This article is cross posted on ABC Splash website.
2013 is the sixth year that I have used educational blogging in my classroom. When I first began my program, I just tried to squeeze blogging into my already busy curriculum. This might have been a few minutes during transition times or while the students ate their lunches.
I soon realised this was not the best way to unleash the full benefits of blogging. The lack of momentum led to low student interest and lack of opportunities for explicit teaching and learning.
To realise the many educational benefits of blogging and ensure your program has an extended life-span, blogging needs to be prioritised and planned for. It should to be integrated into the curriculum; busy classrooms rarely have time for “add ons”.
When I first began blogging I had a computer ratio of 1:6 in my classroom. Over time, my students have gained access to more devices and this year we implemented a 1:1 netbook program.
Depending on the resources available and our current learning focus, I have used whole class, small group and rotation structures to make blogging work in my classroom.
Blogging is all about literacy
The concept of literacy education has changed as technology has evolved. It is no longer enough to teach students how to read books and write on paper. This won’t adequately prepare them for their 21st century lives.
Our students need to become transliterate and develop the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media, both traditional and digital.
Blogging is an authentic way to teach both traditional reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as multi-modal 21st century skills.
My approach involves spending 10 – 20 minutes of my daily literacy block on whole class blogging. This is a chance to read our latest posts and comments, and take a look at what our blogging buddies are learning.
Our discussions are directed depending on our current reading or writing focus. Through blogging, we have been able to introduce or reinforce a wide range of literacy conventions in an authentic, ongoing context.
Build blogging into literacy rotations
Like many primary classrooms, reading rotations are part of our literacy block. Every week, one of the activities students complete is blogging on their computers.
Their task is to read a certain post on our class blog, a student blog or one of our blogging buddies’ blogs. Students then need to respond with a quality comment, practising their literacy goal.
Create digital portfolios
This year I have been using student blogs as digital portfolios. This approach doesn’t need to be an “add on”. It can replace other more traditional methods of reflective writing, journalling or completing work in exercise books.
In her book Radical Reflections, well known children’s author, Mem Fox, states
We’re currently wasting a lot of time by giving unreal writing tasks in our classrooms….You and I don’t engage in meaningless writing exercises in real life—we’re far too busy doing the real thing.
If we want our students to be motivated to use their emerging writing skills, we have to make writing purposeful, challenging, and real-to-life. Blogging offers this.
Blogging for the sake of it or trying to blog on top of the regular classroom curriculum just isn’t going to work. Most teachers are affected by a crowded curriculum.
Find ways to embed blogging into what you are already doing to meet your students’ learning needs and expand their horizons. Looking at integrating blogging into your literacy curriculum is a great place to start.
How do you integrate blogging into your curriculum?
70 Replies to “Blogging and the Literacy Curriculum”
Fantastic, article. My kids love blogging 🙂
That’s great to hear – thanks!
What valuable learning experiences for the students – connected to their lives and world, purposeful and meaningful to them – each able to succeed and learn at their own point of need.
Thanks, Norah. Blogging certainly provides many benefits to the students!
[…] Blogging and the Literacy Curriculum | Primary Tech […]
[…] This article is cross posted on ABC Splash website. If you haven't already checked out the site, I recommend you do so. There are many fabulous free resources […]
[…] lessons. I have read other teacher’s posts about how they blog with their students, such as Kathleen Morris in Victoria who makes blogging part of her literacy rotations. I have viewed blogging in action at several UK […]
We are trying a new approach this term you can read more about it here. Student blogger and Student Commentators of the week.
Thanks so much for the link – looks like a great idea!
It’s interesting that you write in the post “I am sure that true success in blogging comes to students who maintain a blog because they want to, not because they have to.” I would have thought that too. That is one of the reasons that up until this year, I had a system where students earnt their own blog.
This is the first year I started using blogs as digital portfolios (with the option of extra posts/involvement as well for students who are keen). The students’ excitement for blogging as a whole hasn’t been higher. I think one of the reasons is because there has been a lot of peer tutoring. The students have enjoyed “figuring things out” and teaching others. For many students, it’s also more of an engaging way for them to present their work that they’d otherwise be presenting in a more traditional means.
Of course it takes a really deep interest for students to delve fully into blogging and make their own connections etc. But I have seen all students achieve a number of benefits of blogging from a whole class program. Everyone has achieved success at some level.
Granted, I only worked with this class for six months before going on maternity leave but, despite what I would have thought previously, the system was working very well. For my students, the fact that blogging was compulsory didn’t make the work onerous as I would have previously thought.
I have never been an advocate for giving out blogs to all students without any structure, guidance or processes for maintenance, but this year I proved to myself that a whole class blogging program can be successful and engaging for all.
Just thought I’d share my insights with you. I did note that you don’t have class time for blogging which does make your circumstances different. And I’m in no means saying my methods would work for everyone or that your method isn’t perfect for your students! I think the point is that all teachers need to figure out what works best for their children. I know when I questioned my previously held beliefs, some great outcomes were achieved.
Thanks again for sharing your competition idea. These little encouragements play a big role in a successful classroom blogging program!
[…] This article is cross posted on ABC Splash website. If you haven't already checked out the site, I recommend you do so. There are many fabulous free resources […]
Hi Mrs. Morris! My name is Katlyn and I am a college student with a dream of becoming an elementary teacher one day. I am currently taking a class that requires us to blog. This is my first time ever having to blog and honestly at first I wasn’t sure why it was so important until I read your post “Blogging and the Literacy Curriculum.” After reading this post it finally clicked that technology is evolving very quickly. I suppose I haven’t thought about how fast it’s been evolving recently. I’m not sure how I could ever possibly forget that, especially after seeing little children with cell phones and i-pads of their own these days. So thank you for reminded me and giving me more insight into why blogs are so important in the classroom. I agree that our students need to become more transliterate. Blogging sure is “an authentic way to teach both traditional reading, writing, speaking and listening as well as multi-modal 21st century skills.” You said, “It is no longer enough to teach students how to read books and write on paper because this won’t adequately prepare them for the 21st century,” and I agree. As much as I hate to say it because I love old-fashioned, handwritten letters and papers, I believe books and writing on paper will soon be replaced by newer forms of technology. This is why I believe students need to become more transliterate. Thank you once again for reminding me how fast technology is evolving and for giving me more insight as to why blogging in classrooms are so important and beneficial. -Katlyn
Thanks for your thoughtful comment and good luck with your studies!
Hello Ms. Morris,
I am Rachel Hinton, an EDM 310 student at The University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed reading your blog post. It is very interesting to see how teachers are placing things like blogging into their classrooms to help students become more involved and enjoy their classes more.
I know from experience that things such as “bell-ringers,” can be very disengaging, but if you added them to a blog they would, indeed be so much fun!
I love your thoughts and ideas about 21st century learning. I truly hope that when i begin teaching one day I can incorporate these things into my everyday teaching habits as well.
Thank you for your dedication to 21st century learning.
Thanks for your comment. Great to hear you’re interested in incorporating tech into your teaching in future.
Good luck with your studies!
Hi! I’ve come across your resources and great advice for teaching blogging to students on various sites. One I came across was a “Blog Comments, thumbs up? or thumbs down?” sort. (I’m not sure if it’s yours or your co-teacher’s.) Anyways, I was wondering if you have an answer key to go with it. I know it should probably be self-explanatory, but this is my first year teaching blogging, so I’d like to know that I am teaching it correctly, effectively, and with high expectations. Thanks so much.
Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry, I don’t have an answer key for that task. When I did it with my grade twos they were pretty good at identifying which examples were “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”. I’m sure yours will be too.
[…] Blogging and the Literacy Classroom. In this post she begins by saying how she used to try to fit blogging in to the curriculum not […]
My name is Ms. Wallen a third year teacher education major with an emphasis in Language and a minor in literacy. Similarly, as some have mentioned, I too was recommended by my teacher to engage in a discussion through the usage of a blog. Now firstly, let me take the time out to commend you for your innovative idea in creating a blog for your students at such a tender age. It is quite inspiring to hear of children making use of technological aid that will definitely improve their skills both mentally and socially.
Personally, when I first heard about blogging, the first question that came to my mind was: what was this all about? Surprisingly, this was first known to me at the university level and now I am more impressed that this idea can change people’s lives by improving their literacy skills.
On the other hand. while this is a great initiative in improving ones learning experience, I do believe that our teachers should become technologically savvy in order to incorporate these ideas in their teaching aid as early from the primary level. In addition, while some teachers may complain that children are spending too much time on Facebook, they can help to shift their focus on meaningful things by helping them to read while assessing their reading and writing abilities. In doing this, I believe that they can have discussion on any topic that may interest the students and reward can be even be given for participation.
If blogging can help me, it will for our students! It will give them a chance to actively participate by researching and developing their intellectual ability directly and indirectly.
Hi Ms. Wallen,
Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I agree with you that teachers would benefit from investing time into becoming technologically savvy.
Good luck with the rest of your studies,
Thank you so much for your inspiration
[…] blogging-and-the-literacy-curriculum […]
Hi Ms. Morris. My name is Cameron and I am a student in EDM 310 at USA. I completely agree with you on teaching literacy kids more than students knowing how to read and write on paper. A lot of our hall0607 world activities are computer/technology based such as job and school applications and classroom and homework assignments. Students need to be sk to understand and complete things on paper as well as online. Love what you’re doing with blogging in your classroom!
I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama, U.S.A. I really enjoyed reading your post on blogging.I agree with your idea that our students should be able to read,write and interact across a range of platforms tools and medias. I also agree that Blogging is an excellent way to teach traditional and multi-modal 21st century skills. I hope that one day when I am a teacher I can incorporate blogging and other medias in my classroom.
Hi, Mrs. Morris
My name is Kynyetta Barren. I’m a student at the University of South Alabama in EDM310 blogpost class. After reading your post, I can say that technology is evolving quickly. I agree with you about students need to become transliterate. As you stated, “Blogging is an authentic way to teach both traditional reading, writing, speaking, and listening.” Blogging gives students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and learn from different students across the world. I love how you explain the way you incorporate blogging into your classroom. I truly hope that one day I can incorporate blogging into my teaching habits.
[…] reading this blog, I read that Kathleen Morris is incorporating blogging into her classroom. She explains how it […]
Good to hear from someone with a few years experience the power of blogging. I will start blogging with Junior High level students tomorrow. The first time for me, and for most of them. I can see the great strenght in this, and it comes out of an online course I am taking now about web 2.0 teaching called COETAIL. I also appreciate the verb “transliterate” that you use, and I followed your Wikipedia link on that to get the defintion. This also taught me a good way to embed definitions in a blog. Thanks for the good insights.
Glad you found the post useful and good luck with blogging! I’m sure your Junior High students will get a lot out of it.
My name is Nathalie McCarty and I attend the University of South Alabama. This semester I am enrolled in EDM 310 and we use blogging for everything we do. I definitely agree with you that if you are going to incorporate blogging into your classroom, then you need to use it to assist you in teaching your curriculum. Not only is it fun for the students but it is a new way to teach that is not just lecturing, the students can be involved in the teaching process. I also like how you use the blogs as a digital portfolio for the students. This is an idea that I will definitely use in my class room. This blog is great and more teachers should definitely be aware of blogs and their use in the classroom.
– Nathalie McCarty
Another EDM310 student here, and great post! It is really inspiring to see teachers actually using technology. It shows me that learning how to teach with technology right now, while I am still in college, is not in vein! I really liked the section on literature. I agree that in today’s world, reading books and writing on paper are not enough, and that in order to prepare students for the 21st century they need to be blogging! I love how you are not over doing it either. With that being said, ten to twenty minutes a day is a great idea! I look forward to reading future posts.
I am thinking of implementing student blogs into the classroom. My students really enjoy technology, and are able to use technology efficiently. I believe that using student blogs as digital portfolios is a great way to “save” and reflect on student work, without having to keep so many paper documents. Also, it is easier for parents to track the student learning as well! My only concern is the lack of student participation when students are to post at home. What could be done to prevent this occurrence?
I loved using blogs as digital portfolios. I hope you find it works well for your students too. I would set aside time each week for the students to work on their blogs/digital portfolios at schools. That eliminated the problems with students not accessing their blogs at home. Blogging at home was encouraged but optional for me. I couldn’t set it as a homework task due to school policies.
Even if you’re just working on the blogs at school, you want to encourage family members to check them out. You could try having a Family Blogging Afternoon or something similar where family members can come to school and look at the blogs.
Here are some more ideas about involving parents in your class blog. Many of these ideas may also apply to student blogs.
Hi Mrs. Morris,
I am presently a first grade teacher and have started implementing various kinds of technology in my classroom. Blogging is a new form of technology for me. I have always wanted to do this, but did not know how to implement it. Your experience with blogging seems to be a great way to get my students actively engaged in using a classroom blog consistently. Do you have any suggestions for implementation of this in my first grade classroom?
Great to hear you’re interested in blogging with your first grade students! This post I’ve written – Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog should give you lots of advice. I hope that helps.
I am starting to blog as a course requirement also. I think that it is a useful learning tool for educators and students. I have introduced social learning to my students in the form of responding to online newspaper articles on Tween Tribune, but I have yet to create a class blog online such as edublogs. I am hoping that my experience is a smooth transition.
Hi Miss Mac,
Good luck with your blogging and your course!
Hello Mrs. Morris,
My name is Shernaye James. I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am in a class called EMD 310. We use blogging with all of our assignments. I agree, that it is important to include blogging, in the classroom. I think it is a great way to help keep students engaged.
Hello Mrs. Morris,
I hope your maternity leave is going well. I just wanted to comment to say that from what I’ve learned thus far, it seems like blogging really is the way of the future. I am currently a sophomore studying secondary education and English and I see huge potential in the composition-related possibilities of blogging.
Thank you so much for sharing your success story!
This is such an insipiring idea. I work for an online school and you would think that this would be an easy transition for blogging. However, as you had mentioned, things get hectic and busy. I love that you tie in all components of literacy to blogging. What types of topics do you have your students blog about?
Thanks for your comment and kind words.
This post should give you some ideas of what the students could write about
An online school sounds very interesting.
Hello. I enjoyed reading your post about blogging and how you have incorporated this into your classroom. I like that you use the platform to serve as a digital portfolio for your students. Now and days we don’t have to rely on old school journaling techniques. Now the students can submit blogs and they can get feedback automatically from all over the world. I want to be an art teacher one day and I always thought that two of the greatest forms of expression are the visual arts and writing. I would love to have my students set up a blog and in the blog they can embed images and videos which can also serve as their assignments. I think that with advancement of technology today it is very important for our students to retain a higher level of competence in working with technology and resources. Good post.
Hi Ms. Morris,
I find this article very helpful for understanding blogging in my future classroom. As a current student in the elementary education program, I am continuously looking for different ways to integrate technology with daily class lessons. I see blogging as such a simple, but exciting replacement for journal time. There are many benefits from blogging, such as digital portfolio and parent involvement.
This tips will definitively be used in my future classroom.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I wish you all the best in your future teaching career!
Hello Mrs. Morris. My name is Jennifer Dennison. I am currently a student at USA in Mobile, Alabama majoring in Elementary Education. Reading your blog really inspired me to have my future students create a digital portfolio. Students would learn and practice literacy while creating their portfolios. Students would be more engaged in learning if they were creating their own personal portfolio. Thank you for the inspiration.
I hope you get a chance to use digital portfolios with your future students.
As a future educator I found this post to be very informative. I’m sure all first time classroom teachers have an issue with planning and time management and this post provides guidance as to how to handle blogging.
The author states that blogging should be integrated into the curriculum rather than be introduced to students as a way to pass time. This allows the students to make personal connections and become interested in what they are actually completing. Educational blogging is very beneficial to students as well as teachers and the information provided can be a blueprint as to how to incorporate blogging into my daily schedule. Blogging can help students improve their literacy skills and also serves as a tool for integrating the concept of teaching and being taught in the 21st century.
Hey Mrs. Morris,
I couldn’t agree more with this post, blogging needs to become a part of every kids life. Teaching students to become transliterate is a great idea. I think it is awesome that your class has a computer ratio of 1:1. I live in Mobile, Alabama and I don’t see the school system getting technology in the schools anytime soon. I would love to be a traveling teacher so that I can move somewhere where the kids to have technology at their fingertips.
Also, I am writing about you in my blog every time I comment on your blog. You can find my blog here!
Hi Ty and Lauren,
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I wish you all the best with your studies. I’m sure you’ll do very well as it sounds like you’re enrolled in an excellent course.
PS – thanks for the link to your blog, Lauren!
I think that blogging could be a very beneficial tool in the classroom; it will give students a better sense of character and a feeling of ownership form doing something they enjoy and can take pride in.
Hi Mrs Morris,
I am studying to be a future teacher and come along your blog. I agree with your position that children need technology integrated within the classroom and to effective improve their literacy skills. The blog was informative and rewarding. I feel blogging is a great way to do this. The learning experiences you have provided the students with is authentic and meaningful to the children, it relates to “real-world” approach and would motivate children to want to learn. In my approach to pedagogy I believe that children need to have significant learning experiences and blogging provides this. Another benefit of blogging is teaching children to become transliterate and I think this is a fundamental idea for preparing children for the 21st century. As it is helping the students improve their skills of multi-modal skills. On my practical for university I felt overwhelmed with trying to involve technology in my lessons, however this has influenced the way in which I can conduct lessons with technology. This is why educational blogging is very beneficial to students and teachers and should be incorporated in the classroom on a daily schedule.
Hi my name is Emily Huff and I am a student at the university of South Alabama. I am in school to be an elementary teacher right now so I really enjoyed reading your blog. I love the idea of creating digital portfolios instead of doing journals. I am excited about being able to use blogging in my future classroom. Blogging is a great way to keep students engaged and I believe it should defiantly be integrated into the curriculum. Technology is growing more and more everyday and it is becoming apart of the classroom.
My name is Kelsey I am a student at the University of South Alabama. My major is elementary education. This is my first time ever having a blog. I am in a class that requires it. I have to say that I actually enjoy blogging now. I hope to include blogging in my future classroom.
Hello there, I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I love reading your blog! I also love the idea of having a classroom full of blogging students. I think it is crucial to have that 10- 20 minutes of whole class blogging to take place that way the children can stay focused on the task.
I love the idea that you integrate blogging into your reading block. It is a great way to teach a 21st century tool and also a way to get your students interested in reading by using a tool that is relevant and interesting to them! Thanks for sharing!
Nancee Dehoff’s EDM310 class blog
Your tips on using blogs as a way to integrate literacy into the classroom are important for all educators to not only review, but put into pratice, primarily because of one of the points you raise in this post.
“The concept of literacy education has changed as technology has evolved. It is no longer enough to teach students how to read books and write on paper. ”
I agree with your statements about students needing to be taught 21st century skills, and traditional pedagogy will not meet the needs of today’s learners, nor will they keep them interested. Blogging is an excellent tool for both technology and literacy integration as well as a student motivator. The fact you have been blogging for six years with your students is amazing, and you are definitely an inspiration to other teachers who are looking to incorporate blogging into the curriculum.
Hello, Mrs. Morris,
Just wanted to comment that you have already implemented what I have been envisioning as a modern approach to literacy in it 21st Century, until I read your post just now, I was calling it “digital literacy,” but I think the term “transliteracy,” is a better term for what I really aim to do: inspire students to use communication and appropriate technology in all of its varied forms so that citizens of the world can exist peacefully.
I have been trying to put together a program of professional development that would allow teachers to ease in to this as method for a more robust form of literacy. Two problems in addition to the ones you stated that I see: 1) How do we teach both students and teachers to recognize valid content versus mere anecdote, opinion or ideology, and 2) How do we ensure safety for everyone?
Thanks for your thoughts in this blog and courage to innovate!
Hi Mrs. Morris!
I enjoyed this blog post as much as the first one I read! I really like the idea of incorporating blogging into the classroom. I think blogging is a very modern and creative twist on journals or reflective writing. Kids know far more about technology than any of us did at that age, so I’m sure it is something they enjoy doing. It was a pleasure to read and comment on another one of your posts for my class!
I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. We have weekly blog post, and your blog has shown me how beneficial blogging really is. Thank you for teaching me how important literacy really is and how is ties in with blogging. I will use your strategy when writing my blog post for EDM 310.
Hi Mrs. Morris,
I loved your blog! I am currently a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I just recently became familiar with blogging and I love everything about it. I was alway curious to how I could incorporate in when I become a teacher. Your blog gave me some great advice! I can’t wait to use it!
Hi Mrs. Morris! I’m currently in a class that is all about technology in the classroom, and we have learned a lot about blogging. I think that having your students blog is a wonderful idea. Knowing that people from around the world can see your work is certainly a great motivator. I hope I can incorporate blogging into my classroom as well as you did! Thanks for sharing your ideas.
Hi! I’m currently a student a SUNY Geneseo studying early childhood education, and we’ve been discussing different ways to integrate technology into our future classrooms. I think the way you’ve gone about doing it with your students is so great, especially because you stress the importance of not using it as an add-on but rather truly integrating it into the curriculum. In the past I’ve seen teachers try to simply make use of technology such as blogging an additional requirement on top of everything else, and it so often falls by the wayside because there simply isn’t time and it hasn’t been thoroughly thought out and implemented. I also really appreciate how you discuss blogging as a form of literacy, because today too many students don’t see the the real-world application in what they’re learning but this so clearly has one and is meaningful and engaging for them. I really enjoyed reading this post!
Hi Mrs. Morris! My name is Danielle and I am a student at SUNY Geneseo studying childhood and special education. I am currently in a class and discussing the use of technology in the classroom, I think you have implemented blogging into your reading block in an excellent way that can be used and should be used in other classrooms. The digital portfolio is an excellent idea and getting the parents involved can be so beneficial as well. Thank you for sharing, I loved reading this post!
Mrs. Morris, My name is Patricia Tremblay and I am taking EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I think it is great that blogging has been worked into the curriculum of your classroom. I am looking forward to using a classroom blog in my future classroom. Your information has been very helpful.
Hi! Im Kasey and I’m a student studying to be a childhood education teacher! Throughout my literacy curriculum class this semester we have been discussing the use of blogging and other media in the classroom. Right now my class uses iPads for many of our teaching assignments to bring technology into the classroom. Blogging I feel is also a way to get students thoughts and ideas out into the world through technology. When students blog it gives what you have learned a greater sense of purpose, because it is allowing students to share their ideas with the world around them. I think this is important because students also have to be aware of the world around them and blogging is a gateway to just that.
Hello Mrs. Morris I loved your post. I am a student in the University of South Alabama EDM310, a technology focused class. We are asked to blog every week along with comment on other blogs throughout the educational network. I found that this posted related to our class directly. I have learned how important it is to keep technology in our classrooms and found it very relatable when you posted that it is not enough anymore just to teach students how to read and write. I agree with that statement completely. Today we need to teach our students about technology as we can assume that technology will continue to grow and it will be a necessity for our students to be knowledgeable on the topic. Thank you for sharing your ideas. Please feel free to check out my blog at http://thomleymercediedm310.blogspot.com/