Ideas For Student Bloggings From….How Do You Do What You Do!

Said it before and will say it AGAIN! Most great conversations and learning happens in the comments and not the post. But reading all comments on blogs can overwhelming so I thought I would help out.

Here are just some of the ideas I’ve gained from conversations on Student Blogging…..How Do You Do What You Do? post:

Student Login

56js.ca blog has a student login in their right side bar that logs directly to the Write Post area. This means there’s no need for the students to navigate the blog dashboard; they can immediately start writing their posts (thanks Jane Smith and Nathan Toft for sharing).

Here is the link they use http://jsmith.edublogs.org/wp-admin/post-new.php

Student Blogging Responsibilities

Linda Yollis assigns responsibilities such as “fact checkers” and “comment collectors” to her students.

The “fact checkers” are responsible for verifying the facts of a post with the writer(s) before the post comes to Linda to be published. The idea to have “fact checkers” arose from a writer who used the word country instead of county. Linda says she wanted her students to understand that it is important for information be correct for their readers, not because the teacher said so; this makes them take ownership of blog’s credibility. Using “fact checkers” also educates students about plagiarism and it’s not appropriate.

The “comment collectors” are students who are in charge of gathering data about comments; they monitor the number of comments on each post, who comments and if a parent comments. Part of the aim is to encourage students… to encourage their parents.

Make time to visit Linda’s post “How a post gets published on this blog” as it shows, using photos, the processes involved in their class blogging. PS remember to leave a comment to keep the “comment trackers’ busy and include which country you are from!

Building Student Blogging Skills

Mrs. Ilgunas starts her students on a class blog where they learn how to post comments and then progress to their own blogs. Here are the steps she has followed so far on their student blogs:

  1. Starting to blog
    • When students first log into their blogs she gets them to change their blog theme — she says this gets them hooked!
    • Next they go to settings, rename their blog, and if time, write their first post (making sure they know they can write in color if they so choose)
  2. Commenting on each others blogs
    • Leave comments for 3 other students on their blogs. She assigns whose blogs they have to comment on at first to make sure all students receive comments.
    • Add another post.
  3. Learn about Copyright

Daniel Moix shared his write-up of their blogging project including handouts, blog setup guide, project overview, and survey responses of the students afterward.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are lots of really great comments and conversations on Student Blogging…..How Do You Do What You Do? post. With some explanations of why educators blog with their students. It’s impossible to highlight all these comments here and I recommend you take the time to read through the comments.

Alternatively you could subscribe to The Edubloggers comment feed in your feed reader (here are instructions on how to do this).

Please feel free to leave a comment to tell us “How you do what you do” when blogging with your students. Would love to share more tips and ideas of works well plus challenges you have faced.

If you are enjoying reading this blog, please consider feed-icon32x32 Finding and Adding Creative Commons Images To Your Blog PostsSubscribing For Free!

Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

40 Responses

  1. It’s easier to get students commenting on blogs if it’s part of the requirements of the activity. If you don’t actually specify it, do they bother? I don’t think s; just like the majority of people who read this won’t bother to comment, but I agree the best (or most informative) content often comes from what your peers say in the comment box.

    Thanks for the above Sue, informative and helpful as always. Lots of links to follow and read.

    David.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi David, glad my post was helpful. It is an unfortunate aspect of commenting that to start the process of with students you often need to make it a required activity. Downside of this is the types of comments they leave aren’t necessarily achieving what you really want; which is why you also need to build in teaching aspects like what makes a good comment and a reward system that encourages them to really extend the conversation.

      We have exactly the same issues with adult bloggers. Which I find incredible since many of them are prolific bloggers and twitterers. Last year we were involved with the Comment Challenge — to make educators appreciate the need. I’ve had people contacting me to do this Challenge again (I’ve been hiding) as running challenges are very intensive.

      • wilson says:

        I appreciate the attention that was brought about regarding making responding to blogs a requirement. I agree that the comments made are not the type that are expected by the teacher.

        I was wondering if there is an easy rubric or guide that I could use for my classroom so that students understand what sort of information or feedback meets, and exceeds, the expectations I hold for the comments? If there is any information that anyone can lend please do so. I am new to the blogging atmosphere so I will appreciate anything I can get.

        • Mrs. Yollis says:

          Wilson,
          I wanted to have meaningful comments as well. What I realized was that my students really didn’t know how to comment.

          I created a worksheet with several fake comments. Some were quality comments that added to a post and some were basically a “This is cool!!!!!!” type comment. The discussion helped my third graders understand how to add content within a comment.

          The comments are improving.

          Hope that helps!
          Linda Yollis

          • Sue Waters says:

            Hi Linda, boy the comments are busy on this post today which is really cool but so funny that you wrote your comment as I did.

            Totally agree with you. I find adults can also struggle with knowing how to comment. Which is why you need to breaking blogging apart into its different components. Commenting is a really important component which is frequently overlooked at the detriment of the blogging program.

            Are you willing to share a copy of your worksheet so others can see how you are doing it for your age group?

          • Mrs. Yollis says:

            Sue,
            Here is a link to a page I created about teaching elementary age students to comment. I teach third grade and this is how I taught the skill to my students this year.

            http://www.myteacherpages.com/webpages/yollis/blogging.cfm?subpage=892494

            Many discussion were had about what makes a good blog comment. We often used real comments that we received. That is the best way. Having students evaluate whether a comment has content or not is very helpful to the process.

            At the bottom of my link is a pdf to a worksheet I made. It is filled with fake comments. As a class, we read each fake comment and assessed whether it should be published or rejected.

            Hope it helps!
            Linda Yollis

        • Sue Waters says:

          Some of the best work relating to student blogging have been done by Konrad Glogowski. You can find links to his post here. He does have some guides there to different aspects of building your blog.

          David Truss has also written some excellent posts on knowing when as an educator you need to write comments on students posts and knowing when it.

          Last year we did run a Comment Challenge for educators and we have had people asking when we plan to run it again this year. I am considering running it for both educators and students in a slightly different form.

          The whole idea is its focus would be on the commenting aspect, and improving what comments are written as opposed to the Student blogging challenge which focuses more on writing posts, blog design and connecting.

          Trouble is these types of challenge are huge to facilitate and quite involved. I would need people willing to help me run it.

      • hi sue,,I have read about your blogs. And I’m glad to meet you

  2. brooke110gs says:

    Hi im brooke i cant recycle because i live in the country like on a farm and if i recycled it would cost alot more than if i were living in a town or city so were either burn our garbage or bring it to london recycling about twice a year

    Brooke
    http://brooke110gs.edublogs.org/

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Brooke, thanks for explaining why you can’t recycle easily where you live. I dropped past your blog and it is looking really good! Love your pink post as it is my favorite color.

  3. mrizzo says:

    I will soon be teaching a workshop on blogging and I love your idea of blogging ‘responsibilities’ for students. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Yes Linda Yollis use of making students responsible for different tasks is excellent. Another great idea I have seen is a teacher created a cake of their ClustrMaps to celebrate so many visits to their blog.

  4. Mrs. Yollis says:

    Sue,
    Thank you for mentioning my classroom blog in this post! My students were thrilled to see our blog talked about and equally excited to received so many international visitors!

    I have learned so much from all the sharing opportunities you provide.

    Sincerely,
    Linda Yollis

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Linda, not a problem at all. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas. Lots of people have really loved your suggestions and I hope they have dropped past to leave some comments.

  5. svbsky says:

    hi i’m Sahana. i have a blog too. i am a student who lives in Illinois!!! how do you get so many people from all over the world to come see your blog?? i have people from all over the world but, i only have it from few places. my site is svbsky.edublogs.org visit it soon and please leave the answer to my question on a commet!!!! thanks!!! ;-)

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Sahana, re your comment on The Edublogger. “how do you get so many people from all over the world to come see your blog?” I’m in a very lucky position that lot of people see what I write because my blog appears in every dashboard on Edublogs.

      But it is hard work building up an audience. One aspects is exactly as you did. Visiting other people’s blogs and leaving comments that show you are interested in what they have said. Another is to respond back to comments on your own posts.

      I also suggest you check out the students in the student blogging competition.

      • laurenc604 says:

        Hi,
        On my blog, I am unable to respond to other people’s comments like on your blog. Do you know how I can get my blog to allow me to do that? Thanks so much!
        Happy Blogging!
        Lauren :)

        • Sue Waters says:

          Hi Lauren, I use threaded comments which is a feature of Edublogs supporter. Perhaps the next time we run a competition you might win an Edublogs supporter so you can have threaded comments?

  6. Mrs. Butts says:

    Hi,
    Do the posts written on 56js.ca.blog pass through a moderator like comments or do they post directly?

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Mrs Butts, yes Jane Smith’s 56js.ca.blog is set up so that all comments posted must be approved by an administrator. There are pros and cons to this approach.

  7. aundrea713 says:

    I love the idea of specifying which blogs students are to comment on in the beginning. I think this would open students up to ideas and view points they might not have experienced otherwise. My only question would be how do I monitor this as a teacher? Would I need to view each student’s blog each day? As a middle school teacher with over 100 students, this could become quite time consuming. Any suggestions?

    • Sue Waters says:

      I’ve written a post exactly on “how do I monitor this as a teacher?”. My recommendation is you set up your Google Reader so that all the comments and posts from the blogs feed into your reader. That will save you considerable time.

      Here is the post for you to read. What you need to focus on is 1) you do need to engage with them to some extent on their blogs by leaving comments that add value their posts i.e. in a sense you need to be modeling the types of comments you want them to be writing 2) you also need to focus on how you can get them connecting, commenting on each others blog posts and eventually people’s posts outside of the classroom.

      Where I often see student blogging struggling is educators fail to build in the comment aspect of blogging so what you see is a lot of really lonely blogs with no comments. That isn’t engaging for the students; when you think about it no different from doing normal classwork. When you add in comments, especially from students in other countries, suddenly you see students really engaged and excited.

  8. I have been fascinated reading the posts about using blogs with students but I wonder what application a blog has for students in chemistry class. Setting up a blog and requiring students to post seems like a requiriement for students in any high school but I’m wondering if it is only english or social studies teachers requiring student blogging. Any science teachers out there using blogs to great effect?

    • quiescence says:

      I am NOT a chemistry/science teacher but I still think blogging can find its place in your classroom. I know at my school we do warm-ups or bell assignments while minor, beginning-of-class items are being taken care of. If you wanted to, I bet you can pose a problem or question for the students to blog about as their assignment regarding chemistry. I am sure there are real-world events that seriously involve chemistry/science that the students would want to discuss or comment about and share with their classmates.

      I know that this is sort of a generic suggestion, but I thought I would put it out there just in case it helps you. If I come across anything that would make this suggestion more substantial (like an actual example of a writing prompt that involves a real-life chemistry controversy or problem) then I will try to sent it to you.

      Have a great week!

      • Does each student at your school carry a laptop? Is that how they blog a warm up assignment in class? I like your thinking about blog postings about solving a real world dilemma involving Chemistry.

        • Sue Waters says:

          Great questions and discussions Christine and Quiescence. Blogging is excellent regardless of subject area it is just that we don’t always appreciate why because it changes how learning happens.

          It’s really hard to explain how blogging changes the learning unless you have experienced it yourself. Part of the learning happens while writing posts and rest is from commenting on their own posts and other bloggers posts.

          Writing blog posts increases reading, writing and digital literacy skills while also making the student reflect more deeply on the information they are sharing. Comments by both the student and other commenters makes each reflect on aspects that they hadn’t considered.

          So if we consider chemistry there is a lot to learn and more importantly the research aspect. For example imagine how more powerful their learning becomes when they are write a deep reflection of experiment. Then people with expertise, or students from other locations studying similar topics, write comments to suggest alternative ideas they haven’t considered.

          Last year one of the primary school classes wrote a post on an experiment they had done on battery life. Since I am a scientist, with a research background, I was able to share my expertise and provide them ideas of how to extend their experiment while also considering other aspects of experimental design.

          Here are “links to some science blogs I’ve been bookmarking using my delicious account.

  9. svbsky says:

    hi its Sahana again,
    i was looking at your map and i think you have someone from Madagascar!!!! i told my friend about it, and she wont stop bugging me by saying ” you have to get someone from Madagascar”
    can you please tell me how to get people from there????
    if you do my friend will be really happy and will stop bugging me!!
    also, how do you enter the blogging competition?
    i want to enter it. are there any prizes for the people who win the blogging competition?? please reply back on my blog and put me on you blogroll if you have one!!!
    thanks,
    Sahana B-c)

    • Sue Waters says:

      Thanks for your great comment Sahana!

      As I discussed in the email I have got a couple ideas for blog posts from your comment so I really appreciate it. Keep up the excellent blogging! Glad we managed to get someone from Madagascar for you!

  10. gwells says:

    I am taking a class right now where we need to either participate or create blog or wiki. I really liked the information given here. I like the ‘fact checker’ concept. This really gives students responsibility. Did others find it difficult to put this in as part of an activity or find students were resistent, forgot to do this at night etc.? Also – did anyone have school log in issues. If found when trying to set up a wiki for my class that it required me to get their emails which they didn’t all have, never received my invite, or couldn’t access at school once set up. This just ended that activity part immediately. Way too much troubleshooting. What experiences have others had? I currently teach High School and the class I tried to implement it in was International Business. Gwen

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Gwen, if you use the Blog & User creator to create the student blogs, and select advanced features, you can specify the student passwords. This makes it less of an issue especially if you add yourself as admin to the blogs.

      • gwells says:

        Thanks – I will give it a try. Also – do you find that when a lot of people respond to one comment it is difficult to follow since there are no discussion threads? What do you feel is the best way to provide organization to responses? I am just curious if I would like people to provide a response and then respond to other responses…Is it pretty much just a box within a box etc… Thanks for your patience…just trying to figure it all out!

        • Sue Waters says:

          No problem re-patience. Always happy to provide ideas when I can.

          I really like using threaded comments. While it is harder for me sometimes to locate a new comment it does means that I can respond directly to each person. I can also change the number of threads each comment has so I can have lots of extra comments in response. That is how I like to tackle it.

  11. tilgunas says:

    One more thing…when I teach how to comment, the class is commenting all at once. We often get the message: You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down. Then their comment is gone when they go back! So…I teach up-front about the importance of copying their comment before they submit. This protects them if their comment doesn’t go through for any reason! There’s always a few who learn the hard way, but most do copy, and we can save them from the dreaded re-write when it doesn’t go through.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @tilgunas, Good point and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this again lately. I probably need to write a follow up posts on why it happens and tips like yours.

  12. angliakids says:

    Hi Sue,
    I continue learning and enjoying from your blogging tips and ideas. And I am starting to use the blog with my students. Since my students are pretty young (10 years old) I decided to create a school blog, where each of them can contribute by posting comments related to the topic of the week.

    Sooooo, I wonder if you can help me with the following issue. Yesterday my students were posting their comments in their categorie (each team has a category with the name of their team) The comments were related with 1. Starting to share…, but after 7 or 8 comments, when they wanted to post it and click submit comment, a blank page appeared with the message of slow down..what does this means?

    I am new to blogging, as you can see, and I will appreciate your help on this issue, I plan to use my blog by posting comments from students around the world, but it seems it only let us a certain amount of comments..am I right? How can I improve this?

    On the other hand, how can I work that the comment each team post only appears on their respective category and not in all the teams catergories?

    Any suggestion for making the most of my blog is very welcome.!!

    Thanks a lot!!

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