Whether your students are only learning to type or aspiring journalists, there are many ways to use blogging as a classroom activity. Edublogs offers a nice folder with active class blogs. Take a look at that folder to find some good examples of how teachers use blogs in all levels of the classroom, from kindergarten to grade twelve. Some of my favorite examples are described below.
A blog activity for almost every classroom
started as a way for everyone to write and share his / her thoughts with
the world. A simple activity to promote that process among students is to
have them write short summaries at the end of the week. Depending on
You may need more or less depth in the age and ability of your students
and details in their summaries. Most importantly, students spend time thinking about what they have learned and thinking about questions.
Blogging activities for K-2
One of the best ways to blog with students of this age is to have students write a sentence or two about a photo. You could start the process by uploading a photo and then having students write a comment about what they see or what they think of the photo. One of my favorite examples of this activity came from Jennifer Lefebvre, who had her students write about their class mascot who was a stuffed animal. Her students wrote about what the mascot did and what they did with the mascot.
In the fall of 2018, I worked with a second-class class that invited parents to participate in a custom blog activity. The blog was created via Wip. Parents used the video recording feature in Wip to record themselves while reading books. These recordings were then placed on the class blog so that students could view them.
Blogging activities for 3-5
I don’t think you’ll find a better example of using blogging with students of this age group than Linda Yollis’s class blog. The blog has the slogan, “Third graders who learn and share together.” On the blog you will find many examples of students who blog, including “Family Blogging Month”. During Family Blogging Month, Mrs. Yollis invites parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts. and uncles to comment on the blog. The blog post announcing Family Blogging Month even contains a video from students about writing qualitative block responses.
At this age many students are introduced to reading news and current events. A site like DOGO News is a good place to find articles that are suitable for the age of the student. You can place links to these stories on your class blog and then have the students respond to the stories with their own comments. Depending on your students, you may need to add some discussion prompts to the articles that you post so that your students can read them.
Blogging activities for 6-8
This is a good time for students to play a greater role in communicating information about their schools. Creating a student council blog is a way to give students greater communication responsibility. Have them post daily or weekly announcements in text or video form. Have them write about the decisions that were made in the student council and how the decisions were made.
A blogging activity that I did with 11th grade students that can easily be adapted for high school students is blogging as historical characters. Students in my American history lesson wrote a series of blog posts in which they tried to use the votes of delegates to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Treaty. After writing their blog posts, they then had to respond in character to the blog posts of classmates.
Blogging activities for 9-12
By the time students reach high school, they can manage and maintain their own blogs. Students also make portfolios of their thoughts and work. You can have students create their own blogs that will serve as portfolios of their work done in your class or for the work they have done in all their classes. What is important here is that students have to write more than just “I did X.” They must write about the process and what they have learned during the process.
My current (2019-20) computer science students use Google Sites to write updates about the projects they are working on. This process forces them to stop and look at what they have done and what they still have to do. By allowing them to blog about their current projects, I also get the opportunity to see where I might have to interfere with their project processes.
When I gave a current events course for students of the eleventh and twelfth grade, I made them all editors on a group blog made with Blogger. Every week, each student was responsible for posting a news article or video of interest to them, along with their own commentary on their chosen article or video. All students were also responsible for responding to the messages from their classmates.
Another example of using high school student blogs comes from my old colleague Pam Chodosh, who used blogging as a publishing point for students in her high school journalistic class. It is clear that anyone who visits the blog can read the stories of the students. But Pam was able to give the work of her students a wider audience by linking a local newspaper to some of the stories. Those links offered students a much larger audience than any printed school newspaper could have.
This was an excerpt from a book that I have worked on forever and that I hope will publish in 2020.