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Why should I get my kids to blog?

This article in the NZ Herald talks about a school in Britain who has 11 year old boys engaged in writing blogs. Some of them are writing 5000 word stories in their blogs. It all started during a period of heavy snowfall where the school was continually closed. The principal decided that students would still get taught during this time – online. And it’s exploded from there. Read the article for the full story.

I think this is a fantastic story about the possibilities of technology. Not only did the students continue to be taught, but their writing scores were increasing also. Many have clearly become engaged, and passionate about writing.

As a secondary science teacher, I’m certainly not an expert in writing stats and facts but I believe that here in New Zealand many boys are not engaged in writing and really have no interest in it. Perhaps they need something like this to get them started. Start them off with a small activity they can do (the British school got the students to blog about the amount of snow outside their house) and try to build it from there. What if you can increase engagement and achievement from this simple idea?

I might actually get my own children to start blogging, and see what happens. They love using the computer, and this might build an interest/passion in writing.

6 thoughts on “Why should I get my kids to blog?

  1. Why not? Anything that makes writing (more) enjoyable for kids is a valuable and powerful tool — says this professional writer. The feedback one can get with a blog from readers is also a great reinforcer that someone is actually noticing and enjoying your thoughts, without which it can feel futile.

    Another aspect of blogging that is fun and instructive is linking — electronic footnotes, as it were — and adding visuals.

    If I were you, (but I am not a teacher), I’d get your students to blog once a week on science, whether a favorite question (what’s a cloud?) or someone famous (the Curies?) and see if they get a little more passionate. If they are old enough, have them go out and interview someone local working in science…Having the ability to add their own photos, easily done with a digital camera, would ensure a sense of ownership and creativity.

    http://caitlinkelly.com/

    1. Thanks for the comment. You’re absolutely right. If it works, then let’s use it!
      You’ve mentioned feedback being a great reinforcer. I love getting comments on my blog, and it definitely does add the the experience and what me to blog more often (which I’m still not great at doing!).

      You’re ideas for science class blogging are excellent! I might look at the best way to do this in my teaching.

      Thanks
      Nathaniel

  2. I think that blogging is an excellent way to increase a student’s learning, especially in boys. I believe that NZ is similar to Canada in that not many boys become engaged in English classes nor writing, as their interest tends to be more towards Math and Science (and being a Science teacher, I’m sure you appreciate that). It may be difficult to get boys interested in writing, but blogging is a fun way for them to practice that skill.

    After all, whether they become engineers or doctors, they will need to write reports at some point in their lives, so writing skills WILL come in handy! (And I’m not just saying that because I was an English major…). šŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      Lol – Yes writing will definitely come in handy! And it doesn’t mean they need to write with pen to paper (although that skill is also very important). Blogging can certainly open up opportunities for boys (and girls) to become engaged in writing. I think the key is to get them hooked with an interesting, engaging activity.

      I think a big key to this also is the commenting. The feedback that can come in from anyone – more than just their teacher – will help to keep their interest going. They’re being noticed for their writing. It will certainly boost their confidence!

  3. Thanks for that Nathanael. We’re looking at incorporating blog writing into our writing programme. Desire2learn also has a blog feature for its users. As a teacher of English, what interests me is what makes good blog writing, or is a blog just another blank piece of paper?

    1. Thanks for your comment.
      What makes good blog writing? That’s a good question – one that I’m probably not the right person to answer. However, I think for students, what makes good blog writing is 1. something that interests them, or they’re passionate about or 2. something that is meaningful to themselves or others. So I guess, it doesn’t answer your question – a blog in many ways starts off being a blank piece of paper. Most of the blogs I follow have a central theme running through them (usually about education or e-learning). They are usually thoughts or reflections, however there are no “rules” to say what should or shouldn’t be in a blog. For me, a good blog post would provoke thought or emotions in a person – in my target audience.

      I know this doesn’t really help you as it’s quite new for me also – but I certainly think there is/could be great scope for student blogging.

      Maybe others have suggestions for what makes good blog writing?

      Nathaniel

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