Get Your Students Blogging in 3 Easy Steps

Writing in the art room is a great way to get your students thinking more deeply about their work. Plus, in today’s world of accountability, students’ writing is a great way to show tangible evidence of their learning. Today I’m sharing a way to support student writing while also teaching technology skills and creating a digital portfolio.

If this sounds good to you, read on to learn how to get your kids blogging in three easy steps!

person typing

1. Pick a platform.

My favorite blogging platform is Weebly, for three reasons:

  1. It’s free or low-cost.
    I have my students set up personal accounts, which are free but also public to anyone on the web. If you prefer a non-public version, Weebly also has a “for education” version, which teachers can use to manage up to 40 student sites. Additional student sites can be purchased for a low fee.
  2. It’s easy to use.
    Weebly’s “drag and drop” method of adding features, like textboxes or images, is a breeze to use. Plus, students are able to easily use their creativity to personalize the looks of their blogs.
  3. It’s flexible.
    Students can blog using desktops, but Weebly also has Android and iPhone apps. This makes it easy to use in class, even if you don’t have one-to-one computer access.

2. Set up the blogs.

Setting up blogs is relatively simple. My students are easily able to get up and running in one 90-minute class period with the support of a clear, step-by-step guide. You can download a copy of the guide that I use in my classroom below. If your students are using the public version of Weebly, make sure to have them email you a link to their blog so you can easily access it for grading purposes.

directions for setting up weebly

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3. Set Expectations for Writing and Posting

The content of a blog post is important, so I make sure students understand my expectations for writing and including images with a rubric I’ve developed. You can find a link to the rubric and other resources under the “Assessment” tab at www.openartroom.com.

student blogging at sports practice

Here’s an overview of how I evaluate the writing of my high school students:

Level 3
Your writing analyzes your work process honestly and explains your thinking clearly using art vocabulary. Your pictures provide visual evidence to support your writing.

Level 2
Your writing is surface level. Thoughts aren’t clearly explained. Your photos are related to what you write about but don’t provide clear evidence.

Level 1
Your writing is general and could apply to anyone’s work. Thoughts aren’t explained. Your photos aren’t connected to your writing.

Once your students understand what to write, it’s time to assign their first post. I assign one post per unit, which works out to once every 3 to 4 weeks, and write questions based on the learning goals being worked on.

Blogs are a great classroom tool for reflection and the creation of digital portfolios that students can create and maintain easily. Give them a try in your classroom!

How do you use blogging in your classroom? Tell us in the comments section!

What other questions do you have about setting up or using student blogs?

Melissa Purtee

Melissa teaches at Apex High School in North Carolina. She’s passionate about supporting diversity, student choice, and facilitating authentic expression.

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  • Morgan Bond

    Hi! I love this idea:) I was wondering if you could give a suggestion on the logistics of having a whole-class blog that all students could contribute to? Thank you!

    • Fun idea! I wonder if asking students to email content and images to you to post would work, or asking specific students to login and blog during class?

  • Abby Schukei

    Depending on the age of students you’re looking to work collaboratively with–Kidblog is a great resource especially for elementary students. Although it doesn’t have the visual appeal of weebly or WordPress it allows you to have one teacher account and all students can contribute in one place!

    http://kidblog.org/

  • Lathem_Und

    I would love to see some hints about how to collect and manage images of student artwork.

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