Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Blog is to Literature as a Website is to Informational Text

"My Little Brother" is a poem by Ralph Fletcher
I planned to create websites with my students for their poetry projects.  That's what I did last year, but then as I recreated my blog this weekend, I realized that a blog is a better vehicle for poetry, prose, stories and other literary genre, while the website lends itself to informational text and research.

A website seems to be more functional than a blog, while a blog seems to be more artistic than a website.  There's a sense of creativity that goes into blog creation that calls one to declare their voice with image, text and format.  The website, on the other hand, acts more like a file cabinet where efficiency trumps artistry--although both are important.

So tomorrow each child will create their own blog.  They'll begin by setting tight privacy settings and establish a uniform layout (for now).  Next they'll design their blog.  That will take lots of time as I'm going to tell them that it's important that their blog reflect who they are as students and writers. Then they'll add their authors' pictures, a few words to describe themselves and their first post: "All About the Author."

The process will be a bit laborious at first.  All students will sit at their desks; each with a laptop.  I'll guide them step by step from the front of the room using my document camera and one student's file. I'll choose a child who wants the close guidance to model the effort.  The students will be excited so keeping voices low will be a challenge.  As soon as some finish the first steps, I'll let them spread out as that will lessen the noise factor and give me a chance to focus on those having difficulty with the initial steps.

Have you created blogs with your students?  If so, what advice do you have for me and for them?  Later in the year, we'll create websites to host our endangered species research keeping with the theme that "a blog is to literature as a website is to informational text."