Get your students blogging!

Posted by Megan Smith on May 24, 2012 in iPads, Organization, Techy Stuff

  Blogging isn’t a new thing. I have known about it for years, but until I started I had no idea how neat it was. I work with great teachers, but it’s nice to connect with others outside of my school and district. Blogging lets me do that. I love reading great posts  from others and sharing a fun idea when I have one.

So this got me thinking… Why not use blogs in the classroom? So I tried it and I really liked it!

Here are 5 reasons why blogging was so successful in my WL classroom. 

1.) Every student has their own account. They use their name as their login info so it’s easy for me to see what they are writing/working on.

2.) Everything they do has a timestamp. I can tell when they finished a task and these can’t be changed.

3.) It’s a great way to show off what they do in class. During the clothing unit, they made Frankenstein Models and labeled their clothes.  Since my students usually lose “notes” or anything on paper, I had them take a picture and save it to their blog. That way they could access their notes from anywhere! Another day they found and posted a picture of an authentic menu from a Spanish-speaking country. Some posted a vocab sheet they made on an iPad.


4.) They got lots of opportunities to practice different modes of communication…

Interpretative Listening – I posted commercials, songs, or clips that included unit vocabulary on my blog

Presentational Writing:  Some days students respond to a question I ask on my page and other days I give them something really open ended to write about on their page like “Describe tu familia.”

Interpersonal communication skills/Reading skills:

For those students that seem to always finish faster than others, I would let them log on to WordPress and respond to other’s comments. They can talk to each other face to face, but it was more exciting for them to leave a funny comment instead! Plus, a lot of students would read other kids’ comments before putting their own. I think it helped them feel comfortable using the language when they saw someone model it for them. It became good reading opportunities at the appropriate proficiency levels!

5.) Finally, and most importantly, I liked our blogging experience because it happened both IN an OUT of the classroom! Half of my students had the WordPress app on their phones and would ask permission to take pictures of their work with their phones and upload the picture right away. Plus, I could leave a comment or check recent activity from my phone while I waited at the post office or when riding in the car (not driving… RIDING). It is really convenient!

I only did this for a few weeks this year, but I’ll definitely use it in class next year. Students had a new way to communicate and could basically do it on their own, which freed up time for me to work with small groups. I loved having a WORDPRESS station. Try it next year. You’ll LOVE it!

P.S. Imagine how great it would be if our students could write each other – comment back and forth through the blog! It would be like modern pen-pals! Let me know if you want to collaborate. 🙂

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16 comments for “Get your students blogging!”

  1. Robin Griffin says:

    What app did they use on the iPads to make the vocab sheets?

    1. Megan says:

      Pic collage- there are about 5 different free versions in the app store

      1. Kara says:

        LOVE piccollage!

  2. Señora J says:

    Reblogged this on the Student Becomes an Educator and commented:
    I love creative ideas for students to use language in an authentic way, and this has some great examples! I’m really impressed with the classroom blog and all the student participation.

  3. jarvis1000 says:

    Blogging has helped me so much as I have tried to learn Spanish. Good on ya for opening that up to your students. They can post different study things they are doing to help them learn as well.

    1. Megan says:

      I’m teaching a summer class right now, and that’s exactly what they are doing with their blogs. They post a recap of what they learned that day and use it as notes for later. Thanks for sparking that new idea!

  4. Michele says:

    I used a blog with all of my classes last year. I used it to mark improvements in writing. I definitely want to use it again and expand it next year. Love the ideas you shared here.

    1. Megan says:

      Thanks Michele, if you teach Spanish maybe our kids could connect up somehow!!

      1. Michele says:

        I do teach Spanish – would love to explore the possibility of connecting.

  5. I have always wanted to do a blog for my students. I wanted to know if you allowed them to do this during class time. Only because I know that some students maybe under privilege and may not have technology readily available to complete the task.

    1. Megan says:

      Yes, they do this in class. Not every kid every day, but they all got to blog a few times each week this school year. A lot of students didn’t have Internet access at home but found the WordPress app for free and posted pics and posts from their phone! Loved it!

  6. lrogrady87 says:

    Do you have your students and their parents sign a permission slip at the beginning of the year? While student teaching I got in trouble for putting a picture of the school on my blog….I know each district is different and mine was super overprotective. Did you run into any problems with putting pictures and videos of the kids up? I think it’s awesome, but I would be scared that some parent or administrator would complain.

    1. Kara says:

      I suggest getting parent and administrator approval. I usually suggest to the students to not use their full name and to set it as private. But as you said, know your district and school culture. I did not get signatures, but I’m thinking now that I should in the future.

  7. Cynthia says:

    In what level did you use the class blog? In the past I used Kidblog with my upper level classes but I am looking into other formats/sites for the future and possibly using blogs with beginning levels too. I’m interested in something collaborative because I think it may spark more student interest.

    1. Megan says:

      I used the blog with level 1 high school students last year. I will be teaching level 3’s next year and I think it will be even better for them. I think it’s motivating for them to share what they are doing with peers – not just their teacher. I am going to find time for them to be more interactive with it next year, ie. visit each other’s pages and ask each other questions.
      I’m hoping to find more relevant online articles that I can reblog for them to read and share their opinions. I’m brainstorming how to better use these blogs for next year and working to come across just a few more computers for class!
      You are right though. Blogs on their own are just the same as writing. Kids need an audience to really motivate them.

  8. barb jacobs says:

    I blog with my level 1 and 2 students and also my interactive video students from other schools. Our school has its own WordPress account so the blog is linked to our school’s website and my page and totally protected by the school filters, which is nice. I publish a question, video, or picture each week (usually coiniciding with what they are or will be studying, or a holiday or current event) to which the students know they should comment or answer. I receive notifications when a student has published and use it for writing assignments,drawings for prizes, bonus points, whatever..If the students copy a response from someone else, I write back and ask them to be original or elaborate, etc. It’s a great way to get them to communicate more..they aren’t hesitant about speaking Spanish in this feels natural to them and they love to get notes from me. It really doesn’t take long to publish or check their responses.

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