Student blogging: top 5 tips

This month I am teaching English to 4 Spanish students who have come to live in the area for the whole of July. The programme includes English classes with a teacher during the mornings and a variety of activities in the afternoon. I began teaching these groups during school holidays 8 years ago and I love doing it! This year, with all my new twitter knowledge I offered them the option of making their own blog about their time here and they loved the idea. So I decided it would be an experiment on my part to recap the ‘behind the scenes’ of blogging; for example editing and embedding videos.

I have also used the opportunity to practise some of the tools I have been learning (and blogging) about with this small group, for example using Vokis and google maps, so it’s been a learning project for both students and teacher!

The students have written the blog post themselves and I have checked that it all makes sense! I took most of the photos and put them into Windows Movie-Maker with their choice of song. WordPress have a great slideshow option which is super easy to make but I think the music & zooming of the slideshow adds something special!

Here is the blog itself which they are currently updating every weekday, if you have a few moments please leave them a comment on the blog or what they are doing:

onemonthinliverpool.wordpress.com

Top 5 things I have learned so far:

  1. Student ownership is the key – they spent nearly an hour of their own free time writing and editing yesterday’s post
  2. Spread the word to kind people who will comment – writing for a real audience, especially natives of the target language is a massive motivator and gives extra purpose to what they are doing.
  3. Initial investment in time but worth it! Once you figure out how to embed things it gets a lot easier and quicker to add your media and make their blog unique.
  4. Use examples of their classwork  This means that, not only are they doing class work for themselves and because they ‘have to’ but if you include work regularly, in my case every day they know that it will be showcased to the world! Amazing how suddenly their presentation skills and effort improve!
  5. Link class work to extra-curricular work This would work for field trips and excursions that are linked to class work, in my case, one day they learned about directions and used Google Maps in class to find their way around a village. Then in the afternoon they actually went there and had to ask local people for directions! They loved how they were in the village that they had seen in Google Maps! Take a closer look at Day 3
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About Miss Cairns

Secondary MFL teacher from North West England
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