What’s the Big Deal about Blogs?

You’re curious about blogging?  You’re willing to explore and play with a few new ideas?  That’s wonderful!  I hope that this post will help you on your way to find some answers…

Who Dares to Teach

First, let’s start at the beginning:  What is a Blog?

I really appreciate reading blogs from other educators, and I learn a lot about student blogs because other teachers are willing to share the work from their classrooms.

If you aren’t familiar with blogs, you could compare them to journals.  The bonus with writing and then sharing your thoughts on the internet allows you (or your students) to benefit from feedback.

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Excited to try?  I hope so!  Here’s an excellent resource made by my talented #artsed colleague, Ian Sands:

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The Basics & Beyond…

Already started?  Ready for a bit more?  Great!  Explore the sites listed below when you’re ready to dive in:

 I would highly recommend that you explore the Comments 4 Kids website:

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As explained on their ‘Welcome to Comments4Kids’ page, “Comments4Kids is a way for students and teachers to find blogs to comment on and to get their own posts commented on.”  I find that it is much more than that, though.  Not only does this site promote student learning through blogs, but it will provide you with resources to help get you started.

If you have an account on Twitter, you’ll notice that many people use the hashtag #Comments4Kids to share student work.  Try clicking on a few of the links to view the blogs that have been shared, and if you’re brave, maybe consider leaving a comment for a student!

Another really helpful site is the Educational Blogging Wiki, made by Linda Yollis:

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Linda has included several videos and links to helpful resources that will help you answer any questions you might have about using blogs with your students.  I would encourage you to explore several of the links that she has provided.

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Wes Fryer‘s site is filled with amazing resources! (blog info here)

There are several reasons why I have included Wes’s site as a helpful resource.  Not only is he an extremely dedicated educator, blogger and speaker, but he also experiments with a variety of technological tools that are fun to play with:

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 6.20.40 PMSeriously, who wouldn’t want to check this stuff out? Thanks Wes!

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Take a look at Pernille Ripp‘s site & benefit from her experiences. So helpful!

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I couldn’t exactly find a chart that explains the different parts of a blog, but my friends Will Chamberlain and Doug Peterson shared this helpful illustration:

simplified-blogging

Source:  Wrong Hands

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My Two Cents

I can’t explain exactly what it is about blogging that allows me to think a bit differently, and possibly to think a bit more.  I could liken it to the way an artist nurtures an idea: from a simple thought that is slowly and carefully processed, it brews in my mind while I am busy doing other things, and I can see my idea from a variety of perspectives.  This is why I want to share a few things that I’ve learned about blogging with my colleagues — to provide an option for them to share their thoughts with others, and to help them consider blogging as a tool that their students could use in the classroom.

I have two blogs:  one that I use to write about art & educational thinking, and another that I use for my art classes.  I enjoy both for very different reasons.  My first blog (that I have used for this post) allows me to think about teaching and learning from a variety of perspectives.  I sort out my thinking by writing about many topics, and I often hope for a bit of feedback (comments) from other educators to help me sort out my thoughts.

My class blog (Art With Mrs. Rose) has helped me communicate with my students and their parents (and others).  I use different pages to provide my contact information, pictures from our classroom, and the links to each of my students’ blogs.  It’s so much easier to share resources using our class blog, and it organizes information efficiently.

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All of my students have their own digital portfolio (blog).  They have benefitted from my feedback, comments from their peers and from visitors.

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Thanks for taking the time to consider the benefits of student blogging.  I hope that you feel free to explore some of the sites above, and I welcome you to leave a comment below if you have questions or if you would like to discuss any ideas.

If you know of another handy site that could help others as they begin to learn about student blogging, please include the link in a comment!  Thanks for your help! :)

process

Remember, no one is an expert when they begin to learn.  Enjoy the journey!

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Thank you…

~ to Wes Fryer, Paula Naugle, Michelle Cordy & Will Chamberlain for collaborating on our Student Blogging Google Doc

~ to the #HandsOnMedia13 team:  Can you believe how far we’ve come?!

~ to each of the people who have created the resources used in this post:  By sharing your knowledge, everyone benefits.  (Do you remember the days when people locked their binders in filing cabinets so nobody could steal their treasured work?)

~ to my students:  Not only have you experimented with blogging, you’ve shared some great work, and helped many people understand why digital portfolios can make it easier to learn (and succeed)!

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*Update:  the following video was recently shared on Twitter, and although it focuses on schools in Prince Edward Island, the concepts are relevant everywhere:

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28 Responses to What’s the Big Deal about Blogs?

  1. Ian says:

    Wow! This is chock full o good stuff!

  2. Thanks so much for the kind words! I love to encourage teachers to blog, and I think your post helps direct teachers to some great resources! :-) Blogging has strengthen the literacy skills of my second/third graders and flattened the walls of my classroom. I highly recommend it for all!

    Happy blogging!
    ~Linda Yollis

    • colleenkr says:

      You’re welcome! I’m very grateful for all of your hard work creating & sharing awesome resources. I know that those who are new to blogging will really benefit from your site!

  3. What a great post! You’ve included such a wide variety of resources. This would be a great place to start for someone who was new to blogging. Well done!
    Blogging, and the digital portfolios that it has spawned for my six-year-olds, have become such an integral part of my classroom, that I can no longer imagine teaching any other way.

    • colleenkr says:

      The video that shows pictures of your students who are busy taking pictures made me smile. They are so engaged in their activities and are benefitting from your enthusiasm — you can’t ask for better than that!
      It’s true that once you begin using blogs (& digital portfolios), there are so many benefits. I would be so sad if I wasn’t able to use them now… and we’ve only just begun to discover all of the perks.

  4. dougpete says:

    Very nice summary and introduction to blogging, Colleen. Good luck with your presentation.

    I think that the concept of giving the blogger a voice where they may never have had that voice before is important. Particularly in education where we applaud students and teachers for making their learning visible, you’d be hard pressed to find a better tool than the blog.

    • colleenkr says:

      That’s exactly how I feel, and although I know that there are so many benefits for students, I’m so thankful that other educators blog too. I have learned so much from teachers who are willing to share their thoughts, their projects and even their successes & failures.

      Now that I think of it, I should mention your blog too! You have shared so many great posts, and you have profiled the work by many other educators. ** For others who have the chance, check out Doug’s blog, http://dougpete.wordpress.com (make sure to spend some time browsing a variety of topics!)

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  6. Ed Casey says:

    This post was fantastic! I plan to have my students start blogging next school year. This post will be so helpful as a resource. The videos are amazing. The set up of this post and how you use various media on it could serve as an example to students. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • colleenkr says:

      Ed, I’m so glad to hear that you’re going to help your students start blogging! I have enjoyed it quite a bit, and although there were a few students who said they weren’t sure if they liked it, most of my students really benefitted from having a blog (digital portfolio). I really treasure the accessibility and the opportunity to provide students a voice to be shared with others, especially if they are shy and prefer writing to speaking.
      Please feel free to share ~ I’m so glad that you consider this a helpful resource! :)

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  11. Ruth G says:

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I’m currently an unemployed art teacher who only recently started a blog with the hope of sharing projects and connecting with others. I find it helpful so far to reflect on the good work I have helped students produce. At the moment I am putting up photos of students work and of other areas of art I am interested in that I see such as exhibitions, graffitti art etc. Just finding my feet with it at the moment but I love the idea of a class blog, hopefully when I secure employment

    • colleenkr says:

      I’m so glad to hear that you’re making such wonderful progress! Having a blog helps us to capture memories and thoughts, and allows us to share them as well. I’m sure that your future employers will appreciate your openness too.

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  16. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks so much for collecting and sharing these resources. Good stuff! I appreciate your advocacy encouraging teachers to embrace interactive writing!!!

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  18. Karin says:

    Very nice write-up. I absolutely appreciate this site.
    Continue the good work!

  19. Michelle says:

    What an inspiring piece! I have been messing about unsuccessfully with blogs for students and the wealth of ideas and links to resources here gives me the confidence to give them another go. I especially like the idea of the class blog hosting the students’ blogs. I came across your blog while reading about teaching introverts which I will be carrying out a research project on this year. I am awash with things to follow up and explore further! Thank you for taking the time to put all this together!

    • colleenkr says:

      Michelle, thank you so much for your comment. I’m so interested to learn more about what you are exploring re: introversion, and find it so interesting that you are also exploring blogging. These two topics are so important to me — please feel free to let me know if you’d like to chat about them some time.

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