(👆Abby A. working on her travel blog.👆)
In an effort to create a positive digital footprint–while doing real-world writing for an authentic audience beyond Teacher-Lady, my students have started their Passion Blog Projects. This real-world task, inspired by the fabulous teacher-author Catlin Tucker (@catlin_tucker), allows students to shape their own learning while honing their research, communication, writing, and digital citizenship skills. They select the topic about which they are passionate (e.g., baking, science, henna, the Patriots, dance, nail art) and regularly blog about it. (This year, “regularly” is monthly.) A hidden benefit? Students are creating an online portfolio, of sorts, that they will be able to share with prospective colleges, future employers, scholarship organizations, etc.
The permission slips have been submitted, the platforms, selected, and the ABOUT ME sections, published. However, before we put
pen cursor to paper screen, the last step requires my students to look at five blogs that already exist on their topics and create a list of common ingredients that make them effective. (In their analysis, the students are creating a rubric, of sorts, without even realizing it!)
I had to share, with permission, the list of ingredients sophomore Jocelyn M. published in her journal for homework last night. Jocelyn would be the first to admit that she doesn’t monopolize class discussions; however, giving her a voice online through the Passion Blog Project is one of the many reasons I can’t not do it. In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain (@susancain) reinforces this: “The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of two hundred people might blog to two thousand, or two million, without thinking twice.” This project allows Jocelyn to do just that. She will be blogging and sharing her creativity with two thousand, or two million, people who will recognize, as I already have, that she has a vibrant voice worth hearing amid the noise. And of course, her final sentence made my day.
Good Passion Blog Recipe
by Jocelyn M.
Makes: One well thought-out and stunning blog!
Serves: As many as the internet will allow
- At least 3 cups of creative and different ideas.
- A handful of interesting and well thought-out topics.
* A pinch of dark humor never did anyone harm either (not too much, it’s like cilantro).
- 9 ½ tablespoons of dry humor is crucial.
- A dash of vivid and varying use of vocabulary.
* Alliteration and Irony never hurt anyone.
- Around 3 points of view, the more the merrier~
* do not skimp on this ingredient
- Slowly fold creative ideas and dry humor into the well thought-out topics. These will be used as posts. Be careful to not overwhelm mixture with dry humor, can cause a very bitter taste. Put to the side and let set for ~20 minutes.
- While you are waiting, gather materials that will be added into the base mixture. Some questions to ponder will definitely wow the judges and cause them to think, and possibly distracting them from your atrocious grammar! Choose carefully because these questions could overwhelm the total flavor of the blog, distracting from the main focus. You wouldn’t put cupcakes in a pie, would you?
- When the post has set, mix in the questions. In different recipes, don’t be afraid to add some variation! Think outside the box and come up with different mixtures for the post. The posts can be tiny or huge, both will satisfy your audience… just make sure that they are mostly proportional.
- Once that has finished, garnish it with pictures, media, and some spicy vocab (don’t you dare put swears in it, that’s like putting pineapple on pizza, you heathen!) Disclaimer: Only suitable for some audiences ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ). By the end it should be looking
＼( •_•) F
< ⌒ヽ A
/ へ＼ B
/ / ＼＼ U
ﾚ ノ ヽ_つ L
/ / O
/ /| U
( (ヽ S
- Serve to audience, try to engage with them as much as possible so maybe they’ll not notice you made the post at 10:00 at night (please do not look at revision history *wink wink nudge nudge*).
Do not be discouraged if no one even observes the hard work you put into the blog… Not all posts will be wins. The most important thing is to have fun with what you are doing. Do not make it a chore, make it a hobby!
By the way, I had a lot of fun writing this and cannot wait to finally start posting!
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Thanks for taking the time to read it! 🙂
B. Hughes, I always knew you were a great teacher, but this is an incredible idea of yours. Thanks for reaching so many through teaching. P. Polakoff f/k/a Fried.
Thanks for the kudos, Penny! I hope you–and those fabulous kids of yours–are well! 🙂