So, why create a blog for students to share books and responses to books? There are several reasons, but the number one reason in my mind is to keep students engaged, interested, and excited. In my experience, technology is very motivating for students. In her Hello Literacy blog, Jennifer Jones (2012) writes about several reasons to include blogging in your classroom. Among them being that it integrates ELA and technology, promotes critical thinking, and creates a community of learners. With so much shift toward technology, students need to be aware of and able to use media such as blogs to not only find information, but share information. Teachers have a huge responsibility to get through curriculum and using blogs can incorporates some of that curriculum together. Using a blog can also make parents feel more connected to the curriculum as stated by Jenny Luca in Tina Barseghian’s (2011) Mind/Shift blog. It creates transparency in the curriculum. Parents would have access to what the students are learning and students would have access at home as well as school. Luca also notes that blogging gives students pride in their work.
George Couros states in The Principal of Change blog that “giving students a space to share their voice is extremely important.” He suggests that students should not only blog about school related topics, but what their interests are and what they are passionate about. Allowing students to share their opinions and responses via blog seems a less threatening way to share ideas to some students. One way students can use blogs and share their voice is via reader response questions. Teachers can create blogs to discuss books that students are reading as a class, in small groups, or on their own. These reader response questions are created to facilitate online discussion and encourage critical thinking. Michelle Lampinen (2013) in the Edutopia blog shares her experience and some reasons why she started using and appreciating blogging in her classroom. She states that her students’ blogs are “mature, insightful, funny, and engaging” and that “student writing is improving by leaps and bounds.” She also mentions that most students are enthusiastic about sharing via blogging. Why not use blogs for reader response questions? It sounds like a great idea to me.