This year, as schools are beginning their new school year, the opportunity to create a class blog has never been more relevant. Blogging is such a great tool to engage children, giving them a real purpose and audience for their writing. Blogging is so adaptable and blogs can be used in a range of different ways, so whether you are a blogging beginner or a blogging expert, the potential to interest, inspire and engage pupils is endless.
Here’s an article which shows 10 reasons as you should get your class blogging.
Blogging for Beginners – Where to start
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel! There are so many sites/ready made blogging projects online that children can access. The first site that springs to mind is the 100 word challenge which has recently joined forces with ‘The Night Zookeeper’.
What is 100wc? (taken from 100wc.net)
It is a weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16 years of age. Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words and the children can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece. This should be posted on a class blog and then linked to the 100 Word Challenge blog. The link is usually open from midday on Sundays until midnight the following Saturday.
By setting a limited word count with a focused theme and a guaranteed audience beyond the class teacher, children have far greater motivation for writing. Those who are reluctant writers feel safe with only 100 words to write, whilst those more advanced writers can really extend themselves with the word restriction.
One of the special things about 100WC is that those entering a piece are encouraged to visit other blogs and leave a constructive comment. Peer ‘talking’ to peer is very powerful and we have seen a real improvement in some writing that has come from suggestions from other children. It also provides another teaching point for teachers to show children how to comment constructively.
If you want to engage your younger writers, you can also take part in the 5 sentence challenge. Aimed more at KS1 writers, there is often a picture or simple prompt for writing that can nearly always be adapted to the genre or topic that you are covering in class.
Blogging for Beginners – How to get started
There are so many blogging sites out there, many of which use a wordpress template. The best site that I have found for beginners is Primary Blogger. This free site allows you to create a blog in minutes, without getting bogged down in all of the more technical aspects of blogging.
Blogging for Beginners – 3 simple steps to create a blog with Primary Blogger
1. Go to www.primaryblogger.co.uk and click ‘Create Account’.
2. Create a username and password and enter a valid email address (this does not have to be a school email address but I would suggest for your class blog that you use a class email address).
3. Choose your blog address. It will be in the format xxxxxxxx.primaryblogger.co.uk so you will want to choose something that is relevant to your class and school… year6.primaryblogger.co.uk doesn’t really indicate who you are where mrsdickinsonandyear6.primaryblogger.co.uk may be more suitable.
Done! It’s as easy as that! You are now the proud owner of a class blog!
Blogging for Beginners – 3 simple steps to write your first post
To get started, you may want to activate easy mode at the top of your screen. The screen that loads when you log in is called your ‘admin’ page. To create a post, follow these steps:
1. On the left hand side, there is a menu bar. Click on ‘New Post’.
2. Add in a title for your post in the top box, and then begin writing in the bottom box. You can add just text to start with or you could add a link or even a picture.
3. When you are happy with your post, click the ‘publish’ button on the right hand side of the screen.
Done! Your first post on your blog will be online!
Have a go and see what blogging can do to inspire your children. Why not comment below with the different ways you use blogging in your school – you may have an idea that other teachers haven’t thought of!
Happy blogging! 🙂