In late December 2006 I started a class blog and gave each of my students a blog of his or her own. Having only started this blog a few months earlier, it was an exciting time as I (with the great help of Ellen Nickles, a technologist at my school) and the children explored more and more ways to learn with the blogs.
This year I started the class blog in September and use it constantly. If I had modeled a piece of writing for an assignment I put it on the blog. If we’d made a chart of ideas I put it on the blog. Everything we did was there for the kids, the parents, and me to refer to. And so when they were given their own blogs in January they were eager and ready to go.
Since then we’ve taught the kids to scan in images and add them into their posts, do links, categories, and podcasts. They created their own banners and tag lines. It has been amazing and wonderful; I keep getting inspired with new ideas for them every day.
In addition to the class blog being a great archive for me (as I go back and look at last year’s posts when teaching something), the student blogs have become archives for them. In other words, electronic portfolios. I have accordion files for each child in a file cabinet and they put finished projects in them. For example, after weeks of hard work they have completed Cinderella stories and placed their many drafts in those files. As for their final stories, they will be publishing them on their blogs next week. Already on them are their Amistad poems and lots of other writing. Today we begin our Pilgrim unit and they will be putting a great deal of the work they do for it on their blogs.
And so, in addition to all the other great educational reasons for blogging with kids is the one that blogs are electronic portfolios — for teachers and kids.