Mrs. Smith's Blog

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Blogs have been around for years, however, in more recent years they have become a more popular tool in the classroom. Fortunately, blogs do not require extensive knowledge of technology and can be used at any time. Blogging in the classroom allows teachers and students to communicate. I believe one of the greatest benefits of blogging is that it goes along with Marinette High School's literacy initiative. Our goal is to increase literacy awareness and implement various strategies into the classroom.
This article pointed out some great benefits of blogging that I had not really even thought of. In the classroom it seems that it is always the same students that participate in class, while the quiet ones sit and listen. This gives students that are not likely to participate willingly in a classroom discussion an opportunity to voice their opinion online (which they may be more apt to do). Rather than having a huge stack of journals to read, it would also allow me as an English teacher to interact with the students on a continuous basis rather than only when I collect journals. According to the article, students also put more effort in their blog writing with the idea that more than just their teacher may be reading their entries. It allows students to write more often (without the abundance of teacher paper work) and can also be useful in any classroom. This I believe is also a way to increase writing across all content areas and not just in the English classroom. After figuring out a difficult math concept students can blog about what they learned and the process, again going with our literacy initiative at Marinette High School.

The article addresses some of the "don'ts" of blogging in the classroom. If you don't set up some guidelines with the students you may run into some problems. These days cyberbullying has become a huge problem, so making students sign a "code of conduct" is a great way to try to eliminate some of the problems that could potentially arise. The students need to be aware that blogging is not facebook! It is a way to respond interactively and not a place for social networking. Having some sort of structure also makes it easier for some blogs to not get lost. I love the idea of posting an article and having students respond. I often assign articles with my sophomore English class, having students annotate the article and write a journal response; but it I think that the students may respond to reading the article in a more positive manner if they can blog their responses and read what others have to say about it. It is also important that the teacher blogs as well, not just leaving it up to the students. According to Julie Sturgeon, "The sky's the limit-it's a new literacy. Reading and blog online and learning how hyperlinks and the comments work require skills that if we don't teach them, then who will?" I think that any way to increase literacy is beneficial to the student, and as teachers it is our job to come up with innovative ways to implement our lesson plans.