Summer Renewal 9: Start Blogging

If you’ve been following along so far, you have encountered a lot of resources, and have learned a lot, and probably have opinions, ideas, and comments about what you’ve been finding. You can certainly leave comments here on my blog, and there are lots of places on the read/write/web where you can make your opinions known.

But at some point, it’s time to start your own blog. If you have something to say, blogs are one of the easiest ways to say it. Consider these potential blogging applications for teachers:

  • DocumentsReplace the class web page: A lot of teachers have web sites, and use various tools to maintain them. My contention is that teachers want to be teachers, not web designers. They want to focus on kids instead of CSS. They don’t have time to learn Dreamweaver. They just want to get their homework assignments online. Blogging is a great way to do that.
  • Replace the weekly newsletter: Nearly every elementary teacher I know sends home a weekly newsletter. Instead of doing that, post each item to your blog. These can be short, simple posts. “Next week, please bring in an empty egg carton for the art project we’re going to do.” A few of your parents will grab your RSS feed and will get instant updates. A few more will sign up for email notification, so they get notified via email automatically when there are new posts. Others will just check your web site weekly to read the “newsletter” online. For the few that don’t have Internet access, print out the week’s blog posts every Friday, and send it home kidmail.
  • Post student work: Everyone who has studied it has concluded that kids do better work when they have an authentic audience. If they’re creating something that is on the Internet, that Grandma can read in Florida, they’re going to work harder on it and produce a better product.
  • Engage the professional community: You’ve been reading blogs at least since “Summer Renewal 2.” You’re reading one right now. Use your blog to document your own professional growth. Highlight neat things you’re doing with your classes. Discuss the challenges you’re facing. Other people will find your comments valuable.

How do you set up a blog? That’s actually the easy part. If you work for the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Schools, you can set one up on our server by logging in to the user management system, and selecting “Make Me a Blog.” If you don’t work for my district, or you would rather not have your blog hosted on the school’s server, consider Edublogs. James Farmer does an excellent job providing free blogging space for educators and students. He uses the same WordPress blogging software that we use here at BBHCSD. If you’d rather go with something that doesn’t have to be education-related, try WordPress.Com. They host free WordPress-based blogs, too.

If you need help with WordPress, check out my WordPress Getting Started Guide. You can also check out the official WordPress documentation, but you may find that it’s a little more technically oriented than it needs to be.

Assignment: Go set up a blog and say something.

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Author: John Schinker

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