Blogging Adventures with Students

Happy Friday from Carla at Comprehension Connection!  Fall seems to be moving in to our part of the US, and we are settling in to a new school year. Things in my classroom have been a bit hectic since the addition of a new teacher meant relocating my classroom a week into school.  However, the dust has settled and we're into the groove of learning, so why not add a new adventure to the routine, right?  We have to keep education lively for our kids in this technology age, and over the past year, I've been mulling over the idea of blogging with my students. 
Blogging with students is lots of fun. Check out this post for how to get started.
The first step for me was to get a blog design done.  I wanted our project to be professional looking, yet kid friendly.  I checked with a few blog designers I knew, and Kristy at Kristybear Designs made it very reasonable for me to do.  I could not be more pleased with the fun and fresh blog design she made for me .  My classroom has a "Wild About Reading" theme, so in keeping with the wild animal theme, our blog is titled, "Where Wild Readers Roam".  After all, I am working hard to build wild readers daily. Here's a sneak peek at our design, but stay tuned for the wonderful projects we will be showcasing.

Before we can begin posting, there are a few management related steps to address.  I want to make sure that each participating student abides by blogging etiquette and keeps posts positive in nature. Parents will also need to give permission for students to participate.  Students will blog under a pen name or with their first name only since this is a public forum, and photos will be carefully formatted to protect identities when needed.  Here is a sample blog permission letter that could be modified to fit your needs. To use it, just click on the image and modify as you like.
Blogging use varies depending upon the grade level of the students, the students level of understanding with technology, and upon the goals of a given assignment.  In our school, we house grades Pre-K through 5th Grade.  I have partnered with our technology specialist and our gifted coordinator to organize the opportunity for the students, and our plan is to form a core team of students who will work with staff to secure the content and pictures, write up the posts (probably in MS Word), and upload the content with the assistance of moi!  Through this process, the students will experience the "Train the Trainer" philosophy, and gradually, we'll include others who are interested. The hope is that the enthusiasm will encourage blog reading and commenting.  

As I planned out this project, I looked at other classroom blogs and websites to determine the best platform and ways to use the blog.  For me, Blogger was the best option since I was familiar with how to manipulate pictures, share permalinks, schedule posts to display at certain times, use labels, and add pages to share links, photos, etc.  The goals I have in mind for our blog will not be class specific, but rather be for our whole school.  We will be using our blog similar to a website or newspaper.  

In addition to Blogger, I have explored include Edmodo which has a "Facebook" appearance. I used this with my students last year, and what I loved about Edmodo is the capability to hold class discussions on our favorite book.  It is very easy to moderate and post to, but the viewing is limited to just the class using it. 

Another option is Edublogs. The positive is security which may allow more interaction between students within the classroom.  The layouts and designs are limited as well as the audience.  It is simple to set up though, so for busy teachers, this may be a great first step to give it a try.

Finally, Kidblog is another option too.  They advertise that their blogs can be set up in 20 seconds. Students are not required to give an email in order to participate.  Again, this is a quick and simple option for teachers and students just getting started and who want limited viewing.
I am very excited to see where this blog goes.  I am going to discuss with our student team to see what interests they have, and we'll see how to channel those ideas.  As much as possible, I'd like to let our students take on a leadership role. I have a few ideas of my own to get us started.  
  1. Book reviews-What a great way for students to discuss their reading and learn from each other!  I think having students read with an analytic eye helps students identify their preferences, but may also offer students other options that they may not otherwise check out.
  2. Literacy Projects-Many students love hands-on learning and creating.  Literacy projects also offer a cross curricular opportunity where reading teachers can partner with art teachers to explore authors, illustrators, and create.  Projects can be easily photographed and described on a blog.
  3. Literacy Events within the School-Communication is very important, and using the blog to publicize literacy events improves the home/school connection.  Students can increase the motivation to participate through their posts about such events.
  4. Showcasing Written Work-I am really looking forward to uploading my students' work. They work hard at writing.  Even though we're still learning, I think knowing their work will be published and read will cause students to polish sentences and improve work quality.
  5. Current Events-Students can write about grade level field trips, school functions, share thank you notes with the community, and other school or grade level events.
  6. Interviews with Visitors or Authors-Students can share interview questions and responses that happen with visitors to our building in a news reporter fashion.  
  7. Fun Photos-Kids love taking pictures, and why not have them write about them.  They can write clues for readers to follow to determine what the mystery picture is, describe how the object they photograph is made (artwork, food), or just photos of nature.
  8. How-To Writing-Cooking in the classroom, group building projects, or crafts can be demonstrated (and videotaped) for sharing.  
As you can tell, I am very excited about this adventure, and I can not wait to write up a sequel in a few months telling you how our project is going.  If you have experience with blogging in the classroom, please share your experiences in the comments below.  I look forward to reading and learning from you too. 


  1. I just started a class blog, too! I was going to use it primarily to communicate with parents, but your post has given me lots of great ideas about how to involve my students more! Thank you!

    1. Let me know if you do, Jennifer. I'd love to comment as a group from time to time.

  2. My students have started blogging this year as well. We are using KidBlog. We are learning and growing in it. We blogged about our first days, September 11 and this last week about International Dot Day. It is awesome to give them an audience!

    1. Terry, I think it is absolutely wonderful that you are tackling this technology initiative with first graders! I love reading their writing! :)

      I mentioned you and your Kidblog to Carla when she launched her student-blog. I'm so excited for both of you and can't wait to read about how your year goes. :)

    2. Ditto what Wendy said. That is awesome! Please share the link with me (privately if you like). I'd love to give your firsties some positives if able!

  3. I think blogging with students is a great authentic writing experience - I just have to figure out how to make it work in middle school!

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

    1. Blogger works well, but it isn't as private. I think the platform selected depends on the goals you have for the blog. With ours, I thought of it as more about publishing versus exchanging information between students. I will let you know how it goes. I follow your blog. :-)

  4. Carla, I think this is such a great idea...the possibilities are endless and your students are going to LOVE it!

    1. I think they will too. I am trying to get a few teachers to help me with it. Things have been pretty hectic here at the beginning, but I think once we get a few posts up, the enthusiasm will spread.