Does having a blog for your students work? (10 tips on how to get started)



The simple answer to the above question is yes.  The blog I have been using for four years now has become a simple and important part of my classroom.  I have review materials, class lectures, games, and more that I have posted for students who are interested in bettering themselves.  

I was inspired to write this small post today because of something a student said today.  I was telling them all that I would be organizing the blog for review purposes to help them review materials for the final exam/mid-term so they could find all the materials in one place.  When I was done one boy shouted out, “That’s great.  I check the blog at least once a week to make sure I understand everything.”  This to me was proof that this works.  I have also had some kids ask me how to start their own, which prompted me to show a few of them how.  I think that it is something that I am showing them how to do by example.  One of these days when I have more technology available I plan to have students do most of their writing on a blog instead of everywhere else so they have a place they can have a digital portfolio.  Just need to wait until everyone in the school isn’t fighting over the computers…

If you are wondering how to get started here are a few tips I have found useful:

 

1.    Go to blogger or wordpress and get started.  It’s not as hard as you think.  Just sign up and start creating.  The templates start you out right away.

2.    Understand that creating a blog takes time and effort.  Success does not appear overnight.  Just keep working at it.  Be a tinkerer.  The tweaks will always make it better.   

3.    The layout isn’t as important as you think.  Just get started posting things for your students.  The templates pretty much set it all up for you.  

4.    Show the students how to get there and make sure they know how to use it.  

5.    Someone once told me that students will use something the more you use it.  So far that seems to be true.  The more I have them use it the more likely they are to use it.  I use this for projects in class to review.  It all helps.     

6.    The internet is your friend.  So many people have posted guides on how to expand on your blog.  If you get stuck and are not sure how to proceed just use Google.  It really is your friend. 

7.    It can be a place where you house things you do year in and year out.  I used to save links and stuff to word documents, but then I lost the flash drive or something happened to my hard drive and they were gone.  The cloud helps make things easier.  I doubt Google will be going away any time soon.  “What did I save that as?” becomes “Oh here it is on such and such date.”  I like this because I have moved states and schools many times.  The blog keeps your resources together no matter where you go.  

8.    Remember that most of the blogs you are seeing are the result of lots of time being put in.  Like anything the work has to be done.  Success is a choice.  But don’t let that discourage you.  I spent lots of my years worrying about why my creations did not look like everyone else’s.  Each blog is an extension of the person you are reading from.  Yours will not look like everyone else’s because you are you. 

9.    Videos help my students study and some have really liked the games I post.  Content you choose to make available can be supplemental or relate directly to what you are learning.  It can come from your own videos you make or ones that other have made.  So far I have only posted ones made by others, but who knows.  Maybe one day I’ll make some more.  There is no wrong way to do this as long as the content is appropriate for the grade level.   

10. Just be brave.  Most will be grateful you are doing this.  No one is going to come after you.  Even if they do, can they really argue with you providing a place for your students to continue to grow outside of school?  Plus, having a positive digital footprint will only benefit you. 

Happy Blogging!  Just give it a try!  Remember, the important thing is to just start!  Once you start things will continue moving in the right direction!

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