Blogging Basics: 5th Grade Digital Writing Introduction
-Students are hooked by viewing a BrainPop.com video that introduces blogging - what does the word mean?, how does it work?, why do people blog?, etc.
-Follow with a discussion on 'What is blogging?'
2 Direct Instruction
*Prior to beginning this lesson, the teacher will need to have set up a classroom Kidblog account with generic student logins.
-The teacher will discuss the purpose of using Kidblog as a vehicle for improving and enhancing digital writing skills. The teacher will share how Kidblog will be used to create an authentic experience with an audience of peers with which to communicate and collaborate.
-The teacher will direct students to the Kidblog website (or app if using iPads) and students will log in to the generic accounts. While navigating to the student information screen the teacher will point out and explain some of the important features of the dashboard and classroom blog. Once on the student account page, the teacher will have the students change their passwords from the generic one provided to a student specific one (in our case we used a password that each individual student was familiar with but was still 'private'). Students are also allowed to change their associated avatar to one that is provided within Kidblog to make each student's blog a bit more personal.
3 Guided Practice
-Now the students are directed in how to begin a blog post. The teacher will model to the students how to create a post and how to save vs. publish. A discussion occurs to be sure students understand that published work should be well thought out, edited work, that this is an educational setting with correct grammar and spelling required (as opposed to other social situations where they may use slang, texting language, etc) etc.
-At this time, the students are directed to follow along and walk through the steps of beginning a new blog post. Students are given a topic - What excites me about using Kidblog? is an example - to write a brief blog post about. Students are given a few minutes to complete their brief post. Students are instructed on how to save that post as a draft and NOT publish it since it has not been edited/revised.
4 Independent Practice
-Students are then given the opportunity for individualized practice. They are instructed to begin a new blog post with a topic of their own choice. Students are expected to follow the steps they were guided through with their sample post to create a new post and to save the post rather than publish it.
-During this time, the teacher is monitoring for understanding of creating a post within an educational environment. They can assess the understanding/performance by their students by walking around and viewing their work OR by using their teacher dashboard to monitor their draft posts.
-Students continue working on their sample post for a determined amount of time. (This is also a great opportunity to work on building writing stamina as students are encouraged to continue working for the entire allotted time.) Once that time is up, students are instructed to save their post and the teacher can explain (if not done already) how the student can come back to this post and continue working in it as much as necessary before posting.
-To end this introduction to blogging, the teacher will direct students to a pre-created Padlet wall that asks one or two of the following questions for students to record their responses: What did you learn today? How would you like to use the blog in the future? What do you still wnat to know about blogging? During upcoming lessons, teachers can refer to the student's responses to guide lessons/activities in digital writing.
-Explain to the students that in the next lesson, in addition to completing this initial blog post, they will be allowed time to edit it and then will begin understanding "HOW" to comment on others' posts in an effective, helpful way.
*Following this introduction to blogging lesson, two specific follow up lessons should occur:
1. How to edit, make sure your blog post is ready to be shared with others
2. Commenting on classmates work - how, why, etiquette, etc. - a specific lesson completed as a group with individual practice.
*Then, going forward, students will continue to use these specific, pointed lessons, skills, and 'classroom blog rules' to further develop their digital writing abilities - as individuals, in centers, as a whole class activity - and truly experience the authentic nature of work that blogging creates.