There are many ways that teachers can integrate blogs into curriculum. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
Empower students! Most bloggers are experts in a particular area. They write articles based on their experience. Encourage your students to recognize that their experience has value. Have them write a series of articles about a topic in which they are knowledgeable such as a hobby or area of interest. For example, skateboarding, hockey, piano, video games, dirt bikes, pets, or fashion. Each week or month students write a new blog entry using a different writing style: how-to, opinion, biography, product review, pro/con comparison, top 10 list, personal story, inspiration/quote, useful links, timeline, or interview. By the end of the term or school year, students will not only have a series of articles that inform, instruct, and inspire others, but also a body of work that highlights their unique value.
2. Reading Response
To track independent reading many teachers have students complete a reading response. This activity often has a standard form such as title, author, pages, summary, and response. The response may require students share their thoughts, feelings, and reactions to the story. It may also require students to make a personal connection or prediction. Make this task digital! Have students write a blog entry for each reading response (or at least some of them). These entries can be set to private so that only the teacher is aware of the content of each post. The benefit to blogging is that now teachers can engage in an online discussion about the book. They can comment to ask questions to provoke deeper learning, offer a fresh insight to promote new ideas, or establish a connection with students by sharing their own experience. The goal is to offer comments that encourage a further response.
3. Digital Reading Log
Don’t just create a reading log, instead create a reading community. Teachers are always looking for creative ways to track the books students read throughout the year. As part of the reading program, have students write a book review on their blog. By using tags such as genre or rating, it is easy for fellow students to peruse the articles for recommended reading. As well, if a student reads the SAME book, they can add their own comment about the review.
4. Collaborative Novel Study Activities
Transform some of your class novel study activities into blog entries that encourage collaboration. To get started, gather a list of standard discussion questions or written assignments associated with the novel. Now divide your class into small groups. Assign one member the role of blogger and the remaining students as commenters. The blogger selects an item from the list and writes a short blog post. Commenters read the post and then offer their comments. Here are some ideas:
- have the blogger pose a question they would want to ask a character in the story, and then have the remaining members comment upon what they think the character might respond to the question
- have the blogger post a picture of the latest action in the story with the text, what will happen next and then have the remaining members post comments outlining their predictions
- have the blogger write a short article about how they think the book will end, and have the remaining group members comment upon whether they agree or disagree
Collaborative novel study activities are an excellent way to engage all students in a conversation about the novel.
5. Writing Buddy
Pair an older student with a younger student to foster writing skills. The older student reads the younger student’s work and then offers positive feedback. This encouragement is a great way to boost confidence and enjoyment in the writing process.
6. Peer Editing
Revision is an important part of the writing process. Students can post their draft and receive constructive feedback from peers to improve work. Feedback can take the form of compliments, suggestions, and corrections. It is a good ideas to provide sentence starters to help your students learn to phrase comments appropriately.
7. School or Class Newspaper
A blog can act as a school or class newspaper written for fellow students. Articles can be about a range of activities including field trips, fundraising events, concerts, sports, assemblies, project displays, and more! The blog can be part of an extracurricular club or it can be undertaken as a class initiative. If writing a class newspaper, the teacher can assign student bloggers each week to post articles allowing everyone the opportunity to contribute throughout the school year. This is also an excellent way to manage blogging if access to computers is limited to only a few at the back of the classroom.
8. Current Events
A blog can transform teaching about current events. Instead of clipping an article of interest from the newspaper, then sharing it with classmates by standing at the front of the classroom, relaying the article details, students can post the news story or video report to their blog. Fellow classmates can then write comments that state their opinion about the issue. It is a great way to engage everyone in an online discussion, leaving no “voice” unheard.
Post a weekly or monthly brainteaser that encourages problem solving. Have students post their answer using the commenting system. Teachers can set the comments to require approval, which sends a copy of the responses to the teacher, but prevents them from being visible to all the other students. After a specific amount of time, the teacher can discuss the answer to the brainteaser and can either delete all comments or approve the correct answers.
10. Video Tutorials
Assign students to create videos or screencasts of a math concept. Post the tutorials to a Math category on the blog. Now when students are doing homework they can quickly refer to the blog if they need help.