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Some would argue that the 21st classroom isn’t complete without a classroom blog. Students can use it to hand in assignments, explore the more creative side of assignments, and learn how to be a good digital citizen.
The best part: there are many blog platforms to choose from—WordPress, Blogger, Edublogs—and most of them are free. Use these five ideas to take full advantage of this simple tool, making homework and in-class assignments more exciting and educational.
1. Teach Something to Another Student
Encourage students to demonstrate their knowledge of a subject by teaching another student instead of turning in a homework sheet or report. For example:
- Break the class into two groups, giving each one a different reading assignment.
- Further split the students into groups of two, each one with a different reading assignment.
- After finishing the reading, each student has to write a blog post to their partner explaining the main points or exploring a topic that you suggest.
This gives students a chance to approach their homework from a different perspective.
2. Monthly Classroom Book Club
Get students excited to read more with a monthly classroom book club. Each month, one student chooses a book—perhaps from a pre-approved list that you make—the class logs their reading manually or online with a program like Whooo’s Reading, and one student writes a book report as a blog post.
Students then take turns commenting on the blog post, adding details and information they want to include or feel was missed.
This not only ensures every student shows their knowledge of the reading, but can be a lesson in good digital citizenship. “The blog is one way to help students navigate this [digital] landscape. Seeing how others use blogs by reading them and commenting on them, provides students opportunities to practice these essential skills,” says Starr Sackstein, New York Director for the Journalism Education Association.
3. Coverage of Current Events
This is not only a fun assignment for students, but covers the informational text Common Core standard. Use the blog post as a way for students to summarize what they learned from the article while teaching a number of other important lessons, such as:
- Google search/online navigation: Find an article or publication online
- Copy and paste: Add the URL to the blog post
- Formatting: Add a photo or bullet the main points
- Creativity: Rewrite the article headline to use as the blog headline
4. Turn in Homework Assignments
Stop being frustrated with students handing in crumpled pieces of paper. Instead, have them do written homework on the blog. This allows you to grade homework wherever you have an Internet connection and can be an opportunity to get more creative with homework assignments. Alter standard assignments with formatting requirements:
- Bullet the main points.
- Find a picture of what you think the main character would look like.
- Share the link to an article that explores the most important subject of the book.
5. Weekly Reflection
Check in with your students once a week with a weekly reflection assignment. Each student submits a blog post about what they learned that week. You can let them write it in any format they want—bullet points, poem or summary paragraph—or give them a prompt.
Blogging can inject excitement into assignments students are used to doing. Use these five ideas to get started, and don’t be afraid to explore all the ways you can use blogging to benefit of you and your students.
Bio: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to email@example.com.