Finally! A (not lame) use for blogs in schools.

I volunteered to do something in my school. (Uh oh.) I’m an adviser for tenth graders — and all tenth graders are required to do this “big” community service project. One of the observations that we advisers made this year is that the kids aren’t getting ramped up for it — that they see it as a chore.

So I thought — hey, let’s loosen this whole thing up and show the students that even though it’s required, they’re going to be doing something important, even if it’s only for 3 days. And they should think about the issues they’re going to be dealing with (hunger, illiteracy, etc.).

And they should have fun with it.

Right now we as educators are looking at this activity as a learning activity. But as soon as you put the veneer of “lesson plans” and ask students to write responses to “prompts,” community service goes from being something potentially rewarding and becomes something that is a chore. At least, that’s how I think this is all playing out.

So in our last meeting, I offered the idea we make a blog that all the students in the grade could post to, for all the other members of the grade to view. The way I presented it was:

1. There should be 2 “group posts” (where each group doing a particular project posts something they all wrote together) — one before and one after the community service project.

2. There should be 3 required “individual posts” where each student can write about anything they want relating to their project. The kids could post pictures, videos, interview someone, write about a particular moment, chronicle their days, do whatever.

And then there should be a contest for the “best group blog post,” “best individual blog post,” and “best picture/video blog post.”

I might be heading this up, and I’m happy to, but I’m afraid that there will be a lot of talking and not a lot of doing. I think if we treat this as something exciting, make the blog an “event” and into something that isn’t a chore, then we’ll get a good response.

Here’s a sample document that I made which I’d love to give to the kids explaining the blog and what we’re going to be doing. (It is good design, by the way, and I’m darn proud of that.)

I’ll keep you updated on what happens with this project.

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