“But Mr. Martin, I can’t blog with 125 students!”

The point in blogging is that there is two-way communication organized in a chronological order.  I loved it as a tool for my 30 fifth graders because we did have communication going on and I was involved. However, it is a growing pet peeve of mine to have a blog environment where every student has a blog, knowing that the teacher may or may not read their ideas. So, it’s a valid concern, having a 125 student blogs for one teacher to use in a true blogging sense.

It’s a concern, but not a big barrier though. If my blog is my communication tool for my students, and I have several class periods come through each day, I need to rethink my process. One alternative that came up in discussion today was having small groups in each class blog as a group. Oral discussion in the group can be followed up with posting their group ideas online. Groups can then bounce ideas back and forth online, constructively using the feedput from other groups.

One such blog tool is 21classes.com. I wasn’t a big fan at first because it was a tool for one teacher to create and maintain a list of student blogs from that initial site and I didn’t want a blog for each student. But this seems to work well with the class I’m in right now. Off on the right side of the window, there is a drop-down window with all of the student blogs for everyone in the class to use. You can easily go to the other blogs to communicate to anyone in class.

My personal turning point was the idea that teachers with large numbers of kids could organize into groups. The teacher could propose the question or post it on the main page. The individuals in each group can post their comments, recording each person’s ideas. Then the group’s ‘reporter’ can post a summary of their ideas on the class blog. As the groups read the summaries, they could visit the group blogs for more in depth understanding of why they came up with their particular summary.

Just like my dad would find his good screwdrivers with huge chunks taken out of their heads, (I’ll blame that on the oldest sister’s chiseling attempts), you’ll always find someone using internet tools for various reasons. I would suggest that if you are truly blogging, make every effort to make it a teacher-interactive, 2-way communication tool. Getting students to blog in small groups may just facilitate more teacher interaction.