Chances are, you follow at least one blog. From the term "web log," a blog is essentially a digital journal of a person's thoughts. Many are content specific - fitness, cooking, sports etc. - while others are more informal and conversational - lifestyle blogs. This means that there is a blog for every interest. Why wouldn't we tap into this opportunity for high-interest texts for our students to read? Blogging allows students to:
Build reading skills- giving them high interest texts will help increase student engagement. Teachers can use these texts to allow students to practice reading skills.
Learn in a cross-curricular manner- skills and content from all subject areas can come together in a blog. Reading and writing skills from the English Language Arts curriculum, technology outcomes, and fine arts outcomes can combine with content from Science, Math, and Social Studies. Why not have students write a blog entry about the process of completing a lab in Biology? Or about the mock election held in Social Studies?
Communicate to an authentic audience- posting online gives students a global audience. Even if school district policy requires your student blogs to be private, they will be publishing something that their classmates have access to. When students create content for people other than the teacher, they need to learn what it means to take audience into account.
Build digital literacy- in an increasingly digital world, students need to know how to be digitally literate. How do they determine whether a website is a good source? Creating a blog will require that students take these factors into account as they create their own content. They will also need to learn how to effectively engage in an online conversation, how to be a good digital citizen, how to ensure that they are leaving a positive digital footprint, and how to ensure that they are not plagiarizing.
Learn how to give and receive effective feedback- blogs are social in that they allow the reader to engage in a conversation with the author via blog comments. So what does it mean to leave a good comment? Is it okay to say, "nice blog!" to all of your friends? Is this really engaging in a conversation and enhancing learning?
Food for thought... have you ever tried blogging with your students? How did it go? Is something keeping you from blogging in the classroom?