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August 27, 2015

Blogging in the classroom

by Donna Huber

Are you a teacher looking for a fun way for your kids to develop their reading comprehension and writing skills? A classroom book blog can be the answer.

When I was growing up I always wanted to write for the school newspaper. There is something exciting about having your words read and acknowledge by others. Due to budget cuts and rising costs of printing, many schools no longer have a newspaper. Now with electronic media being so popular, a school or classroom blog can be an ideal way to bring back that excitement.

For elementary students, blogging can be a way to share with parents what the kids are reading. You may also consider doing a video blog. Those "kids say the darnest things" videos always go viral. And I know when I was a kid I always wanted to be one of the kids at the end of Reading Rainbow that tells what they are reading.

If writing blog posts, you may want to combine what a few of the kids think about the book into one post.

For older readers - middle school and high school students, they can take on increasing responsibility for the blog. From deciding what to post, to editing the contributions, to working on graphics. They can also work with publishers and authors conducting interviews. Publishers and authors love to hear what their target audience thinks about book and I'm sure they would be happy to answer the kids questions.

photo credit: teaching with emotion: a halloween story
photopin (license)
For kids of all ages, getting to speak with the author is a real treat and many authors are happy to Skype with a class if they can't be there in person. Having a blog may be the incitement some publishers need to assist you in making contact with the author.

Having a classroom or school blog can also earn you free books as publishers and authors will want to have their book featured.

The blog doesn't have to be solely about books, but can just be a feature. Much like in the newspapers.

Using affiliate links in your book posts may also be a way to earn some cash as well.

Even if the only people who see the book posts are other kids and teachers in the school, it can still be fun for the kids.

If you don't already have a school/classroom blog, you need to check your school;s policies and may need to seek parental permission.

Having students write for a school or classroom blog will also give you an opportunity to talk with them about internet safety, copyright, and plagiarism. The later were foreign concepts to my nephew. He claims his teacher told him he could using any image he found through a Google image search without attribution.

While most of what you will blog about falls under Fair Use, your students will still need to attribute images to the proper person. It is no different that using a quote from a book.

A variety of educational topics can be taught under the disguise of running a blog. If you are looking for a creative and fun way to incorporate these topics into your curriculum I highly recommend starting a classroom or school blog.

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