Idea for my students

So I’m getting ready to start a new year in the classroom, and it occurred to me that having my students keep blogs would be advantageous on a number of fronts.  Here are the ones that I’ve hit upon so far:

  1. It gets them thinking about audience, because their writing will be accessible/available on-line.
  2. It gives me a chance to look at their writing in various stages, say a draft of an early poem or just a sketch of an idea that might later become an essay.
  3. It gives me a chance to comment on their work in a different format than simply passing back a paper with a series of scrawled notes (which they may not be too interested in reading) and a grade (which is often the first and last thing they look at when I return papers).
  4. It gives them a chance to comment on each others’ work, too.
  5. Less paper.  (Yeah, I know, but I’m still going to include it on the list.)

The one negative that keeps popping into my head is the possibility that they might not be particularly charitable with one another regarding their writing (or other things).  But clarity about my expectations might help push back against that.

Imagine being a student in the classroom – would a weekly blog post be an assignment you’d look forward to? 

Or, if any teachers are out there, how does this approach strike you?

Published in: on August 25, 2010 at 7:55 pm  Comments (7)  
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  1. […] TOMD73′s blog has a post that explores the possibility of using blog assignments as part of a […]

  2. I did something very like this with a class of about 75 college students, mostly juniors and sophomores.

    Instead of calling it a blog, I called it a website. I had all of them use the Google website app so that (1) everyone was required to follow the same steps and (2) they could very easily create access to each other without “going public.”

    With so many students, I formed the group into teams. Students would comment on the websites of those in their team. I gave very specific instructions about the kinds of comments they were to make, and explained that the quality of their comments would be a variable in their final grade evaluation.

    Building a website of 5-7 linked pages was the major course project. Students could select their own topics, with two provisos: (1) the topic had to be related to the course topic; (2) I had to approve their selection.

    Class met weekly. Each week students were given a series of steps to be completed by the next class period. These steps moved them gradually to completion of their website projects by the end of the semester.

    The course was a philosophy of religion course for non-philosophy majors, with special focus on the New Atheism.

    Many of the students produced excellent websites that they could be proud to make available to the public.

    There’s a fuller version of this comment at my website:

    • Doug,

      Thanks for the info. Yours sounds a little more involved than I think I have in mind – plus, I’m working with high school kids. But maybe the Google app is the way to go. After all, my school is moving us in that direction anyway waith e-mail and document storage.

      Best wishes with your teaching.

  3. My two cents – as a student, I would love to have a blog assignment like this. I would be able to show my creativity, share my thoughts, inspirations, writing samples. As a teacher – seems like A LOT of work (but I am not a teacher.) And you are right, sometimes kids are not very nice to each other. So, comment beware. 🙂

    • Thanks for the ‘student’ perspective – I guess I hope that a blogging opportunity will be good for the kids who are already motivated, but maybe especially for the reluctant ones who might feel like they have some freedom to express their ideas in a different format.

      And yeah, you’re right – sometimes kids aren’t very nice to each other (although I’m not sure we adults are always a whole lot better . . . )

  4. This idea should been used by more people. I would love to have blogging as a task or a homework assignment.
    If you as the teacher is able to keep track of the blogs you can also easily keep track if someone posts bad comments (or if you instruct them to not delete such comments before you’ve seen it.)
    Anyway, all blogs gets readers and by running a blog they will get more responsibility and be more likely to take that responsibility (as it’s not only schoolwork)

    • Thanks for the feedback.

      And yeah – it’s the ‘real world’ application I like here, because too often my students see writing as a transaction between their teacher (that’s me) and the student (that’s them). Not a helpful approach if they’re going to be lifelong learners.

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