The Effectiveness of Classroom Blogs: Elementary, Middle, & High School

Blog 1: Mr. Geiman’s Language Arts Class- Elementary Blog (4th Grade)- http://blog.elanco.org/ageimanla/

The purpose of this blog is to share information that has been happening in Mr. Geiman’s classroom, as well as, sharing the different blog challenges for the Student Blog Challenge. Mr. Geiman created this blog partially because his class was entering a blog challenge and this was the place where students could go to read the guidelines for the next challenge. There are several posts about the challenges, but also about events that have occurred throughout the year. Basically, this blog is serving as a way for students, teachers, parents, etc. to stay involved in what Mr. Geiman’s class is doing throughout the year.

Post 1: Last Week of 2015-2016!!!!- http://blog.elanco.org/ageimanla/2016/05/31/last-week-of-2015-2016/

The idea of this post is to show how much the students have accomplished over the school year with their blogging and all the hard work they had to do in order to make it to the end. This post serves to share with students and parents how successful the students have been over the school year with their writing for the Student Blog Challenge and is in a way, a congratulatory post. It is letting the students know their hard work has paid off and they have grown throughout the course of the year. The post is very effective because it showcases how beneficial blogging can be and that students should not “silence their voices”, but instead share their assignments and thoughts.

Post 2: Reflecting: What A Year!!!- http://blog.elanco.org/ageimanla/2016/05/23/reflecting-what-a-year/

The purpose of this post is to have the students reflect on their school year through the use of a blog post. The teacher gives students some questions they can reflect upon, but encourages them to add any other questions they may have while writing. This post is effective because it is allowing students to think about their ups and downs over the year and delve deeper into more questions they may have of their own. The questions the teacher asks are also very beneficial because they make the students really think about how they have grown and how they want to keep growing.

Younger students may not have the chance to create blogs on their own, which is why it is important for teachers to create classroom blogs. Sharing experiences and joining in challenges is a great way to keep students involved and it never hurts to start them off by doing this when they are young. This will give the students to chance to grow and become better aware of how important blogging can be, for when they need to create a digital footprint, and will already have an idea of how to do this because of the blogging they started when they were younger.

Blog 2: Write Out Loud- Middle School (6th Grade)- http://writeoutloud.edublogs.org/

The purpose of this blog is to post different assignments that students are to complete throughout the year. There are various assignments, some of them being for all students and some being for either girls or boys. Either way, all of the students are given clear directions and are asked to write something about the assignment that has been shared. Some of the posts make students reflect on previous experiences and some of them have students use their imagination and create stories or new ideas. Within this blog, students are given a chance to express themselves and create thought out work.

Post 1: Judging a Book by Its Cover- http://writeoutloud.edublogs.org/2016/01/27/judging-a-book-by-its-cover/

In this post, the students are expected to look at the given image and answer the questions that are at the very end. The purpose is to get students to understand that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. This is very effective because after the students have viewed the image, the follow-up questions allow the students to ponder their own thoughts and think about the books they have previously read. Students can begin to think if they have ever judged a book by its cover and what they think the book should have been titled instead.

Post 2: Your Ideal Bookshelf- http://writeoutloud.edublogs.org/2016/05/24/what-top-books-are-on-your-ideal-bookshelf/

Students are asked to think about the books they have read over the year and decide on which three they have enjoyed the most and why they would be placed on their “ideal bookshelf”. Students are given the chance to process and think about each book they have read and really reflect on why they liked/disliked each book. Therefore, allowing them to decide which books they enjoyed the most. I think this post and assignment is very effective because it allows students to think back on every book they have read over the year and choose which ones they liked best. This may end up giving them something to talk about with their parents as well because they could recommend the book and give a short book talk.

This middle school blog allows students to grow and learn to express their ideas through various assignments. The teacher is giving the students a way to constantly check-in with the blog and is getting them used to the idea of how a blog works. At this age, students should learn about their digital footprints and any work they create from these types of assignments could go on their own blog, which would be a great start to a digital footprint.

Blog 3: Mrs. Scales’ Room- High School (9th Grade)- http://mrsscales207.edublogs.org/

The purpose of this blog is to share assignments and events that have occurred within Mrs. Scales’ English classroom throughout the year. She is also able to reach out to future high school students and start getting them ready by reading blog posts during the summer. There are many photos on this blog that highlight the events that have happened, such as National Poetry month and the black out poems the students created. Along with assignments, Mrs. Scales is also able to review material and prepare students for any upcoming tests they may have.

Post 1: Postcards- http://mrsscales207.edublogs.org/2016/06/02/postcards/

The purpose of this post is to get students ready for the upcoming school year and to keep them engaged by having them read over the summer. Students are given the chance to earn extra credit points if they read over the summer. The important part of this post is that the teacher is specifically telling students to keep checking in with the blog because she will be giving them more information about the extra credit assignment as school comes closer. She even mentions for students to become active with Twitter because that is another avenue where she will be giving them information. This is a very effective way to get students to participate in activities and follow along with the blog page. An incentive of extra credit is always a positive reinforcement of getting students to do more activities as well!

Post 2: Poetry Introduction- http://mrsscales207.edublogs.org/2016/04/26/poetry-introduction/

This post is a great place for students to come back to if they ever need to study and review different ideas related to poetry. In creating this post, the teacher has given the students somewhere they can access all the important information they will need to know about for future reference. Introducing a subject on the classroom blog page is also a way to get students to read the blog because they will need to know the information related to the subject, in this case, poetry. Students can effectively check back to this post whenever they need to help them with any assignment that relates to poetry. They are given vocabulary words and forms of poetry for this unit that can be shown on this blog post.

One of the many wonderful things about this particular blog is that the teacher puts up reviews and information about different units, which gives students a place to look at when they need to refresh their memories. A lot of the information is very detailed and serves as a great place for students to come back too at any time. The teacher was able to keep up with this blog and add assignments for students to complete as well. A high school blog can be very effective because it starts to prepare students for college, with all the more in-depth assignments they are going to start having to do. It is also beneficial because high school classroom blogs are focused on one subject, which allows students to focus on that subject when they decide to browse through the blog. They will not have to worry about multiple subjects.

Wrapping everything up…

Since my ideal goal is to work in a high school, I would use a blog to help students keep track of assignments they had due for class. I also think it would be a good idea to have students respond to the assignments on a blog they had created for themselves. This way, they would begin to create a professional digital footprint with their work being shared. The assignments students complete would be a great way to open teachers up to the idea of trying to incorporate blogs into their classrooms. I could get feedback on how effective the blog is to students and share that feedback with other teachers. I could also share the work students have created on their blogs and let teachers see the educational value of how their assignments can be viewed by potential employers in the future. Each week I could send examples of student assignments to teacher emails to show them the great work they are producing and how that work is accessible to employers. These classroom blogs would be great to also share at conferences and start getting more and more students prepared for the next step after high school. My classroom blog could be shared as the basis for which students were creating their own assignments on their own blogs.

Overall, it is important to start using blogs in an educational setting. Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide stated in one of their blog posts, “Blogs can promote critical and analytical thinking.” When I got to college and I was expected to start critically analyzing my work, I was at a loss. I did not feel confident in this area at all from my high school education. Blogs allow students to process their thoughts and analyze the assignments they are given. The blogs are a space where students can write out their thoughts and begin to really express how they feel about subjects. If I had been given the chance and knowledge to create my own blog, I feel I would have had a better understanding when I was given the task of analyzing in college. Blogs are great when it comes to learning, growing, and understanding how you truly feel about a subject.

Resources:

Eide, Fernette, and Brock Eide. “Eide Neurolearning Blog.” : Brain of the Blogger. Blogger, 02 Mar. 2005. Web. 16 June 2016.

“Mr. Geiman’s Language Arts Class.” Mr Geimans Language Arts Class. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 June 2016.

“Mrs. Scales’ Room.” Mrs Scales Room RSS. Edublogs, 2016. Web. 16 June 2016.

“Write Out Loud.” Write Out Loud. Word Press, n.d. Web. 16 June 2016.

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3 thoughts on “The Effectiveness of Classroom Blogs: Elementary, Middle, & High School

  1. Hi Sam,
    Mr. Geimers blog sounds like it is really great at creating a community that involves both her students and their parents. I like how she creates blog challenges. I feel like that would make the students want to continue to check out his blog to keep up to date on the challenge. I also like how your blogger shares and celebrates the students’ successes with them and their parents and I like how he has a post where the students can reflect upon their learning. His blog seems to create such a community feel to it that whether you are the student or the parent, you are very much involved.

    Melissa B.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading about these blogs, which are different from the ones I used for my assignment. I particularly liked seeing how these teachers use their blogs to interact with students, post assignments and receive comments. Then these assignments are easily shared with others, as you mentioned in our analysis. As a parent, I would really appreciate seeing more about what my students are learning, but it seems as if many schools communicate fewer of these details as students get older. You mention that your goal is to work in high school, have you considered starting your blog now and making it part of your positive professional digital footprint?

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  3. Sam,
    I appreciate how you highlighted ideas from the readings that blogs promote reflective and analytical thinking. My students are quite young to be typing complete thoughts but the more exposure we can give them early in their academic career the more comfortable they will be expressive their thoughts, ideas, and opinions in a positive way. This can also help them to promote a positive digital footprint of themselves and practice good digital citizenship.

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