I said to someone today that I was trying to think of ways that my students could “do more blogging.” It sounded strange at the time, and I’ve been mulling over that phrase in my brain ever since wondering what it was, exactly, that I meant by that. I’ve always been interested in getting kids to write more, and I know posting in a Web log is writing. But I think I’m starting to differentiate what blog-writing is and how it differs from what we traditionally teach in school.
I remember when the five paragraph essay was all the rage and the emphasis was on structure and clarity. And then came those writing workshop days where the emphasis went to process and reflection. And now, with the prevalence of standardized tests, the pendulum is swinging back to form and construction more and more. Regardless of how we teach it, however, I’ve always felt that most kids never get too far beyond the form, that voice has always been the poor relative that we made time for if we had it. But the truly great writers have both; you can hear them in their writing. The people I read on a regular basis have that voice. It’s what keeps me reading.
What I’ve found most interesting about writing a Web log is the way it has nurtured my voice. In many ways, I feel like it’s the anti-form, the place where I do my thinking about the writing and the reading. And sometimes, I do some real writing too. It’s driven a lot by the assumption of audience, no doubt, and I guess that’s what makes it truly a different form of writing. It’s more reflective and analytic, and it gets it’s genesis in the day to day or someone else’s well-written phrase. It’s driven by reading and thinking. It’s not personal writing for myself, and it’s not formal writing for the test. It’s a different beast that I think I’m still trying to characterize acurately.
All I know is whatever it is, I want my students to do more of it.
Tom Banaszewski says
Quick questions about selecting a free or low cost blog service. I want to create a blog that allows for multiple author posts. TypePad wants $15/mo. Any suggestions?
Michael Bazeley says
Tom: Be aware that with TypePad, secondary (or “invited”) authors cannot make “continuation” posts. That is, they can post the short blurbs that appear on the home page, but they cannot make longer posts that continue to another page. They also cannot access the links feature or photo albums. I’m told they are working on changing this. The alternative is to have everyone share a common login.
If you have a little tech savvy, you can find your own hosting (for about $10/month) and install your own blogging software such as bloxom, Movable Type or pMachine, to name a few, all of which support multiple authors, I believe.