Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blog Topic Ideas For the Classroom

Spring Break is pretty much over and now that it's coming to an end I've had some time to reflect on some things in my classroom. A few weeks ago, I received a comment from a visitor asking what I have my students blog about. I thought that I would create a post about just that. Now that I've been in school for 3/4 of the year and my students have been blogging for that length of time, I feel that I can truly discuss blogging in the classroom.

One thing that I think is very important when your students are blogging is that they still have the freedom to choose what they write about. This is still writing but just in a digital way! I tell my students that this is their virtual Reader's/Writer's Notebook. With that, I do require certain things from them on the blog because I do know that:

  1. Some students are not yet ready to produce their own topics
  2. Writing assignments for my class are required from time to time
The writers in my class treasure their blog and have truly taken ownership of it by personalizing and freely sharing, posting, and commenting on one another's blogs hoping to develop the writing connection with one another. Other students need a little more help from me in what I want to see as far as writing goes. 

Exit Tickets- A great way to give your students an idea for a blog post is have them write a post in response to what happened during class. Just like a written exit ticket it can be about anything!

Quick Writes- This is a great way to start class when students first arrive. They complete a quick write over the topic that you want them to write on for a few minutes. This can be posted on their blog and then allow each other in the class to comment on these. Commentary is such a great tool for each student to see that their words are powerful!

Create a weekly blogging schedule- I have a weekly blogging schedule for my students to use if they wish. Every day of the week has a different theme like "Text Talk Tuesday." The way this works is if a student is blogging on a Tuesday and they need something as a topic they can use Text Talk Tuesday. Text Talk Tuesday (for my Language Arts class) just means that their blog post focuses on a piece of text where they thought it was meaningful/insightful/powerful, etc. and they quote it and then respond to it. This is a way for me to bring in reader's responses without calling it a reader's response. 

Book Reviews- If you teach a Language Arts class this is a great way to get the conversation about books going! Students love to talk about the books they've read (good or bad!). Just make sure you've gone over book reviews first. You may even keep a template for how to write a book review as a resource for them to follow on the blog.

Embed Web Tools- Sometimes I use web tools like Padlet to start discussions in my class and then my students are able to interact with it. I've also had my students use Smore recently and embed the Smore directly into their blog. Students learn how to embed basic HTML code this way. It really opens up what they're able to do and share. 

Keep in mind- if you can write it on paper, you can probably find a way to share it on your blog.

For more ideas check out my class blog here! Have a great week everyone!!

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