Mike Hetherington has posted some great directions for “How to set up a student centered classroom blog.” Mike recommends using learnerblogs.org. He has been pleased with results for his Room 613 Student blogs.

Mike posted the following comment this evening to my post on “Student publishing is key.” This is exactly the type of thing I was speaking to in that post and in “Edifying student bloggers:”

Wesley, Thank you for leaving comments on two of my students blogs last week. On Monday, one of them came bounding into the classroom, excited as can be, saying: “Guess what Mr. H, I got a comment from Texas!” Just wanted you to know, your well written, positive comment left a very positive impression on a young learner. We should all take the time to do the same.

Can blogs change the world? Absolutely. For the young man Mike wrote about in the comment above, his perceptions of writing were clearly impacted by my comment.

Writing is fundamentally about PURPOSE and AUDIENCE. That is why writing for a prompt students may not care about, for a stranger they will never interact with, to create a product they cannot keep and will be destroyed after it is graded, is a RIDICULOUS model around which many teachers build their writing programs today. (I am talking here, of course, about the event we call “standardized writing assessment” in the great state of Texas.) Of course students need to learn how to write to a prompt. But writing is about so much more than doing something for a test. It is about writing with a PURPOSE for an authentic AUDIENCE that cares enough to not only read, but write back thoughtfully and constructively.

Thanks to Mike for empowering his students to be 21st century online content authors, sharing his experiences with us via his own blog, and also sharing the story of his student who responded positively to something most of us might consider a very small thing: a single blog post comment.

That just made my day! 🙂

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On this day..

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4 Responses to Setting up a classroom blog

  1. Natalie Watt says:

    I also wanted to thank you so much for commenting on some of my students work. They were so excited to have a stranger comment on their stories! In all three of the grades I have blogs for I have only had one parent leave a comment, so getting comments from you definitely meant a lot to them and me. Thank you so much!! – Natalie

  2. Excellent. Let me add that writing is, or should be, a means to self-discovery. See
    http://consilience.typepad.com/teachers_lounge/2006/01/balanced_litera.html

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  4. Walter says:

    I would love to get some feedback on my classes blog, or have an outsider comment on their conversation.

    http://www.qhst-seniors.blogspot.com

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