How I Got Started With Blogging In The Classroom

Getting Better Together

As a sixth grade reading teacher, I'm always trying to think of ways to keep my students motivated. As a veteran teacher, I'm always trying to think of ways to stay current in my practice. This year, as a Teaching Channel Laureate, I decided that I'd experiment with blogging myself, then give my students the opportunity to become bloggers.

Earlier this year, I worked with my students to ask questions using Blooms Taxonomy in order to have deep discussions about text. My next goal was to have my students get those deep discussions into written form, without feeling as though they had to write a "paper." Blogging seemed to be one possibility. Blogs represented a venue for my students' writing, a way to solicit responses, and a move into a modern form of communication.

First, though, I had to learn more about blogging. Once I did, I brought my new-found knowledge into the classroom.

My sixth graders only have reading for 55 minutes a day. In my Getting Better Together video, you'll see how my students utilize their discussion skills before they dive into the task of writing a blog post from the perspective of a character in the book Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli. My students love their discussions and, once they get started, are extremely motivated writers.

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In this next video, I use a Twitter-like exit slip to assess their understanding of blogging. These 140-character reflections are quick and fun!

I also created an interactive video for Tch Video Lounge, in which two of my students engage in a discussion about Stargirl, utilizing their questioning skills. Add your comments and questions to the video to help me improve my practice as I prepare for the upcoming school year. I can’t wait to learn from you!

As I continue this journey of blogging with my students, I'm growing more savvy at using technology as a tool for learning. My students came to realize, through blogging, that writing can be fun. I hope that as you view these videos, you'll see how blogging can benefit your students, too.

This work was made possible through support by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Maria Perryman is a National Board Certified Teacher, America Achieves Fellow, Illinois Teacher Champion, and sixth grade reading teacher in Chicago's Public Schools. This is her 30th year of teaching. She has experience as a school-wide literacy coach, city-wide reading coach, and assistant principal. Maria has also made workshop presentations at state and national conferences, as well as in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Follow Maria on Twitter: @pedcompany

Maria, I enjoyed watching your video so much! It was really exciting to discover how you used blogging in your classroom and how you successfully managed attention problems. Besides, this experience will help every student from your class to be prepared for life as an adult - when they will study at colleges and will write research papers. It's better to teach them how to avoid accidental plagiarism (for example, this article about plagiarism issue could be helpful to teach them some ethical writing basics and how to deal with copyright now, while they're young. Help your students to build a brighter future and to be decent citizens of their country!
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Maria, Thanks so much for the inspiration! I was just talking to my daughter (who is a kindergarten teacher) last night (!) about wanting to start a blog (because I love to write). As we teachers know, our passions "rub off" on our students. I love how you went on this journey WITH your students and let them know that you were in this together. How often did you comment on their blogs? How did you choose your blog site? Thanks for being you--I look forward to more of your posts.
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Thank you Amy! I am excited to be an inspiration to you! I encourage you to start your blog. That is my project for the summer. I got so wrapped up with making sure my students grasped blogging that I put my blog website on hold. I try to comment on their blogs as much as possible. When a student asked me to look at their blog post I would make a conscience effort to read it and respond to their post immediately. I used because I felt it was student friendly and safe.
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Thank you Michael! I am so glad you enjoyed the video. I agree with you about teaching students to be aware of accidental plagiarism. Our students should be aware of this at an early age. We had some issues with our 6th graders this year about plagiarism.
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Maria, I truly enjoyed watching your video and was inspired by how you were able to modernize writing instruction in the classroom and make it relevant to your students. I am a teaching who is slowly returning back to the field and I am always looking for ways to stay updated with the best practices. Do you envision this skill of blogging applicable to lower grades?
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