Why blog?O Blogs allow users to communicate about a variety of different subjects. In a school library or classroom, blogs allow students to share information about what they’re learning or reading, making them active participants in their own learning and the learning of others, not just in their schools but in the larger world around them.O Students are going to communicate via blogging, social networking, and any other way they can find, with or without our influence. Why not use those tools for an educational purpose? Along the way, we may just teach them how to communicate appropriately and safely.
Before you start blogging…O Consider what you want the mission of your blog to be. Do you want to only focus on reviewing books? Do you want your blog to be a promotional tool for your library or classroom? Do you want it to be used primarily as a communication tool for parents? Think about what you want out of your blog and who your target audience is before you start.O Explore the different blogging programs. There are a lot out there, and some are blocked in schools. Make sure you don’t start a blog that people in your school will be unable to use. (In Greenville County, we are limited to the district blog server.)
When you’re ready to enter the Blogosphere…O Share your ideas for your blog with your administration and teachers. If they don’t buy in and get excited about what you’re doing, your students won’t either.O If you’re a school librarian, work with a few classroom teachers on some blogging lessons. Teach students about how blogs work, netiquette, how to post comments, writing book reviews, and any other skills you deem important.O If you’re a classroom teacher, work with your school librarian. I promise you that he/she will be helpful in using this Web 2.0 tool!O Look to other professionals for ideas if you get “blogger’s block.”O When you’re teaching lessons on blogging, have at least ten posts ready to go so that students have options when learning how to post comments.
Things to considerO Make sure you keep the safety of your users in mind. If you or your principal are uncomfortable using real names, have your students create pen names. (They have a lot of fun with this, too!)O It’s vital to instruct your students on the rules of netiquette. You may have to re-teach these rules quite often.O Post to your blog often (at least once per week)!!!! If you neglect your blog, your users will, too!O Have fun with blogging! Let your students know that you love what you’re doing. Your enthusiasm will be contagious!
How can you use blogs to promote reading?O Create a blog of book reviews.O Establish an online book club where students discuss books they’re reading for class or for their own entertainment.O Start a library blog as a marketing tool. O Promote library activities. O Announce arrival of new books. O Share award lists and themed book lists. O Post student reviews and invite parents, teachers, and authors to comment.
If you plan to create a book review blog…O Read, read, read! When you think you can’t read anymore, keep reading!O Post often. You’ve got to give people reasons to keep coming back to your blog.O Be honest. Don’t give a good review to a book you hated. Your readers will count on you to lead them to books they might enjoy. Also, let your personality show in your writing.
How can you promote your new blog?O Place a link to your blog on your email signature, your website, and on your school’s website.O Send out information on the blog in your newsletter.O Let the local media know that you’re doing something new to promote reading (or whatever else you may be blogging about).O Share the information with your colleagues at meetings and conferences and through email and listservs.O Provide incentives to students and teachers who comment on your blog. (I got permission from my principal to do this for our summer reading program.)O Tell all of your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest!
Highlights of my life as a bloggerO Comments from authorsO Comments from readers around the worldO People who use my reviews to create their reading listsO Students getting excited about communicating with others about books, libraries, and reading
For Book Review and Author Blogs…O Visit Knight Reader at http://knightreader.wordpress.com, and go to the “Book Review and Author Blogs” page.O Please add any other blogs you find in the comments, and I’ll add them to the main page.
Comments and QuestionsO Don’t be afraid to try something new. If it doesn’t work, adapt and try something else. Remember those all-important words—monitor and adjust.O If you’d like any of the lesson plans or materials I’ve used to teach blogging at the elementary level, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll also post as much as possible to the Edmodo group for this session.O You can also email me with questions, concerns, gripes, and anything else when you’re starting your own blogs. I’ll do whatever I can to help you create a successful blog!O Questions?
My blogsOKnight ReaderOFork Shoals Reads!OKnight Reader JuniorOAdventures in LibraryLand