It's important to take some time to teach directly some of the elements that make a blog as a blog. Without these things, a blog is simply a piece of writing that has been posted in a static space online. Blogs are meant to be more than text on the page -- they should be interactive, they should make connections, and they should have a visual impact. Blogs marry text and image as a way of communicating that is nearly ubiquitous in the digital age. In addition, students can learn to add tags (sometimes called labels) as a way of making their posts more searchable. Links emphasize the connections one blog may have to other resources on the web.

Images/Graphics


Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 10.02.37 PM.pngOne of the first things that new bloggers discover is the importance of graphics (photographs, videos, and other graphics) to enhance the text of a blog post. Exploring the relationship of the post to an image leads to deeper thinking about the meaning of both. It is important to ask students to include images thoughtfully with their blogs -- to illustrate or expand an idea, to deliver information (as in an infographic), to demonstrate a lesson or steps in a DIY post, to represent an idea symbolically. Finding the right visual enhancement leads students to new ways of searching and even creating images. Students also need to learn to find copyright friendly images, leading to a discussion of Creative Commons and Fair Use. Students should also learn how to credit an image appropriately.

Below you can find an excerpt from one of Susan's blog posts about how to find images for blog posts:

"Here is a helpful way to look at copyright when selecting images for your blog:

Sivia Rosenthal Tolisano, “Copyright Flowchart: Can I Use It? Yes? No? If This, Then…,” Langwitches, 10 June 2014,http://langwitches.org/blog/2014/06/10/copyright-flowchart-can-i-use-it-yes-no-if-this-then/ .

You can use the resources below, all from Richard Byrne’s Free Technology 4 Teachers blog, to help you locate copyright-friendly, public domain (not owned by anyone), or Creative Commons sources:

I also like to use Compfight, a search engine for images on Flickr, but you will need to click on the filters for “Creative Commons” and “Safe,” and then you should choose an image from below the line that splits the page. (I’ll show you how to use this in class.)

I look forward to being convinced in your blog posts!"


In addition, you may wish to explore these posts that introduce students to using images:

Tags

Teaching students how to incorporate tags (called "labels" in blogger) will allow others to search their blogs more easily. Tags can be likened to a filing category or folder topic. To make your classroom blogs easy to search for teaching purposes, you may want to consider asking students to tag each post in this way at the very least:
  • by author's name (first name only for younger students),
  • by assignment (for example, persuasion or free_post),
  • by topic.

After the tags begin to accumulate, it's interesting for bloggers to see how a "tag cloud" can grow as a visual representation of the topics covered.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 10.01.00 PM.png

Links

Links, while simple on the surface, are a powerful part of any blog post. They literally connect to other sources that can enhance a reader's experience with a blog. But they also conceptually link one idea or bit of information to something else, giving the writer the power to draw upon connections that might otherwise be overlooked. Creating links on a blog can show the range of a writer's reading and thinking for a blog post.


Image Credit:
Aubrey's infographic for her post "Buck: A Surviving Dog" on Jack London's Call of the Wild,made with the graphic creation tool easel.ly .