Last week I wrote about how students with their own blogs can be guided to create quality posts.
After I published my post, I showed my class the less ideal post example I used about dogs. It was so interesting to get their opinions on the fictional post. Seeing their “shock” at the lack of proofreading, lack of content and the use of multiple exclamation marks etc. was quite amusing! It made me realise that we have created a classroom culture where students aim for high standards.
When students in my class earn their own blog, I generally have a chat to them about the sort of posts they’d like to write about. Some students like to make blogs with a particular theme, such as cooking or sport. More often than not, students like to create blogs with a variety of post topics.
A common pattern
Without guidance or discussion, I have found that students can get into the habit of writing blog posts such as
- My family
- My pets
- My friends
- My favourite sports
- My favourite animals
- My favourite books
- My favourite foods….
The “My Favourite…” theme can go on and on!
I saw this pattern emerge many times before realising the students could be encourage to “think outside the square”.
Linda Yollis recently gave one of my new student bloggers some excellent advice, “You mentioned that you are thinking about future topics…. I also recommend just being observant. Sometimes posts come from something you notice in your backyard or on a drive somewhere. For example, I sometimes do posts about plants in my backyard or something new I noticed in my neighborhood. Hobbies are also a wonderful topic.”
I think writing about what you observe is a wonderful tip for student bloggers. Encouraging curiosity and the exploration of something new could help a student grow in so many ways.
Think about your audience
Another element that is important for student bloggers to understand is that your blog is not only about you and what you like, but about your readers too. Readers = comments = interaction = learning and growth!
Blogging is different from traditional writing or journalling; you are writing for an authentic audience.
Students need to think about whether their post topics are interesting for themselves and their readers. They also need to provide enough background information to help their reader understand the context of the post.
I recently helped a student think of some ideas for post topics. Here are some of the ideas that we came up with….
- A recipe with photos and instructions that others could follow
- A movie or book review
- A restaurant, hotel or tourist attraction review
- A poem or short story
- Instructions to do …. anything
- A discussion on what you’re learning at school
- List of some of your favourite websites with details
- A family tradition
- What makes you happy/angry/laugh….
- My dream holiday
- Make a poll where readers vote on your next post topic
It’s great for students to look to other students as role models. Just a few examples include:
Bianca – 2012 is Bianca’s third year of blogging after starting in my grade two class in 2010. She is a regular poster who has formed some strong connections with teachers, students and parents overseas.
Jarrod – this student was in my grade two class in 2011. He continues to blog in a non-blogging class and uses a wide variety of tools.
Miriam – this student established her blog when she was in Linda Yollis’ class. She continues to create regular posts that are very interesting and well written. Continuing the family tradition, Miriam’s younger sister, Sarah, also blogs.
Royce – this boy also earnt his blog while in Linda Yollis’ class. Every couple of weeks, he creates a new post with interesting information or observations.