If you’re looking to take your students’ work to the next level, creating a class blog is a great way to motivate students to produce their best work — precisely because with a class blog, your students, who are usually limited to an audience of peers, parents and teachers, are now exposed (and strategically marketed) to an entire world of potential viewers!
However, a blog is not merely a collection of written articles. Any assignment or project that can be digitized, filmed or photographed is perfect for an exciting, interactive educational experience that honors the input of every student and utilizes the skills taught in all content areas.
I recently took KQED Teach’s free online course Developing a Blog. It offers invaluable advice and practice sessions to begin your own class blog. Through seven self-paced lessons, teachers identify their students’ potential audience and explore other successful class blogs to gain inspiration for content and structure. I also recommend the class blog suggestions and examples of Maria Garcia Serrato, Alice Chen and Laura Bradley.
After reflecting upon what has made my own professional blog a success, I have compiled 10 tenets that extend the lessons learned in the KQED course and can be readily applied to any blog to expand its audience and reach. Share these strategies with your students for a class blog that actually gets read and gains a following.
Polished, practical articles and informative, artistic multimedia presentations garner views and shares. Therefore, a thorough editing process that includes peer and teacher feedback is crucial. Team with English and media teachers to make this an interdisciplinary project. Word and content limits are also a great way to encourage students to focus and refine their ideas.
There are many free blog sites to choose from, and most provide analytics to visitors and views — broken down by what countries your audience is coming from, how they found you, which posts they viewed and what links they clicked on. Students will marvel at hits from diverse locales. Team with social studies and math teachers to plot the blog’s reach on a world map and to graph its weekly results.
In every post, embed internal links that take the viewer to related posts within your blog site. Work toward getting multiple views per visit to your blog.