Before this school year started I decided that I wanted to try to have an active class blog for my 8th grade reading and writing classroom. We got off to a pretty good start, but as first semester progressed I got bogged down in the “same ol’ same ol’” of the school year and didn’t make the blog a priority – therefore it slipped into the background.
Now that second semester has started, I am rejuvenated and re-inspired to get my classroom blog rolling again. We posted our newest post early this week, and I was reminded WHY my class should blog more.
When I tell my students that I will be choosing some of their work to be published on the blog, it creates an authentic audience and intensifies the thought that my students put into their writing.
They LOVE to look at our Clustrmap and see what other states and countries have visited the blog. It always makes for great questions that would never come up in my classroom without a blog. Some of my favorites this week were peering at the map and discussing whether we thought the dot in the Middle East was on Iraq (it was Jordan) and our lengthy discussion about why the continent of Antarctica isn’t pictured on the map… why no native people live there… why there aren’t many natural food sources there… why it’s so cold there… and ultimately to the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s path around the sun, (Yes, this happened in my writing class).
Some of their questions help to build their impression about places and people of the world they’ve never thought of before. Until our blog some my students thought that there was no Internet in Africa and that no one in India spoke English. They also didn’t know that many students in Australia are currently on summer break. (No Fair!! )
One of my favorite benefits of our class blog is that it builds the community in our school. When my students see blog comments from their other teachers and staff in our building they light up with pride. They also enjoy the comments from members of my PLN, and other middle school classrooms around the world.
Ultimately it boils down to this. Having a class blog makes my kids excited to be in my classroom. They enjoy it. It inspires them. It makes them want to be better writers.