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Lesson #1: What’s a blog?

May 23, 2011

In planning the blogging exploration for my students this year, I anticipated a lot of misunderstandings about the nature of blogs.  We spent a TON of time exploring different classroom blogs, comparing/contrasting their elements, and deciding what elements we would like to see on our blog.

This Blog Exploration turned out to be a virtual (pun intended) waste of time.  Examining different blogs wasn’t exactly what my students needed.  They knew what a website was and failed to ever fully understand how a blogs and websites differ.

We have been blogging for several months now, and I believe they could now effectively describe a blog.  They simply couldn’t at the beginning, no matter what I tried.  This ability is more easily developed by participating in the act of blogging rather than simply looking at other blogs.  My 5th graders simply didn’t posses the critical thinking skills necessary to make the Blog Exploration successful.

Next year, I will certainly spend some time with the students understanding different aspects of blogging and making observations about other classroom blogs.  However, we will skip over most of the comparing/contrasting.  Perhaps this would work better with a different group of students, but I’m questioning its value after this year’s experience.

Does anyone have suggestions about getting students to have a deeper understanding of blogging?  Most of these students have not seen or heard the term before, much less had any experience with reading blogs.

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