teaching Your Students to Blog

At our “Growing Digitally” Mini-Conference next week, I’ll be facilitating two sessions entitled Growing Writers by Growing their Audience: Online Writing and Publishing Opportunities for Elementary Writers. In an effort to model my own blogging (which is most definitely a work in progress), I am using this space as a way to share and gather resources dedicated to teaching students to blog.

Our district has a strong focus on literacy and our students are immersed in both learning to write and writing to learn each day. But student blogging is new to most of our teachers. In a way, this makes me happy. We can start at the beginning and develop good habits together. Even though I see the value of blogging for students, I’m definitely not an expert on how to make it happen. Fortunately, I know people who are. Using the connections I’ve made on Twitter and at conferences such as PETE&C and BLC14, I have found some great resources about getting students started as bloggers.

Stepping it Up – Learning About Blogs for Your Students is a fantastic series of posts by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, who I had the privilege of meeting this summer at BLC14. Silvia is passionate about helping students make global connections and believes that blogging is one way to develop those connections. This series of blog posts walks teachers through the important steps necessary to cultivate the skills and understandings students need as they learn to write quality blog posts and comments. I highly recommend it to any teacher thinking about blogging with his/her students.

I’d been familiar with Silvia’s Langwitches blog for quite a while, but as I prepared for this session I discovered another guru of student blogging. Linda Yollis is a 3rd grade teacher from California who started blogging with her students in 2008. Since then she has created the Educational-Blogging wiki, a fabulous resource for teachers who are interested in student blogging. The wiki includes Linda’s thoughts on why to have a class blog and how to write a quality comment, among others. It also includes quite a few videos, some featuring students describing their experiences with blogging, while others are tutorials. If you are an elementary teacher interested in blogging with your students, Linda Yollis’s wiki is a must-visit site.

Lyn Hilt, who is just down the turnpike in Eastern Lancaster County School District, has put together an amazing resource page for her teachers who are starting out with student blogging. I attended a session Lyn facilitated at PETE&C in February and have followed her on Twitter since. Lyn’s blogging page includes links to the resources I’ve mentioned above as well as new ones I hadn’t yet found. I’ll be exploring those as soon as I finish writing this.

If you are interested in student blogging, I highly recommend you take some time to investigate the work of Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, Linda Yollis, and Lyn Hilt and I thank these three amazing teachers for sharing their expertise with the rest of us. As I scroll through my Twitter feed, I know there are so many more who are passionate about student blogging. Help me show our teachers the power of an authentic, connected audience. Who do you turn to for information or inspiration about student blogging?




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