I struggled to create blogging rules when I first began blogging with my students. In the beginning, I was panicked that students would not approach blogging as a serious form of academic writing. I had nightmares thinking that they wouldn’t use punctuation, capitalization, or complete sentences. My first set of rules for blogging looked like the ones on the right. Ah! How scary! This was not an effective way to teach students how to blog and be part of a community of bloggers. My second attempt was much better! Here are some of my recommendations:
To begin, show students examples of blogs that you love reading. For example, I use the Nerdy Book Club blog. I might also use the Oh She Glows blog and my favorite dessert recipe. Yum! Talk about why you like reading blogs. Why is this an important form of writing? Why do people blog? Why is it important to write about the things you are passionate about?
Next, look at examples your students might know. For instance, look at Wonderopolis and National Geographic for Kids. Talk about what why these sites are fun and informative to read.
Then, practice using your classroom blog. Have everyone try writing a post. This gives them experience using a blog prior to writing rules for blogging (because, after all, how can they create rules about something they’ve never tried?)
After reading the responses on the blog, talk about rules. Phrase all of the rules in a positive tone. Rules like “Help everyone feel welcome to share their ideas and posts” sets a positive tone that everyone can feel good about.
Also consider talking to your students about digital citizenship. Scholastic has great resources about blogging that relate to these conversations. While classroom blogs are password protected and have limited features, students need to be aware that any form of e-writing leaves a digital footprint. They should always be cautious, never reveal personal information, and present themselves and their work in a respectful manner.
Typically found wearing mismatched socks, Dana Johansen spends her time teaching fifth grade in Connecticut, negotiating with her yellow lab about doggy dinner options, and plopping down on the floor in bookstore aisles to find new reads. She has taught elementary and middle school for fourteen years. Dana is a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University where she studies blended learning in reading and writing workshop.