I want to start my students into the world of blogging next year and I need a bit of advice...

Each week my students have a "weekly reader" assignment (thank you Jim Burke!), whereby they go to a website and respond to what the see/hear. My idea for this coming year is that instead of turning their weekly reader assignment in via the traditional method, they post it as a blog entry. That way fellow classmates (or whomever comes across the entry) can comment. I will require all students in the class to sign-up to each blog via a RSS reader.

Here's my main question...

Should I have them sign-up for their own blogs via a source like Blogger or Wordpress? Should I add pages to our current site: Lahaise's Lair, should I add pages to my "personal' blog: Paige's Prose, or something different?

I would really love input from those of you who have experience with student blogs.

Thank you!!

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Absolutely. That's why I want to start them on this venture. I "think" that by either setting up a forum situation (the least desirable option), or getting the Wordpress MU running, they will be able to have that response. That is sort of the whole idea. I want to take me out of the leader role, i.e. being the only one who gives them feedback.
Paige, Here is another suggestion---start with a few kids rather than trying to manage dozens. I offered the blog up to my 'writers' and eventually everybody came on board. I have mixed feelings, after three years, about blogging with K-6 kids, let me know if you want to discuss this further.
I agree, Andrew and it's why I suggested Moodle for a threaded discussion. Many blogs (like Blogger) don't allow for responding to a response so all responses just drift down the page. Even with CR 2.0, it sometmes hard for readers to figure out who's being addressed. I used Moodle for book discussions--did about 8 of them and got disenchanted for reasons I won't drone on about here, but Moodle worked fine.
Hi Paige!
What grade level are you working with? That may make a difference as to whether you go with individual blogs or your own group one. I would highly recommend Edublogs. I am planning to do something similar to what you described. Just starting to put some thoughts together on a google doc. Let me know if you want to collaborate or share ideas.
Good luck!
Hi Donelle,

I am lucky in that my "kids" are 11th & 12th grade (16-18 y.o.). I am not sure I would want to venture down this path if they were younger. LOL.

My email is paj4614 at gmail dot com. I'd love to chat about more.
Another reminder, be sure you have 'rules', expectations, and parent and admin permissions. Older kids areb so blaise about social networking you can have chatting, uploading, downloading, innappropriate comments etc.
Sounds great. Let's chat. My school just signed up for Wordpress MU. Would love to hear your ideas for structuring this. :)
More good points! I missed the part about threaded discussions. I think that is the way to go really. Again, what I want is for them to experience feedback from someone besides me. I love commenting on blogs and know it feels wonderful when I get a comment on mine. That's what I want for them. However, I do see your points about continuing a discussion, which lends itself well to a forum. What I want is one perfect solution, but it just exist. LOL.
It actually just hit me that the Ning platform contains blogs. I never really thought of our personal pages as blogs, but that's what they are.
Ning has forums, blogs, personal pages, and groups. There is a separate blogging feature (besides the personal pages) and it is simple enough for them to use. It allows for comments and the forums allow for threaded discussions. Seems like that would be a great solution.
Now I'm mad at myself because I went through all this pain to set-up everything with Wordpress on my server! LOL. I don't know why it didn't occur to me.

I actually think I will talk with the students in September and offer the Ning to them as a more traditional blogging platform. Right now my Ning is closed, but I will open it up like a regular blog. Then I can still have them use the forum at my new site: Lahaise's Lair for their weekly reader assignment & replies. The good feature with both sites is that I can sign up to follow everything via RSS.

I think I need to start working on a letter to send home that explains everything to the parents.
I wanted post an update...

I set up Wordpress MU. Each of my 155 students has their own blog. The stuff I'm seeing is amazing. The are commenting and blogging. It's awesome!



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