Blogging is a great way to get kids writing. If you haven’t tried it yet, there are a number of great platforms you can use with your students. If you are a Google Apps for Education school or district, I think Blogger is a great place to start.
When used in the classroom, by its very nature blog writing is specific and purpose-driven. Ideally, blogs have an audience and, when our students are ready, our blog authors enter into an analytical collaboration with their audience through the comment and response portion of blog writing. This is what takes it beyond simply journal writing. This is made all the more powerful by the fact that the audience is more than the typical student writing audience--The Teacher.
When we first start our students on blogs, we naturally want to get that audience for them as fast as we can. The easiest way, once we have faith in our students ability to comment and response like good digital citizens and with constructive feedback to give, is to have them read and comment on their classmates work. This is safe, quick, and often comforting for students if this is their first blog experience. However, this grows stale for the students and doesn’t really leverage the real audience they could be reaching, namely, the whole world.
This presents another challenge, though.One of my fellow teachers, Stacie Ryan, and I kept having this happen:
Once kids were excited about blogging and wrote awesome blog entries, and the only thing missing was another set of students to read and comment on our students' work. But we had a hard time finding partner classes. It was turning out to be hard to find another class to blog with. We had no blog buddies.
So we came up with Student to Student Blog Connect (#S2SBC) as a simple tool to be a resource to give teachers with blogging students a place to find each other. We're just getting it going (almost up to 20 participants), so the more teachers spread the word and sign up, the more we'll all benefit.
The purpose of this Google form is to act as a collection & connection point for K-12 teachers who use blogging in their classrooms and want blog-pen-pals, a genuine audience, blog buddies, etc. for their class or students' blogs.
After you fill out the form and click submit, you will see the link to the results Sheet. On that sheet you'll find contact info for like-minded teachers who would also like to participate. Please use their contact info respectfully.