Class blogs can be a fabulous way to motivate students to write and to provide families with insight into your class. Sites like Edublogs and Kidblog make it easy to get started. But if students are to blog safely, it is important to have clear and effective blogging guidelines. Luckily, such things are not hard to find.
Edublogs not only has a number of lists of sample guidelines, but outlines procedures for introducing the guidelines to students, as part of its “30 Days to Get Your Students Blogging” series.
Most lists of blogging guidelines look much like this one, taken from Ask a Tech Teacher.
- I will not give out any information more personal than my first name
- I will not plagiarize; instead I will expand on others’ ideas and give credit where it is due.
- I will use language appropriate for school.
- I will always respect my fellow students and their writing.
- I will only post pieces that I am comfortable with everyone seeing.
- I will use constructive/productive/purposeful criticism, supporting any idea, comment, or critique I have with evidence.
- I will take blogging seriously, posting only comments and ideas that are meaningful and that contribute to the overall conversation.
- I will take my time when I write, using formal language (not text lingo), and I will try to spell everything correctly.
- I will not bully others in my blog posts or in my comments.
- I will only post comments on posts that I have fully read, rather than just skimmed.
- I will not reveal anyone else’s identity in my comments or posts.
Any infraction of the Fifth Grade Blogging Rules may result in loss of blogging privileges and an alternative assignment will be required.
Student Signature __________________________________ Date ___
Some schools require a parent signature as well, which seems wise.
But now that your students are ready to blog safely, what are some blogging options? Edublog’s Student Blogging Challenges are a good place if you want structured options and are feeling stuck for ideas. They are particularly helpful if you want a chance for your students to communicate with other student bloggers. The challenges start in September and March each year, but you can get good ideas whenever you drop in. In the meantime, why not have your students try some of these:
- Create blog journals
- Create blog journals for a literary or historical figure
- Keep a science journal on the progress of an experiment
- Write math tutorials for peers or younger children
- Create good test review questions and explain the answers
- Comment on the news
- Find examples math or science principles in the real world
- Write reviews of books, movies, etc.
- Respond to story starters
- Write a fictional travel blog about a place you are studying
- Respond to creative challenges like, “If you could sleep overnight in the school, how many different things could you do for fun?” or “What kinds of inventions would a mouse inventor plan?
What have you done with your students’ blogs?