Good Digital Parenting
Blog | March 27, 2013

Paper Blogs, Interactive eBook Blogs, and KidBlog: Three Great Ways To Start Blogging With Students

District teacher librarian, Van Meter Community School

One of my favorite activities to do with my students is blogging. I love the voice that blogging gives them while also connecting them to so many other wonderful things. 

Our 2nd through 4th graders at Van Meter Elementary started blogging this year. Not only do they LOVE blogging and connecting to others online, it also fits into several of the Writing Standards within the Common Core.

  • W.4.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. 
  • W.4.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. 
  • W.4.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 
  • W.4.5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. 

And the last Writing Standard that I want to highlight.... GDP Blog Paper Blog (1)

Blogging is perfect for this one! Our students are using KidBlog as their blogging platform. They can produce posts and publish them online with KidBlog. The students are also connecting and collaborating with their classmates and other young people globally through writing, sharing, reading, commenting, and even responding to comments made on their posts. 

(By the way....the screen shot of the Writing Standard above is from the Common Core Standards app from MasteryConnect, which I love having so handy all the time.)

Before the students started using Kidblog, they had to learn what a blog is, how to write a blog post, and how to comment and respond as well. 

There are several ways we got our students ready for blogging. 

First, we used the new interactive eBooks from Rosen Publishing to work on creating a great blog post with text and images. Within these eBooks, students work through steps on each page to create a blog post, one of the digital content creation tools included within these eBooks. This really helped the students think about the structure of a blog post, along with what makes one interesting so others will be excited to read it. 

At the end of the book and when the students have created their very own blog post, they can be printed off and used with the next step of the activity: commenting on others’ blog posts. 

But FIRST, we must work on commenting and responding to comments. This is where using their printed off posts, or “paper blogs” comes in. With paper blogging, they not only get much better at writing an interesting, "hook the reader" type post, they also become comfortable sharing their work and looking at others work with confidence and care. 

The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders created amazing paper blogs. They could write about anything personal and that they thought their classmates would be interested in hearing and learning too.

It was so much fun for them to share their paper blogs. We went around the room and read all of the blog posts to get started with this activity. 

GDP Blog Paper Blog (2)I explained what a comment was and how to write them. We talked about what makes a meaningful comment and what does not. They would take a sticky note, write their comment, and place it on the outside boarder of the blog post. They had 3-4 minutes for each comment and then they were to pass it to the person sitting next to them. 

Every one of the students LOVED making comments on their friend’s blog posts. It was so much fun watching them get excited about which blog they were going to read next and their seriousness about the comments they were writing.

After about 30 minutes, I had the students find their own blog post. I wanted them to have plenty of time to read the comments that everyone left around their post. 

The level of engagement and excitement during this project was amazing! They took this paper blogging experience very seriously but had tons of fun too. After they read the comments, they took more sticky notes and responded to the comments that were made on their own blog. 

And something really awesome happened during this part too.... 

They started passing around their blogs again so others could also respond to the comments. It was so much fun to watch this happen on its own. 

I loved what happened in the library with our paper blogging activities this year. It was a great success for many reasons -- the students could individualize their learning; the students collaborated and created with others; and most of all...I experienced over 120 elementary students get VERY excited about learning. It was so exciting and inspiring to see. 

We are now almost into the 4th quarter of school. Our students have been using KidBlog for several weeks now. They are sharing their blogs so others can enjoy reading them too. We have connected with other elementary classes that are blogging by adding them to our “Blog Roll” in our KidBlogs. I also share their blogs on Twitter using the hashtag #comments4kids. This hashtag encourages others to read their blogs and make comments from around the world.

I encourage you to try out blogging with your students. Giving your students the power to be heard through blogging truly can make a difference.