I am fairly new to blogging and as part of undertaking an online course in blogging, 31 days to be a better blogger, I have had to reflect on my learning. The learning in technology has been enormous – technorati, google analytics and heat maps to mention but a few but there has also been some quieter, less obvious, learning and that has been around me as a writer and how this might impact on teaching children.
I have never considered myself to be a writer although I do think of myself as a reader. Someone recently said to me whan I was talking about not being a writer “Well you blog don’t you?” And yes I do, so I am a writer. So what has made me think I am a writer and kept me going?
The first thing is that there are people who read the blog and comment. They are listening and responding and joining in with the conversation. The delight in switching on in the morning and finding that not only has someone read what I have written but have also commented. It is one of the things that keeps me writing.
I am slowly discovering my voice and my niche in this blogging world. I have tried out a variety of different types of post and content and am learning about what appeals to my audience. This is a small, global audience but one that has interests in common.
Not everything I write is of interest to everyone so I can make mistakes, in terms of content or quality of writing and nothing happens. Literally. This means that I can try things out.
In order to write, I need to read. I therefore read a lot of blogs. I read them because I am interested in what the authors have to say but also read them and think about why the post appealed to me. I am reading and responding as a reader but also reading as a writer.
Commenting on others’ blogs was quite scary to start off with. But this is what blogging is all about. Establishing contacts and discussing. I didn’t know whether other bloggers would be interested in what I had to offer the conversation. However, with time and practise my confidence in this area has grown.
The reading, thinking and involvement in social networks generates further things to blog about. This post is as a result of the interest in a previous post about blogging to improve children’s writing and belonging to the 31 days be a better blogger group.
Are these not the things that we want children to experience as writers? I think these have implications for us if we want children to blog.
- We need to set up a method by which children have access to a range of blogs in areas that they are interested in. I am not writing about literacy and ICT because someone told me to. I write about it because I am interested in it.
- We need to find a community that will read what children have to say. Not just adults who are supporting the process but those who are also interested in the content so that we can be thinking about audience and purpose when we write. We need to establish this community so that feedback is given to the children in a meaningful way and nourishes and nurtures their writing.
- We need to givem them access to a range of ways of writing blog posts so that they can try things out and find their own style and voice.
- We need to encourage children to write about what they are interested in when they have something to say. For some this might be a lot more frequently than others.
- Not everyone need have an individual blog. There may be some common interests that mean that a group blog could be established.
- We need to teach children how to comment so that it shows you are thinking about the ideas in the writing.
- We still need to teach children about how to communicate their ideas effectively. Grammar matters! (I am a literacy consultant after all!)