So you might be wondering, why another post on blogging? Simple! Blogging is a platform that provides students with a forum to develop 21st century skills, including inquiry, research, communication, creativity, collaboration, and digital citizenship skills in any content area. In addition, students take ownership of learning because blogs allow students to find and develop their voices by investing in real-world writing in a published forum.
Are you ready to enter the blogging forum? Let the "Blogging Games" begin!
Below we have listed and briefly explained 27 blogging ideas that can be incorporated into various content areas and grade levels in order catch students' voices!
1. Create Exploratory Blogs or Vlogs
Students create a blog or vlog (video blog) about a topic or theme that interests them. Ask students to post during exploratory or enrichment time and develop their theme or topic through each post. Throughout the year, we have worked with 5th graders to develop individual exploratory blogs. Topics include blogs about golf, creative writing, coding games, daily life as a fifth grader, a sportscasting blog, vacations, books, etc. Encourage students to utilize widgets such as polls, quick links, and lists so that their blogs attract and engage a regular audience.
Sample Exploratory Blog
Sample Exploratory Vlog
Sample Exploratory Blog
Sample Exploratory Vlog
2. Write on DemandBlogging provides a forum for students to simulate CCSS writing task assessments. Based on Kelly Sassi, Anne R. Gene, and Leila Christenbury's resource Writing on Demand for the Common Core State Standards Assessments, teachers can use a blogging forum for students to practice performance tasks similar to PARCC and Smarter Balanced approaches to writing assessment.
3. Rewrite a TextStudents can use a blog to rewrite a mentor text. Based on Kelly Gallagher's instructional practices outlined in Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts, students can practice real-world writing purposes like expression and reflection, informing and explaining, inquiring and exploring, analyzing and interpreting, and taking a stand or proposing a solution---all by modeling a mentor text.
4. Reflect on Content or a ProcessUse blogs as a space for students to write reflections on specific pieces related to content or processes and 21st century skills integrated into the learning environment. This process develops students' abilities to become reflective thinkers and develop reflective practices. This type of blog entry also develops an avenue for bloggers to communicate with blog followers and potentially develop a reflective conversation through the commenting feature.
5. Facilitate Book ClubsBlogging is a perfect forum to facilitate book clubs. Students can post their reactions to readings, address specific prompts, post questions, and reply to other students' posts on the book club selection. They can also collaborate to create a book trailer to post in the blog.
6. Document Students' LearningA great way to use a blog at the elementary level is to create a class blog in which students or the teacher post videos and pictures documenting each individual student's learning. Teachers could set up the blog so that each student has his/her own page within the blog. This makes it easy to access the student's page and add pictures and videos in chronological order. Ms. Cassidy's Classroom Blog is a great example of what this could look like--even for six year olds!
7. Globally Connect with Classrooms and StudentsBlogging provides students with a global audience, but connecting with another classroom or community allows students to collaborate and share ideas through blogs. Your class could connect with other classes in other schools, in other states, or even in other nations and share content driven knowledge, questions, etc. from topics like World War II to Romeo and Juliet. Students can comment to posts to answer questions, elaborate on a post, or debate facts with specific evidence. In addition, consider epals and quadblogging to locate blogging communities and topics.
8. Post a Prompt or Respond to a Prompt
Blogs provide a perfect forum for students to address a weekly prompt. Another idea is to use a biweekly post/comment rotation. Students could create a post based on a prompt the first week and then the second week students could read other classmates' posts and choose one or more posts to respond to through the commenting feature. Bill Ferriter, @plugusin, has great resources for teaching students basic tips and processes for leaving good blog comments.
9. Review the Week or WeekendAt the elementary and middle levels, students could collaborate in teams to craft a weekly blog entry to describe the events of the week in the classroom. This also provides parents with an avenue to catch a glimpse of their child's learning through their student's eyes. It also provides parents with an avenue to reply to their student. In addition, this type of post allows those students who were absent due to illness to still be connected with the classroom. Another idea is to have students begin their Mondays by individually posting descriptions of and reflections on their weekends. This provides students with an avenue to share their weekends with an audience and tell their own stories, providing an avenue for every student to share and be heard!
10. Encourage Creativity and Creative Writing
Blogging provides students with a forum to express their creativity. Students can create poems, short stories, personal narratives, write songs, etc. This expression doesn't have to be in written form! Students can create video recordings too! We have students who have created Note Card Confessions, MozillaPopcorn pop-up videos, YouTube Capture videos, etc. to express their creativity!
Sample Creative Writing Blog
11. Respond to a TextUsing a blogging forum for students to respond to a text provides practice with reading strategies, comprehension checks, and application of skills. This also provides students with an avenue to view other students' responses to the text and reply to those responses utilizing communication skills and authentic academic discussions.
12. Find the FactsStudents love this activity! Post a statement with no supporting facts. Then have students utilize the research process and research skills to find facts to support or even refute the statement. In addition, you could allow students to use the blog as a forum to evaluate sources. For example, you could post a link to a site or resource and then students could evaluate the bias, credibility, etc. of that source. Students could also reply to other students' comments to ask questions or add thoughts regarding their evaluation of the source. These activities encompasses many CCSS Literacy Standards for science, history, ELA, and technical subjects.
13. Write a Newspaper-Style StoryBlogs provide a perfect spot for students to experiment with newspaper-style writing for school events. This could include news stories, sports stories, or even feature stories on teachers and students. This type of blog builds on the school culture and provides students with opportunities to experiment as newspaper writers. In addition, be sure to tweet your students newspaper stories; we have found that local newspapers will pick up your students' stories and retweet them to their followers!
14. Create a Language Blog
Blog in other languages? Absolutely! Students can engage in communicating in a second language. Not only can students create posts in a second language, students can also comment on other students' blogs in order to facilitate asking questions, writing in various verb tenses, and utilizing the language correctly. Also, encourage students to create vlog (video blog) entries so they can practice oral communication by speaking in the second language as well!
15. Create a Historical Content BlogCreate blogs based on historical events and time periods: World War II, The Civil War, women's suffrage, etc. Students take on the persona of a person during the time period and write from that perspective as they relate events, experiences, reactions, fears, actions, feelings, and emotions.
16. Create a Novel BlogLove, love, love this idea! Create a blog for a novel (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Giver, etc.). Students create posts by taking on the persona of characters other than the narrator and write experiences from that character's perspectives as they read the novel. Classmates can then comment on those posts as other characters in the novel.
17. Respond to Current Events
In addition to writing newspaper-style stores from #13, students could use a blog to respond to current event news stories. You could post a link to a news story and ask students to connect the main idea and supporting details to their own lives or to their community. This provides students with the opportunity to connect to current events in the news. If you are looking for news stories written at various Lexile levels, consider using NewsELA.com. This is a great resources on its own or in conjunction with a blog!
18. Post from an Educational Trip or Virtual Field TripBlogs are a great way for students to report on an educational field trip or a virtual field trip. You can facilitate the direction of the post by providing students with guiding question, or incorporate inquiry based learning by having students create their own questions before they experience the field trip, whether on-site or online. This also provides students with the opportunity to interview other students, collaborate on posts, or collaborate with an expert in the field. There are hundreds of virtual field trips online; check out National Park Foundation or Colonial Williamsburg.
19. Continuing VocabularyUse a blog for students to develop vocabulary usage by having students write stories. Provide students with a prompt that encompasses creativity and vocabulary. If you are looking for ideas for vocabulary writing ideas, consider prompts similar to the "Super Challenge" activities in Randy Larson's and Amy Rider's AbraVocabra series.
20. Create a Continuous StoryElementary students love creating stories together! A blog provides a digital forum students to create collaborative stories. Each student can write their own endings to a class read aloud, or the teacher can give students a menu of options for the setting, characters, initial situation, and story starters. Then each student can choose from the menu to create his/her own story. For older students, consider having groups collaborate to create a portion of the menu!
21. Collaborate on Lab ResearchAttention middle school and high school teachers: Blogs are the perfect avenue for lab groups to document their labs throughout a course. Students can publish their lab data and their lab report. Students can then comment on other students' lab data and reports by asking questions or comparing data/reports. In addition, this is a perfect resource for students who are absent and miss all or part of a lab activity. Also, consider a blog for courses like foods! Students can simulate a restaurant blog and publish their recipes, photos of their prepared foods, incorporate food tasting descriptions, rate the recipe and their final products, and reflect on the process and product.
22. Create a Question Blog or a Course Cafe
Elementary levels might utilize a blog that invites students to submit questions about content, ideas for the class, inquiry-based questions, etc., This could be utilized before a unit or during a unit to check for understanding. Students could also reply and provide answers or responses to each other's questions. Secondary levels might utilize a blog that allowed students to ask questions and then answer each other's questions through the comment feature. Even though the teacher monitors the blog, a Course Cafe is really a facilitated Q & A.
23. Create ePortfoliosIf your district does not have ePortfolio as a part of the Learning Management System, consider using blogs as an ePortfolio. Students can add videos, photos, and written work, including reflections. Individual students can manage their ePortfolio blog, but teachers might want to create a classroom or course blog and create Quick Links to each student's ePorfolio/blog.
24. Publish a Neighborhood or Community TourA blog is also a perfect opportunity to create neighborhood and community relationships. Students can use a blog to research and report on local history, important community groups, or even create "community tours." Students can include pictures of community activities! This provides students the opportunity to practice informational text features including subheadings and captions. Many local Chamber of Commerce will include your links in their Chamber of Commerce website!
25. Participate in eLearning Days
Snow days or unexpected days off provide a perfect opportunity for students to interact in learning activities from home. The key to eLearning Day participation is to simulate your blogging processes and activities before that snow day arrives! Also, make sure that the blogging activity for the eLearning Day incorporates creativity and is one the students will view as fun! Otherwise, they might not be interested in participating!
26. Role Play a Point of ViewBlogs provide a place for students to write from different perspectives. They could write from the point of view of an inanimate object, an animal, or even curriculum-related characters from literature or people from various historical time periods.
27. Debate a Real-World Hot TopicCreate a blog for students to debate real-world hot topics. This type of debate forum allows students to practice making claims and supporting claims with evidence. Other students can reply and add to the claim with additional supporting evidence or refute the claim with rebuttal evidence. Middle level students are usually more successful with local and school issues while high school students are more engaged when they dive into cultural, national, and international topics.
Many of these ideas were adapted from Teachers First.