|Grade span:||8 to 12|
|Duration:||Ongoing (as long as instructor thinks is appropriate) sessions of 30-45 minutes each|
- Understand the purpose and role of blogs for communication
- Develop self-expression and communication through blog entries and comments
- Improve reading and writing skills
- Improve word processing skills
- Computer with Internet access and projector (teacher)
- Computers with Internet access (students)
- Internet browser with examples of blogs bookmarked
- Student blog accounts
- Copy of Internet safety guidelines for each student
- Signed parent permission forms if blogs will be viewed by public
- Student blogging software (optional)
- Digital cameras (optional)
- Find age-appropriate examples of blogs to show to students. Some possibilities include Buster’s Blog (based on Buster’s character from PBS cartoon, Arthur (pbskids.org/buster/blog/) or conduct an Internet search for "student blogs" to find examples of other student work.
- For education and privacy purposes, consider Class Blogmeister (classblogmeister.com) or 21 Publish (www.21publish.com), two blogging tools that allow you to create multi-blogger communities where the instructor can review and edit student posts and comments before making them public.
- Investigate whether your school has any firewalls that will prevent you from visiting these Web sites.
- Review current online blogs from your local newspaper or television station.
- Practice posting blog entries, reviewing submissions (if this is an option with the blog host you use), and creating comments on entries.
What to Do:
- Engage students by asking them what they know about blogs and what blogs they like (if they are familiar with them). Show some examples of blogs you have bookmarked and look at some student suggestions (after making sure they are appropriate for school). After telling students that they are going to create their own blogs, review Internet safety guidelines.
- Brainstorm blog topic ideas as a class and make one practice entry as a group.
- Assign each student a blog account with the host you have chosen and review the steps for creating and posting entries. Give students time to write about whatever interests them. Once they have become familiar with blogging, you can give them more structured assignments.
- Show students how to share blogs and post comments. They will be working "offline" at this point. Many blogs will allow users to upload pictures, audio files, or link to other sites. Once students have mastered blogging basics, show them how to personalize their blogs.
- After students have finished their blog entries, they submit them to the afterschool instructor for review. Once the instructor has reviewed them for appropriate content, he/she can post the entries "online."
- When the afterschool group meets again, students read each other's blog entries and post comments.
- Share blogs with parents, instructors, or students in another afterschool program.
- Consider making video blogs