Student blogging empowers students to take charge of their learning, gives their learning purpose while helping with reading, writing, digital citizenship, artistic, critical thinking, and social skills.
Student blogging programs are often teacher-led. But it doesn’t need to be this way!
Students can gain so much from student-led blogging projects. So I asked Noelle and Sagarika, Grade 8 Students, from The Badger Rock Times to tell us on their own words the benefits of their blogging project.
About the Student-Led Blogging Project
Earlier this year, I received a message from Mr. Kaio at Badger Rock Middle School in Madison, Wisconsin letting me know what a great job his students had done using Edublogs for the blogging project he had assigned to his Language Arts classes.
Two students in particular, Noelle Livingston and Sagarika Pal, did exceptionally well with the project and won the school’s News Blog Award. After discussing the project in more detail with Mr. Kaio and her students, I learned that as the student editors of their class blog Noelle and Sagarika were responsible for all aspects of the blog – from creating and editing content to generating interest in and increasing the readership of their blog. They basically got a real, honest-to-goodness introduction to the life of a professional blogger!
When discussing the blogging process with Noelle and Sagarika, their enthusiasm about the project was evident. It was also clear that they had learned a lot from the experience. It seemed like a subject worth sharing with other Edubloggers, and I agreed to do a post about their experience for our blog.
Not too long after I began writing my post, however, it dawned on me that Noelle and Sagarika are experienced bloggers and editors now, and I should let them tell you in their own words…
Lessons From “The Badger Rock Times”
by Noelle Livingston and Sagarika Pal
It’s second quarter and we (two nerdy eighth graders) have just been chosen to be the editors of our class blog. The blog will consist of articles, essays, poems, and later on art work, a scavenger hunt, and a favorite song chosen by our class.
Our blog helped our class become more motivated to write, improve our writing skills, and become more comfortable putting our pieces out into the real world. With an audience other than our language arts teacher, we were motivated to put more effort into our work!
The first step in our editorial process was to get kids to start writing. We asked them to write pieces and then submit them in to be edited. The pieces centered around the writing that Mr. Kaio assigned for the quarter – articles and informational essays, but could include many different genres. The first pieces tended to come from our more advanced students, but after a while the submissions came from a larger and more diverse range of students.
Once a piece was sent in, we corrected grammatical mistakes as well as capitalization and punctuation issues. We also dealt with the content, asking our peers to dig deeper into their topics. We asked them to provide more details, supply more evidence, and add quotes. After they had fixed what they thought needed to be changed, they sent it back to us for another edit.
This part of the process sometimes went on for a few days until both the editor and the student felt the piece fit both of our needs. After everyone felt the piece was ready, we copied and pasted it into Edublogs, and added details like the date, name, and pictures before posting it.
For most students, the editorial process was pretty easy, and they were willing to receive feedback. For a handful of students it wasn’t that simple though. Some students didn’t like the fact that their peers were commenting on their pieces and essentially trying to change parts of it. For one individual it was particularly hard. Maybe it was pride; maybe it was ignorance. For some reason this person was not okay with us suggesting changes for their piece. Unfortunately, we ended up not putting up that student’s piece, because they were unwilling to change any aspects of their writing. From that particular experience we learned that not everyone is always cooperative, even if you go into the conversation with an open mind and willing hands. Also, if we worked at a real blog, we would have totally fired them!
In the last few weeks of posting our pieces on Edublogs, we noticed that most people weren’t very active when it came to reading and contributing comments to the blog. So, we decided to upgrade our blog with some new categories. The categories included an art gallery where students could feature their art pieces, a weekly top 100 Billboard song that the students voted on, and a scavenger hunt.
For the art pieces, we asked our class artists to send in their art to post. Noelle took a picture of their art with her phone and posted the picture to the blog. For the the weekly song, we picked five songs from the top 100 Billboard for that week. The class picked their favorite from the five and we posted it. For the scavenger hunt we posted a new clue and a piece of a password every day. By the end of the week, there were enough clues to figure out where the prize was hidden, and a password to give to the guard. The prize was hidden with a person in our school, and once you gave the password to them you received the prize. It sure got their attention! We realized that we provide incentive to the other kids benefit to get them involved. This was an important lesson because it will help us with future jobs and relationships.
In the end, “The Badger Rock Times” was a huge success and helped our class become closer, as well as better writers. Not only did we have fun, but our class created a victorious blog, complete with art, poetry, articles, essays, and a scavenger hunt. The most important thing that we came out of this experience with was if you put your mind to something you can make it happen.