Three years ago I started teaching College Composition to juniors at my school. The curriculum was designed to mirror a local college’s expectations, which meant that the genre and number of papers were set ahead of time. Don’t get me wrong, I love the papers we write and think they are meaningful and connected to workplace and career after college. The problem is that they limit the voice and choice of my students. Something had to give.
Thanks to my time with the Ohio Writing Project, I knew that voice and choice improves student writing. I also knew that authentic audiences and real world problems help students to see the purpose behind the projects. My solution: blogging.
In this third year of student blogs, I have fine tuned many expectations. Students know how to find and cite Creative Commons licensed works so they don’t plagiarize. They know how to tag and categorize their posts so others can find them. They know how to write meaningful comments so they can interact with other writers. They have followers outside of our school that read and comment on their posts. Some, in fact, even blog when it’s not assigned. By teaching them the ground rules and opening the door to whatever they passionately want to write about, I have solved my conundrum.
If you are interested in teaching your students to blog, below are two playlists I wrote for LRNG, a local nonprofit.
I also highly recommend the Student Blogging Challenge over on Edublogs for some great “how to” challenges to help students learn the skills they need in order to successfully blog.
Shout out to some of my favorite student bloggers:
https://krcwriting.wordpress.com/ (this one started blogging in Creative Writing in 9th grade w/me)
A previous year’s blog