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Last term @pruthomas and I presented to our school about the benefits of student blogging. Since that time many of the teachers at my school have become really receptive to the idea and most of our junior classes now have their own blogs on the way.
The class and student blog that I write along with my co-teacher @pruthomas reached its 3000 visitor for this year in July, which has been exciting and satisfying for us and our students. So I have been thinking and reflecting about what it is that makes student blogging such a great experience for us all and why my fellow teachers are also becoming excited about their class blogs.

I think @suewaters really summed up my thoughts in a recent comment when she said:  blogging isn’t about publishing content — it is about sharing, communicating, connecting and challenging each others beliefs so we all learn together.’ I think that those words really sum up the whole purpose of personal and student blogging for me and are why I am convinced that whatever the reader numbers, blogging is a hugely worthwhile exercise.

Sharing: On our class blog we share our work, with a world wide audience. We have included such things as our Antarctic podcast, our art works and our reflections on learning and thinking.

Communicating: We pose questions to students and parents, we report and reflect on excursions and incursions. Occasionally we have set the students and the parents homework.

Connecting: We have connected via Skype with classes in Victoria and New Zealand, both of which we found through blogging. Our students regularly read and comment on other student blogs. When we studied Global Connections we posed questions and received answers from around the world.

Challenging: Our students are challenged to create, think, learn and respond through blogging.

I too am sharingcommunicating, connecting and challenging myself with blogging.

Sharing: I share ideas and thoughts about lessons and units which have worked for me. I share my techie brekkie ideas around the world.

Communicating: I communicate when I read and respond to my own comments. This has opened up a whole new level of thinking for me.

Connecting: I connect when I read and respond to other people’s blogs. This has allowed me to grow as a learner and a teacher in so many ways.

Challenging: I find the process of writing a coherent blog post a challenge. Trying to ‘set the tone’, to write enough but not too much and to truly reflect as I do it, is a challenge. Not to mention finding the time in my already over busy life!

I blog to grow and learn and so do my students. I share, communicate, connect and challenge myself and so do my students.Do yours?


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4 comments

  1. What a great post. I must admit I am very hooked on blogging and it is a major part of my grade two classroom. You can address so many 21st century skills through blogging and I love the relections, connections and communication that happens every day. I also love the fact that blogging is an authentic way to teach about appropriate online behaviours.
    The benefits really go on and on.

    I like that you presented to your staff on the benefits of blogging. I’ve done sessions with my staff on blogging many times but I’ve found the problem to be not starting the blog but maintaining it. Have you experienced this problem?

    Thanks for a terrific post!
    Kathleen

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  3. Excellent Post! I second everything that Kathleen mentioned in her comment as well. Having taught for over twenty years, I have never seen a project that brings together all the elements we want for our students like educational blogging.

    I have encouraged teachers to begin blogging with some success, but have encountered the same thing Kathleen mentions… starting the blog is easy, maintaining it is difficult.

    Blogging takes time, a precious commodity in the classroom. What I learned was that I needed to let go of some of my old ways of doing things. I couldn’t just ADD blogging to the mix because I didn’t have any extra time! Instead, my approach changed. I took a hard look at my favorite projects/reports or bulletin boards that I used to create in the classroom and modified them as blog projects. Some projects I just don’t do anymore. The daily language worksheets I used to do have been used less, and instead I focus the language practice on post writing and/or commenting lessons. For me, it was a shift in lesson planning and it took me a year to fully make the change. Having made the switch, it is clear to me that my students are much better writers/communicators, are much more engaged as learners, and have a global understanding that I couldn’t have given them without our classroom blog.

    Thanks, again, for the efforts you are making to promote blogging! ☺

  4. Thank you so much for your comments Kathleen and Mrs Yollis. You are so right about letting go and modifying the traditional ways of doing things in our classrooms. As I continue to look for ways to integrate blogging into my program and to assist other teachers to do the same I will bear your comments in my mind. Blogging is a 21st century skill and we must continually seek out ways to make it a useful and meaningful part of our daily routines.