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Blogging in the Elementary Classroom

By Susan Luft
 | Sep 29, 2017

Students BloggingIt’s September, spirits and motivation are high, and most quality assignments seem to be well-received. Still, when a group of teachers approached me about introducing our elementary school students to blogging, I proceeded with caution. Sure, the students want to set up their blog site, find flashy themes with cool wallpaper, and add widgets that teachers were not aware even existed—but what is the real purpose of a student blog? Is it simply a container to fill with a year’s worth of assignments made public, or is it a writing tool that gives agency, voice, and community to its creator? I believe it is the latter.

Working together, we decided to approach the work of blogging with students as a genre study. We set to create a series of blogging lessons that we used inquiry to define the common features of the medium and then developed and curated a set of mentor texts. What we found was that blogs, or weblogs, are unique.

So, what are the characteristics that define the genre of blogging? We observed that most blogs are:

  • Public
  • Short
  • Specialized in an area of interest or expertise
  • Personal and informal
  • Interactive (allowing for feedback and conversations)
  • Frequently updated
  • Unstructured (can be incomplete, open-ended, and ongoing)
  • Multimodal
  • Varied in format

When we study blogging with our students, we give them opportunity to study different features and formats of digital communication, as well as concepts such as digital citizenship, digital identity, and critical literacy. Furthermore, blogging is motivating for young learners; recent research shows that students who create their own blogs are motivated to write both inside and outside of the classroom.

Through blogging, educators can help students build capacity to communicate with broader audiences and to understand the features of electronic communication. These skills can be developed at a very young age as the ability to manipulate digital text begins as early as kindergarten. As New York-based educators bid farewell to the Common Core State Standards and embrace the recently adopted New York State Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards, with its focus on 21st-century learning, now is as good a time as any to begin blogging with your students. 

Susan Luft is an elementary English language arts coordinator for Scarsdale Public Schools, New York, and an adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education. Luft is also a member of the Digital Literacy Collaborative project.

This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

1 comment

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  1. Lavanya | Nov 07, 2017
    In elementary stage blog.. nice to read

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