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7fjdl;fdjaepgehapogerhgda;ogjrth Grade “Blogging as Writing”: A Possible Curriculum
7th Grade “Blogging as Writing”: A Possible Curriculum

Preparation/Setup:
Set your classroom blogging space in __Kidblog.__
Make your settings “tight” to begin (ie., teacher reviews all posts and comments at first) -- students will earn their way towards more public sharing.
Pay $25 for a pro account to allow students to individualize their blogs (reimbursable).
Send home a letter and permission form to parents (always a good idea, but especially needed for children under 13).
Write an “about me” post for your teacher blog (note: this is a great place to put blogging assignments, share resources, or highlight “featured” blogs.
Two ways to have students join: provide them with a username and password you have created (recommended; they can change the password once they are in) OR have students log in with a “class code.”


Quarter 1
All posts and comments reviewed by teacher before posting.

Required Writing Assignment: Personal Narrative (“About Me” post)
Traditionally, a first blog post is about the writer of the blog. Students can use classroom lessons about the personal narrative to write a short, introductory essay about themselves. Students should include a photo with this essay. (If students or parents are uncomfortable with sharing personal photos, they can compose a photograph that represents their topic in some way.) 45 points, including 5 points each for photo and tags

Suggested topic: “My Life as a Writer”
Students look back on their development as writers and chronicle the important steps along the way. Who or what influenced their development? What were the turning points? How did they get here -- that is, how did they reach this new point of becoming online writers (bloggers) with something to say about subjects they are passionately interested in? This is a narrative, so keep in mind a good writer’s techniques for telling an engaging story!

Mini-Lessons (Writing):
What is a blog?
Writing with detail (show don’t tell)
Using strong nouns and verbs (parts of speech)
Setting a scene; using dialogue
Organization (paragraphing -- usually shorter paragraphs in blogging are easier on the eye)
Focus and unity
Using images to extend your writing
Editing and proofreading (round 1: complete sentences, end punctuation, capitalization)
Audience (online discourse, tone)

Mini-Lessons (Technology):
Setting up a blog
Adding tags
Digital safety, digital citizenship
Uploading images

Optional Writing Assignment: Free Post 1
It is important for students to feel ownership with their writing only, something they do not always feel when completing assigned posts. Students should be encouraged to choose a topic about something that they are interested in or passionate about, something they feel enthusiastic about sharing with their readership. Some students will jump right into this; others will feel stymied without the traditional structure of an assignment. Struggling to find a topic that will interest readers and figuring out how to write about that topic is an important part of the learning process. Providing opportunities to brainstorm topics they are “experts” on or want to learn about, as well as providing a list of writing prompts may be needed at this point or to help students later on as they find their way as writers. Trust that students will want to discover writing forms, structures, and conventions related to whatever it is they choose. 45 points, including 5 pts. each for image/photo (with photo credit if needed), tags, and link; extra credit for extra images, tags, or links?

Give students some parameters: a length to shoot for, a challenge to try a new writing technique, accountability for editing and proofreading (based on grammar lessons you have reviewed). Then get out of their way (provide help in class as they write)

Suggested approach: Shoot for 300-500 words (the length of a typical blog post is 500-1000); include specific detail (show don’t tell); write in complete sentences and logically organized paragraphs (at least two); edit and proofread carefully; include at least one image (if not original, include a photo credit), appropriate tags (free_post1, Yourname, other topics that might be included in an index), and one link to an internet source for further information).

Mini-Lessons (Writing)
Brainstorming a list of topics
Considering the purpose or focus of your post
Revising (adding, cutting, rearranging, substituting)

Mini-Lessons (Technology)
Basic searching tips
Adding a link
Writing/adding comments

Comments:
Students are asked to write two comments on two different students’ blog posts, once they have been reviewed and released by the teacher. (All comments are reviewed by the teacher before posting as well, at least at first.) Commenting is important to blogging -- it makes the writer’s sense of audience real! It also adds the sense of a public conversation, connection, and interactivity. Transparency and choosing one’s words carefully become equally important! Students learn how to extend the conversation rather than just “hit and run” with a quick jab or “like.” Very important: Students should not assume the role of the teacher when writing comments; they should understand that a public blog is not the place for peer review or personal commentary.

Instructions to Students:
Read several other blog posts by your classroom peers. You are required to comment on at least two. Please comment on students other than your best friends. Share the love! All writers want to know that someone is out there listening! A comment is not a critique; instead, it extends the conversation, ask questions, or shares a different perspective, point of view, or interpretation. Each comment earns up to 5 pts. Assuming you earn a full 45 pts. for each blog post, you must complete two excellent comments to earn 100 pts. for blogging each quarter. Comments will only be post if they are error free, appropriate in tone, and completely lacking in evaluative remarks (good or bad).

1 pt.
I had the same idea.
2. pts.
I was interested in your comment that the dog seemed to know tricks already.
3 pts.
I was interested in how the dog seemed to know tricks already. How did you know this?
4 pts.
I was interested in your comment that “the dog already knew tricks.” The detail that he sits on command really drives this home. I wonder if you tried any other commands with him?
5 pts.
I really connected with your comment that “the dog already knew tricks.” Mine did too! Did you try any other commands with him other than “sit” command included in your description? I ask because my cousin is a dog trainer, and I have worked with him a lot. Here is a good website about training dogs to respond to commands: __“52 Tricks to Teach Your Dog.”__
Deleted (0 pts.):
Nice job, you piece of doggie doo you. I wud work on your comma errs, but other than that this is grate!!!!!!!

============================================

Quarter 2:
All posts and comments reviewed by teacher before posting.

Required Writing Assignment: Reading Response (to Far North or Hope Was Here)
Students write an extended response to a chapter or passage, character study, or other assigned focus. Students continue to use agreed upon and additional tags, original images or book covers (free to use if promoting books), and links.

Mini-Lessons (Writing)
Active reading
Responding to literature: close reading (visualization, inference, interpretation)
Responding to literature: using literary terms (character, plot, point of view, setting, theme)
Using details as support
Grammar, editing and proofreading: commas; sentences and conjunctions; prepositions
Citing resources (includes image/photo credits)

Mini-Lessons(Technology)
Embedding video, maps, etc.
Finding and using copyright free images

Optional Writing Assignment: Free Post 2
Students take a lesson from another student’s blog post and use it as a jumping off place for their own writing. This can be a response to their structure or format, subject matter, point of view or any other choice made by the writer. This encourages more active reading of blog posts and reinforces the idea the they are all writers who can learn from other writers. Students acknowledge and link to the other student’s post, which broadens the audience for that original post. Students should continue to include at least one image, link, and agreed-upon tags for this post (free_post2, username, etc.)

Note: Students could use the “informal letter” or “open letter” as a way to approach this assignment.

Mini-Lessons (Writing)
Responding to literature: a writer’s choices (word choice, tone/mood, structure, content)
Referencing other writers
Acknowledging others’ work

Mini-Lessons (Technology)
Creating a pull-out quote (optional)
Referring and linking to other blog posts

Comments:
Students continue to write at least 2 comments for full credit in the “blogging as writing” portion of the course

===================================================

Quarter 3
Students have a trial quarter of posting blogs and comments before teacher review.

Required Writing Assignment: Thesis/Argument
Students continue to develop their formal responses to literature in the public venue of blogging. It could be particularly useful here to have students post a tentative thesis and overview of their argument. Peers could be instructed to ask questions for clarification and respond to the viability of the proposed argument (will it fly?) -- these would count as comments. Students continue to include tags, links, and images (with photo/image credit if needed).

Mini-Lessons (Writing):
Crafting a thesis
Finding evidence and using quotations
Analysis
Understanding and using modifiers

Optional Writing Assignment: Free Post 3
At this point, it may be a good idea to ask students to try something new -- a new topic or a new approach to an old topic, a different format, a different way of interacting with readers. This may be a good time to review their earlier brainstorming of topics and ideas and add to them. Another option may be to have students do some browsing and reading of blogs or other sites of interest to them in order to make recommendations for others’ further reading. Some time spent reviving creative juices may help students who are starting to become formulaic in their writing. If timed writing is stressed during this period, you could have students try out several timed prompts as possible posts for refining later. Students continue to include agreed-upon tags, images, and links.

Mini-Lessons (Writing):
Creativity boosts

Comments: Students should post two comments for full credit as usual. They should be improving significantly in this regard by this point. Students are encouraged to go back and see what has become of the arguments they may have commented on earlier in the writing process.
========================================

Quarter 4
Students’ work is posted prior to teacher review -- and is now open to comments outside the class (the world). Students encouraged to share their blogs with five adults whose support they value and invite comments.

Required Writing Assignment: Thesis/Argument with Quotations
This is the logical follow-up to the previous assignment. Students can continue to post thesis and argument ideas, but also include possible quotations as support, before they shape their fully developed essay. Readers can be encouraged to comment with additional suggestions for quotations that might support the argument given. Students continue to use images, links, and tags for this post, encouraging them to think figuratively and metaphorically with images, rather than just literally, as they do.

Mini-Lessons (Writing):
How to make “academic” writing more interesting to read
Pronoun agreement

Optional Writing Assignment: Final Reflection
Students should give some thought to how their writing and thinking have developed over the course of the year through their blogs. How they go about this should be up to them, so that this is still considered a free post. Some discussion of how to reflect honestly and openly may be in order. Students continue to use tags, links (perhaps to their own former posts), and images.

Mini-Lessons (Writing):
Reflection, questioning, and self-evaluation
Evaluating others’ writing

Comments: Students are encouraged to use their comments during this round of blogging to nominate two peers’ posts, one each for “Best Required Post” and “Best Free Post.” The comment should say specifically why the nomination is being given (reinforcing the idea of using support and evidence for points). This is a powerful motivator and confidence boost for students and encourages them to acknowledge the achievements of others and to learn from their successes.

Other possibilities for blog posts (extra credit?):
Sharing poetry and other creative writing
Sharing videos made in class
Researching and using vocabulary (group glossary, practice sentences, vocabulary in context for close reading and analysis)
Reflecting on learning
Sharing about independent reading



7th Grade “Blogging as Writing”: A Possible Curriculum

Preparation/Setup:Set your classroom blogging space in Kidblog.Make your settings “tight” to begin (ie., teacher reviews all posts and comments at first) -- students will earn their way towards more public sharing.Pay $25 for a pro account to allow students to individualize their blogs (reimbursable).Send home a letter and permission form to parents (always a good idea, but especially needed for children under 13).Write an “about me” post for your teacher blog (note: this is a great place to put blogging assignments, share resources, or highlight “featured” blogs.Two ways to have students join: provide them with a username and password you have created (recommended; they can change the password once they are in) OR have students log in with a “class code.”

Quarter 1All posts and comments reviewed by teacher before posting.

Required Writing Assignment: Personal Narrative (“About Me” post)Traditionally, a first blog post is about the writer of the blog. Students can use classroom lessons about the personal narrative to write a short, introductory essay about themselves. Students should include a photo with this essay. (If students or parents are uncomfortable with sharing personal photos, they can compose a photograph that represents their topic in some way.) 45 points, including 5 points each for photo and tags

Suggested topic: “My Life as a Writer”Students look back on their development as writers and chronicle the important steps along the way. Who or what influenced their development? What were the turning points? How did they get here -- that is, how did they reach this new point of becoming online writers (bloggers) with something to say about subjects they are passionately interested in? This is a narrative, so keep in mind a good writer’s techniques for telling an engaging story!

Mini-Lessons (Writing):What is a blog?Writing with detail (show don’t tell)Using strong nouns and verbs (parts of speech)Setting a scene; using dialogueOrganization (paragraphing -- usually shorter paragraphs in blogging are easier on the eye)Focus and unityUsing images to extend your writingEditing and proofreading (round 1: complete sentences, end punctuation, capitalization)Audience (online discourse, tone)

Mini-Lessons (Technology):Setting up a blogAdding tagsDigital safety, digital citizenshipUploading images

Optional Writing Assignment: Free Post 1It is important for students to feel ownership with their writing only, something they do not always feel when completing assigned posts. Students should be encouraged to choose a topic about something that they are interested in or passionate about, something they feel enthusiastic about sharing with their readership. Some students will jump right into this; others will feel stymied without the traditional structure of an assignment. Struggling to find a topic that will interest readers and figuring out how to write about that topic is an important part of the learning process. Providing opportunities to brainstorm topics they are “experts” on or want to learn about, as well as providing a list of writing prompts may be needed at this point or to help students later on as they find their way as writers. Trust that students will want to discover writing forms, structures, and conventions related to whatever it is they choose. 45 points, including 5 pts. each for image/photo (with photo credit if needed), tags, and link; extra credit for extra images, tags, or links?

Give students some parameters: a length to shoot for, a challenge to try a new writing technique, accountability for editing and proofreading (based on grammar lessons you have reviewed). Then get out of their way (provide help in class as they write)

Suggested approach: Shoot for 300-500 words (the length of a typical blog post is 500-1000); include specific detail (show don’t tell); write in complete sentences and logically organized paragraphs (at least two); edit and proofread carefully; include at least one image (if not original, include a photo credit), appropriate tags (free_post1, Yourname, other topics that might be included in an index), and one link to an internet source for further information).

Mini-Lessons (Writing)Brainstorming a list of topicsConsidering the purpose or focus of your postRevising (adding, cutting, rearranging, substituting)

Mini-Lessons (Technology)Basic searching tipsAdding a linkWriting/adding comments

Comments:Students are asked to write two comments on two different students’ blog posts, once they have been reviewed and released by the teacher. (All comments are reviewed by the teacher before posting as well, at least at first.) Commenting is important to blogging -- it makes the writer’s sense of audience real! It also adds the sense of a public conversation, connection, and interactivity. Transparency and choosing one’s words carefully become equally important! Students learn how to extend the conversation rather than just “hit and run” with a quick jab or “like.” Very important: Students should not assume the role of the teacher when writing comments; they should understand that a public blog is not the place for peer review or personal commentary.

Instructions to Students:Read several other blog posts by your classroom peers. You are required to comment on at least two. Please comment on students other than your best friends. Share the love! All writers want to know that someone is out there listening! A comment is not a critique; instead, it extends the conversation, asks questions, or shares a different perspective, point of view, or interpretation. Each comment earns up to 5 pts. Assuming you earn a full 45 pts. for each blog post, you must complete two excellent comments to earn 100 pts. for blogging each quarter. Comments will only be post if they are error free, appropriate in tone, and completely lacking in evaluative remarks (good or bad).

1 pt.I had the same idea.

2. pts.I was interested in your comment that the dog seemed to know tricks already.

3 pts.I was interested in how the dog seemed to know tricks already. How did you know this?

4 pts.I was interested in your comment that “the dog already knew tricks.” The detail that he sits on command really drives this home. I wonder if you tried any other commands with him?

5 pts.I really connected with your comment that “the dog already knew tricks.” Mine did too! Did you try any other commands with him other than “sit” command included in your description? I ask because my cousin is a dog trainer, and I have worked with him a lot. Here is a good website about training dogs to respond to commands: “52 Tricks to Teach Your Dog.”

Deleted (0 pts.):Nice job, you piece of doggie doo you. I wud work on your comma errs, but other than that this is grate!!!!!!!


================================

Quarter 2:All posts and comments reviewed by teacher before posting.

Required Writing Assignment: Reading Response (to Far North or Hope Was Here)Students write an extended response to a chapter or passage, character study, or other assigned focus. Students continue to use agreed upon and additional tags, original images or book covers (free to use if promoting books), and links.

Mini-Lessons (Writing)Active readingResponding to literature: close reading (visualization, inference, interpretation)Responding to literature: using literary terms (character, plot, point of view, setting, theme)Using details as supportGrammar, editing and proofreading: commas; sentences and conjunctions; prepositionsCiting resources (includes image/photo credits)

Mini-Lessons(Technology)Embedding video, maps, etc.Finding and using copyright free images

Optional Writing Assignment: Free Post 2Students take a lesson from another student’s blog post and use it as a jumping off place for their own writing. This can be a response to their structure or format, subject matter, point of view or any other choice made by the writer. This encourages more active reading of blog posts and reinforces the idea the they are all writers who can learn from other writers. Students acknowledge and link to the other student’s post, which broadens the audience for that original post. Students should continue to include at least one image, link, and agreed-upon tags for this post (free_post2, username, etc.)

Note: Students could use the “informal letter” or “open letter” as a way to approach this assignment.

Mini-Lessons (Writing)Responding to literature: a writer’s choices (word choice, tone/mood, structure, content)Referencing other writersAcknowledging others’ work

Mini-Lessons (Technology)Creating a pull-out quote (optional)Referring and linking to other blog posts

Comments:Students continue to write at least 2 comments for full credit in the “blogging as writing” portion of the course.


=======================================

Quarter 3Students have a trial quarter of posting blogs and comments before teacher review.

Required Writing Assignment: Thesis/ArgumentStudents continue to develop their formal responses to literature in the public venue of blogging. It could be particularly useful here to have students post a tentative thesis and overview of their argument. Peers could be instructed to ask questions for clarification and respond to the viability of the proposed argument (will it fly?) -- these would count as comments. Students continue to include tags, links, and images (with photo/image credit if needed).

Mini-Lessons (Writing):Crafting a thesisFinding evidence and using quotationsAnalysisUnderstanding and using modifiers

Optional Writing Assignment: Free Post 3At this point, it may be a good idea to ask students to try something new -- a new topic or a new approach to an old topic, a different format, a different way of interacting with readers. This may be a good time to review their earlier brainstorming of topics and ideas and add to them. Another option may be to have students do some browsing and reading of blogs or other sites of interest to them in order to make recommendations for others’ further reading. Some time spent reviving creative juices may help students who are starting to become formulaic in their writing. If timed writing is stressed during this period, you could have students try out several timed prompts as possible posts for refining later. Students continue to include agreed-upon tags, images, and links.

Mini-Lessons (Writing):Creativity boosts

Comments: Students should post two comments for full credit as usual. They should be improving significantly in this regard by this point. Students are encouraged to go back and see what has become of the arguments they may have commented on earlier in the writing process.


============================

Quarter 4Students’ work is posted prior to teacher review -- and is now open to comments outside the class (the world). Students encouraged to share their blogs with five adults whose support they value and invite comments.

Required Writing Assignment: Thesis/Argument with QuotationsThis is the logical follow-up to the previous assignment. Students can continue to post thesis and argument ideas, but also include possible quotations as support, before they shape their fully developed essay. Readers can be encouraged to comment with additional suggestions for quotations that might support the argument given. Students continue to use images, links, and tags for this post, encouraging them to think figuratively and metaphorically with images, rather than just literally, as they do.

Mini-Lessons (Writing):How to make “academic” writing more interesting to readPronoun agreement

Optional Writing Assignment: Final ReflectionStudents should give some thought to how their writing and thinking have developed over the course of the year through their blogs. How they go about this should be up to them, so that this is still considered a free post. Some discussion of how to reflect honestly and openly may be in order. Students continue to use tags, links (perhaps to their own former posts), and images.

Mini-Lessons (Writing):Reflection, questioning, and self-evaluationEvaluating others’ writing

Comments: Students are encouraged to use their comments during this round of blogging to nominate two peers’ posts, one each for “Best Required Post” and “Best Free Post.” The comment should say specifically why the nomination is being given (reinforcing the idea of using support and evidence for points). This is a powerful motivator and confidence boost for students and encourages them to acknowledge the achievements of others and to learn from their successes.

Other possibilities for blog posts (extra credit?):Sharing poetry and other creative writingSharing videos made in classResearching and using vocabulary (group glossary, practice sentences, vocabulary in context for close reading and analysis)Reflecting on learningSharing about independent reading