Website and group blogs are great ways to share information, deepen in-class discussions, and collaborate with peers — for teachers and students alike.
In the northern hemisphere, thousands of students and teachers are heading back to the classroom, which means it’s time to stock up on pencils, notebooks, binders… and blogs?
Yes! A website or blog can help you share information and extend what goes on during school hours, and that goes for both teachers and students. Not sure how you’d use a blog? Here are a few ideas:
Share information with students and parents. How often do handouts get left in a desk, or do permission slips find themselves crushed in the bottom of a backpack beneath an uneaten banana? Use a class blog to alleviate forgetfulness and paper overload, so no one can ever say “I forgot what the homework was!” Share test dates or class project requirements. Add a milestone widget to highlight a significant event. Make handouts and forms available by embedding them as Google or Word documents. Let students and parents download PDFs. Or just share stories to give parents more insight into what happens in the classroom, like the blogger at 20something Kids and 1 Kooky Teacher.
Note: if you’re asking students to create a WordPress.com account, whether to create blogs of their own or to contribute to a class blog, they’ll need to be at least 13 years old.
Give students an extended space to connect with each other (and you!). A blog is a medium ripe for two-way conversation; create a site that students can contribute to, or mini-forum where kids can post reactions to assignments, muse on readings, work out the details of class projects, ask questions, and more. Depending on your kids, their ages, and your goals, this could be anything from a basic blog where students leave comments on your posts, to a group blog like this one for a history course at Wingate University or a collaborative site using the P2 theme where students can have real-time conversations.
Collaborate and share ideas with other teachers. The bloggers at Two Writing Teachers and Three Teachers Talk know that teachers have a lot to teach one another, and a blog is an easily accessible place to share pedagogies and bounce ideas around. Build a group site to collaborate with other teachers, both in your district and around the world, and open an avenue to new ideas that might transform your classroom.
We know privacy is an issue, especially where kids are concerned! Any site can be made completely private, with access given to only to specific people, and posts and pages can be password-protected. Learn more about privacy settings and how to manage them. To control who has access to a blog or restrict who’s able to publish, every WordPress.com blog also has four different levels of permission.
Create a blog to keep track of your readings, notes, or research. Classroom notes, scribbles while reading, bookmarked research links — keep them all centralized with a private blog that you can access anywhere you have an internet connection. If you’re already taking notes digitally, dump them into your blog for an always-accessible backup. Create a bibliography page to maintain lists of books, articles, and links, or publish research snippets in posts and cross-reference them with links. Since a blog is searchable, you’ll be able to hone in on just the citation you need for that last footnote with a click.
Use a group blog to make your study group even more effective. Bursts of insight or trenchant questions don’t always occur to us in the moment. A blog gives your study group a place to share ideas, even when they happen at two in the morning or while you’re on the bus. Use it to remind group members what material you’re covering next, continue conversations, and pose questions you’d like to discuss at your next meeting — and do it from anywhere with the WordPress mobile apps.
Lots of you will also be tasked with creating blogs of your own as a classroom requirement — we have get-started resources to help you get a handle on the technical end, and inspiration if you need help coming up with topics to write about.
If you’ve used a blog or website in your classroom, tell us about it!