Sunday, November 16, 2014

Find Your Voice With Blogging

Blogging has so many benefits. One of my favorite benefits though, is that blogging gives you "a voice". This goes for both adults, as well as students. One of my favorite examples of this is from within the classroom. We had a native Spanish-speaking student who came to our school part-way through the year as an 8th grader. Starting a new school is scary enough, let alone when you have a language barrier. This young girl knew almost no English at all. This language barrier lent to the her being extremely shy as well, so participation in class was a challenge.

One of her teachers decided she wanted to have students start blogging. To get blogging started, the teacher would post a prompt and students would write and reflect on it. All students had a chance to participate and comment to each other. The teacher asked her Spanish-speaking student if she wanted to try blogging, and the student said she would try. She asked the teacher if she could write her response in Spanish. Without any hesitation at all because she was thrilled the student wanted to participate, the teacher said "Yes!". So the student participated and wrote her entire response in Spanish. 

This was a great moment. 

She could participate, just like the other students. 

This student finally found her voice

This awesome moment had a ripple effect in the classroom. What happened next was so cool. Without any direction from the teacher, the classmates (who were all English-speaking), responded to her and they wrote their responses entirely in Spanish. They did the best they could using the knowledge they had from their Spanish classes as well as from asking other students who spoke Spanish. Her classmates embraced this opportunity to support and encourage. They replied to her, she replied back to them. There was finally an ongoing conversation between all students in class. It was such a great moment and blogging was the reason behind it.  

Blogging in the classroom can be used in different ways and at different levels. 

A teacher can have a class blog where:

  • The teacher adds posts, and students reply
  • The students have access to add their own posts
  • Students create their own blogs
Blogging offers all learners a chance to have a voice. Those who have a language barrier, those who are shy and may not participate in class as often as others, those who don't think of the answer right away and want a little more time to process, those who have so much to say and there isn't enough time in class to share it all...all type of learners. Blogging "levels the playing field" and offers a place where a writer can be heard, be a part of something bigger, and be able to find a "voice". 

We never know the awesome outcomes a learning experience will have until we create the opportunities. 

Blogging Links:
Ideas for Student Blogging

Kids Learn To Blog

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