Quality Student Blogs Part Two – Post Topics

Last week I wrote about how students with their own blogs can be guided to create quality posts.

After I published my post, I showed my class the less ideal post example I used about dogs. It was so interesting to get their opinions on the fictional post. Seeing their “shock” at the lack of proofreading, lack of content and the use of multiple exclamation marks etc. was quite amusing! It made me realise that we have created a classroom culture where students aim for high standards.

When students in my class earn their own blog, I generally have a chat to them about the sort of posts they’d like to write about. Some students like to make blogs with a particular theme, such as cooking or sport. More often than not, students like to create blogs with a variety of post topics.

A common pattern

Without guidance or discussion, I have found that students can get into the habit of writing blog posts such as

  • My family
  • My pets
  • My friends
  • My favourite sports
  • My favourite animals
  • My favourite books
  • My favourite foods….

The “My Favourite…” theme can go on and on!

I saw this pattern emerge many times before realising the students could be encourage to “think outside the square”.

Be observant 

Linda Yollis recently gave one of my new student bloggers some excellent advice, “You mentioned that you are thinking about future topics…. I also recommend just being observant. Sometimes posts come from something you notice in your backyard or on a drive somewhere. For example, I sometimes do posts about plants in my backyard or something new I noticed in my neighborhood. Hobbies are also a wonderful topic.”

I think writing about what you observe is a wonderful tip for student bloggers. Encouraging curiosity and the exploration of something new could help a student grow in so many ways.

Think about your audience

Another element that is important for student bloggers to understand is that your blog is not only about you and what you like, but about your readers too. Readers = comments = interaction = learning and growth!

Blogging is different from traditional writing or journalling; you are writing for an authentic audience.

Students need to think about whether their post topics are interesting for themselves and their readers. They also need to provide enough background information to help their reader understand the context of the post.

Fresh ideas

I recently helped a student think of some ideas for post topics. Here are some of the ideas that we came up with….

  • A recipe with photos and instructions that others could follow
  • A movie or book review
  • A restaurant, hotel or tourist attraction review
  • A poem or short story
  • Instructions to do …. anything
  • A discussion on what you’re learning at school
  • List of some of your favourite websites with details
  • A family tradition
  • What makes you happy/angry/laugh….
  • My dream holiday
  • Make a poll where readers vote on your next post topic

Role models

It’s great for students to look to other students as role models. Just a few examples include:

Bianca – 2012 is Bianca’s third year of blogging after starting in my grade two class in 2010. She is a regular poster who has formed some strong connections with teachers, students and parents overseas.

Jarrod – this student was in my grade two class in 2011. He continues to blog in a non-blogging class and uses a wide variety of tools.

Miriam – this student established her blog when she was in Linda Yollis’ class. She continues to create regular posts that are very interesting and well written. Continuing the family tradition, Miriam’s younger sister, Sarah, also blogs.

Royce – this boy also earnt his blog while in Linda Yollis’ class. Every couple of weeks, he creates a new post with interesting information or observations.

'Rosie the Blogger' www.flickr.com/photos/9106303@N05/2493066577

What ideas or advice do you have for student blog posts?

11 Comment

  1. missspink says: Reply

    Hi Kathleen,

    As always, wonderful advice on educational blogging. I have no student bloggers yet! I am encouraging it but no real front runners yet. The blog challenge i have going at the moment seems to have reignited their enthusiasm so I am hoping it sticks!

    Thanks for all of oyr ideas and encouragement!

    Bec

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Bec,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      Just keep encouraging those student bloggers and wait until they’re ready. We recently started six student blogs but four were from Kelly’s grade and only two were from my grade. I wanted to have more but I just felt some just weren’t quite ready. So I’ll set up more in Term Three….I’ve already got my eye on a number of students who I think will be ready.

      I hope the enthusiasm from the challenge sticks!

      Good luck,
      Kathleen

  2. Great post Kathleen, Thanks!
    Some nice ideas on effectiveness of posts. I particularly liked your comments on thinking about the audience. I am running sessions on blogging with our senior school staff at present and this proves timely.
    Thanks again,
    Rolfe
    @rolfek

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Dear Rolfe,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope the ideas help your senior school staff!

      Good luck,
      Kathleen

  3. Dear Mrs. Morris,

    Thank you for mentioning our blog. We love blogging and we think we will continue our blogs for a long time. Hopefully, our little brother and sister will also get a blog when they reach third grade and then all 4 of us will have our own blog.

    We are om summer vacation so we will have a lot of time to leave comments and write new posts.

    Sincerely,
    ♥Miriam and Sarah♥

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Dear ♥Miriam and Sarah♥,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my blog.

      You certainly are role model bloggers and I hope lots of students are inspired by your terrific work. I also hope your little brother and sister will have Mrs Yollis in third grade and get into blogging!

      I hope you’re enjoying the summer. I will be in the USA very soon!

      Best wishes,
      Mrs M☀rris

  4. Pam says: Reply

    I just found your site and love it. What blogging site do you use with students? I personally use WordPress when I blog. Is there a specific site you use with students?

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Pam,

      I use Edublogs for my class blog and student blogs. My state actually pays for an Edublogs Campus subscription called Global2. Edublogs is very popular in the education community and I’ve found it to be really good. I’ve talked more about the benefits of Edublogs in this post. For me, the support probably sets it apart from any other platform.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Kathleen

  5. Hi Kathleen

    After a failed attempt at having a class blog four years ago, this is my first year of doing “real” blogging in our class. The class all love it – with varying degrees of motivation etc.

    I now have my first two Student Blogs beginning this week. It’s super exciting for them and I’m getting a real kick out of it too! In a month’s time (after a two week trip to Indonesia) I’ll then have another four to six students starting up blogs.

    I want to thank you for sharing your valuable insights, experience, and even resources (Student Blogging Posters …). This blog and your input elsewhere is such a clear and helpful go-to guide.

    I also LOVED reading Miriam’s and Sarah’s comment above. It’s wonderful to think that students are tapping into this resource too.

    Kind regards

    Valerie

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Valerie,

      That’s very exciting that you have new student bloggers starting this week. We have some students starting new blogs this coming week too. Maybe when they get going we should point them in the direction of each other. I’d love to see my students develop their friendships with other student bloggers more.

      Your trip to Indo will be exciting! Miriam and Sarah are just lovely and it was so sweet of them to comment.

      Great to hear from you,
      Kathleen

      1. Hi Kathleen

        Pointing the student bloggers in the direction of each other is a great idea.

        Let’s keep each other ‘posted’ re: this.

        Valerie

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