Out of School Blogging: Lesson Three Freedom in Blogging
by Sarah Macie Skipwith & Anthony Miranda
As we mentioned in our overview, we see blogging as an opportunity for students to reflect or explore their personal interests through writing. The blogging that students do stands outside of the academic sphere, which provides them with a space that they are in control of and that they own. This space allows students to take on their own voice, stylistic approaches to writing, and avenues of expression. Students’ approaches to writing in less restrictive environments can provide educators with the opportunity to dive into the students’ personal writing and teach concepts and mechanics from what the students know, what they find interesting, and what they find relevant to their lives. But blogs are not only about providing students with freedom, they also introduce the concept of a live document. Unlike final academic papers that they turn in at school, students are actually encouraged to go back to their blog post and revise, edit, and expand the ideas that they may have not finished completely in that post. Due to the living nature of blog posts, editing, revising and expanding become “just part of the process of writing” because they have an audience who is reading their blogs and deciding whether they are credible writers. Along with the freedom that blogging allows students, they must also acknowledge the fact that freedom comes with responsibilities.
Launch/Activity for revision:
After our mini-lesson/ “daily dose” of revisiting connective writing, we move on to explaining that we can use pictures to express ourselves because blogs allow us to be free in the ways that we present our ideas. We begin to simply discuss the editing/revision capabilities that blogs have. We are very specific and point out the “save” button on blogs, which is helpful when you are interested in posting a blog later. We also point out the dashboard and demonstrate how to edit a post that may have been posted a couple of weeks ago. We show these editing and revision capabilities because we want to emphasize how the process of revision is a norm in writing blogs. To further our mentee’s understanding that revision is a part of the craft of writing, we introduce another student writing site called 100 Word Challenge.
Together we review the 100 Word Challenge website and read a couple of the posts. After reading them and very quickly discussing how much revision these students probably had to go through to get their writing down to 100 words, we challenge our tutee to take one of her posts and revise it to 100 words. Asking young writers to revise can be challenging, but using the 100WC our tutee can understand that each word counted (literally) and that she needs to work concisely to get her idea across.