This past week I took a blogging break. I took some vacation time. It was a little over a week off just do some things that really needed doing. It was time to just think and not feel pulled here or pulled there. Plus, having time to do some things I wanted to do just for fun. No deadlines, no rush, no schedule! It was great. I want more vacations like that!

Today I’m back at work. Back to blogging! It’s good to be back. First order of the day was going through an avalanche of email. One email from an educator in Washington got me thinking. His system is providing blogs for all teachers in the district who want them. He was investigating the protocols/policies or guidelines for blog use/posting, etc. that others may have developed. I referred him to several sites where the topic had been discussed. What got me really thinking though was that most of the guidelines focused on what NOT to do like…….

  • not use last names
  • not plagiarize
  • not post personal info like addresses or phone numbers
  • not use profanity
  • not use destructive criticism

It got me thinking about a class I took years ago. The speaker was talking about all our NOT rules and how that makes the students focus on what NOT to do. I agree. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with these NOTS but I think we are missing the boat. We need to focus on the possibilities. I know. Here I go again on the possibilities but that is the heart of it all for me. I really think blogs could be a platform to redefine education. I want that redefining to include the voices of students. Students really need to be engaging in this type of thinking. I’ve found that many of them don’t know how to reflect and talk about their learning experiences. Why would they? We haven’t really given them much time for this type of writing. We haven’t given them much time to talk about how they learn; it’s mainly about what they learn. We need to change that. We need to talk more with our students and really listen. We need to help them with learning how to express their thoughts and help us understand the changing learning arena.

OK, my new and improved guidelines for blogging:

For students:

  • practice writing their thoughts about what they are learning, what they understand and don’t understand, why it is meaningful or not
  • making connections to their learning by exploring what others have written about it on the web
  • contributing their ideas on how our schools could be restructured to have them excited about and believing that they will actually use the information they have acquired in school. What’s
  • striving to improve your writing and take risks
  • with expressing your ideas and bouncing those ideas off of a much larger audience
  • providing a good model of blogging that will convince others that you are thinking and learning (and improving your writing)
  • developing a distinct voice that will make a difference
  • striving for writing that matters
  • expressing your opinion but backing it up with well thought out reasons
  • learning to collaborate
  • asking questions that will make a reader think and want to comment
  • realizing that inappropriate comments can be handled in such a way that negates their impact
    I started this list with students in mind but it works for us, too. Another guideline to go along with the blogging:

    • having face-to-face communication and discussions between teachers and students.

    That’s what teachers need to be blogging about and sharing with other educators. Now I’m not
    done thinking. This is just my initial brainstorm. What do you think?