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Blogging for Authentic Writing
posted by: Cindy Omlin | January 09, 2013, 08:48 PM   

Last summer, Martha Payne made international news when her local government took steps intended to shut down her blog.  What spread this story so far is the fact that Martha is 9 years old and her blog, NeverSeconds, was designed to criticize her school lunches.  Her blog quickly gained an international audience and students around the world started to send Martha pictures of their lunches as a way to complain.  When news broke that the school had told Martha to stop and that the local government had even passed a law prohibiting photography in school cafeterias, there was a quick upsurge of support until the school and local government backed down and Martha was able to blog again.

 

Martha’s story is an example of what a powerful tool blogging can be.  Blogging gives students an authentic writing experience.  No longer is a student’s writing seen only by themselves and their teacher, now the work is published and has the potential to gain an audience.  The student even has the ability to draw in readers with excellent writing skills.

 

Edweek’s Ben Curran, points out the benefits of a blog.  He reports that after setting up a blogging project at his school, he saw his students’ writing improve.  He saw them become more aware of the mechanics of their writing, and he also saw them become more enthusiastic writers.

 

He also points out that Common Core anchor standard six, “use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others,” seems custom made to having students create blogs.

 

For teachers interested in setting up a blogging project in their classroom, there are plenty of sites able to help teachers and students create blogs.  Edublogs is the biggest site devoted to school blogs, but not the only option.  There are other blogging sites designed to be used by school children like Kidblog or ClassPress.  There’s also more traditional blogging sites like Blogger or Livejournal which while not as controlled as other options will help students find larger audiences.

 

There are concerns, of course, about implementation, security, and especially about privacy and security, which is why I recommend this excellent guide by DeputyMitchell, which describes his blogging policy.

Originally posted by Melissa at AAE.

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Writing
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