Issues of concern to address before starting a blogging project

The following issues and traits were discussed with students before actual blogging began. 

Issues
  • Pseudonyms were used to protect the privacy rights of the students due to research protocol. Generally first name only or a nickname is used for blogging students. Last names are not used.
  • Students' family names, passwords, home addresses, phone numbers or any personal information that would give information that would help someone directly locate or contact a student are never given out online.
  • The issue of treating the blogs as a classroom space is addressed with students. It is not a place for personal and private issues that are not related to school topics.
  • The posting of anything that you would not want your family, your teachers, your friends to read is discussed with students. Striving to use correct English and being aware that everything you post is a reflection of you is addressed. The student role of being an ambassador for blogging in schools is clarified and discussed. 
  • The concept of writing in a public setting is an issue to discuss with students. Leaning to  write respectfully while getting your point across is an issue of concern. Blogs are about ideas but agreeing or disagreeing  with the idea, not the person is a skill that students need to learn.
  • Students are given and can help develop a procedure to follow should they come across anything online that makes them feel uncomfortable or afraid. Our policy is to  minimize your screen immediately and report to your teacher. 

Traits

 The above issues were discussed to lay the groundwork for building a learning community within a classroom to promote the traits of successful bloggers. These traits are acknowledged and reinforced throughout the year by celebrating student work. Those traits are as follows:

  • Accept the challenge of blogging to their “personal best.” Having challenging assignments provides the opportunity for them to demonstrate higher levels of performance and successful elementary bloggers welcome that challenge.
  • Show improvement on their posts (or comments) with practice and guidance from others. Posts are thoughtful and show sharpened thinking. This includes not only good content, but – because these are school-related blogs – also follows writing conventions including spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • Respond to posts (or comments) by others. They begin to understand the power of blogs is in their connectedness – they are connected to a larger community of ideas. They anticipate and enjoy those connections.
  • Work toward including posts (or comments) that include textual references to support their opinions. They begin to add quotes or links to other works. Their voice is apparent.
  • Respect others. It’s okay to disagree; it’s not okay to be disagreeable. Be respectful of others and their opinions, and be polite when you disagree.
  • Dare to take responsible educational "risks" to "bump their reading, writing, thinking and blogging up several notches!"
  • Celebrate their own and their peers' successes!
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