As adults, we know the importance of writing for an audience. Our audience changes the tone, word choice, sentence structure, organization, presentation, and even the conventions we use.
We can see proof of this in something as simple as the texts we send that are filled with emojis! (Wouldn't it be fun to write your resume with emojis??)
Hosting a classroom blog is an ideal way to get students writing authentically. Students are writing for a world audience! Spelling, conventions, content, tone...all of it matters!
Not only that, students are learning how to be responsible members of a digital community.
I used Edublogs to create my class blog -- it's free (every teacher's magic word!), but there are other blogging platforms you can use.
You can decide the level of control you want over your blog -- who can post and make comments. You may even decide to allow your students to create their own blogs.
- connecting to students and people around the world. One year, we were blogging buddies with a class in Australia. The visitor widget on our blog let us know where our visitors were coming from -- all over the world!
- staying in touch. When a classmate moved to Mexico, we were able to stay in contact through our blog. Grandparents and parents could read about what was going on in our classroom.
- extending the writing day. Posting a "question of the week" or writing challenge kept my students writing.
- inside jokes galore! We know how middle school students love the inside joke -- the blog just kept them going!
- editing and proofreading practice!
- evidence that spelling really does matter!
- a platform for voice. Students can practice writing with voice -- a skill that we often don't have time to teach.
- know and follow your school's privacy rules! Make sure you teach internet safety to your students as well.
- the learning curve! If you are not familiar with blogging, plan on spending time playing with the blogging platform you've chosen. You can use a pre-set template, but you'll want to be able to monitor comments and add fun widgets. You don't need to be a blogging expert in order to get your blog up and running, but you'll be happier if you spend some time playing with it.
- getting students up and running. If you don't have access to student computers, tablets, or technology, it will be more challenging to help students figure out how to respond to blog posts, but you can do it!
Give a class blog a try! If you are interested in learning more, I've created a guide to running a class blog. You can find it on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.