Blog posts are an important way for students to share a response to what they are learning. When I taught junior high, we wrote many blog posts:
- before, during and after genius hour projects
- in response to what we learned in history, geography, or science classes
- essays, poetry and book talks from language arts
- photo editing, service projects, fund raisers, special global events
- responses to videos
- reflections on a trip we took, assembly we attended, or speaker we saw
- and to share anything important to us
For a year or so, I read students’ blog posts through an RSS reader. I liked that because I could easily tell when someone wrote a random blog post.
However, there were times when a blog post was an assignment, and I wanted to make sure every student turned it in by a certain time. The RSS reader was not as helpful in that situation. When I had given an assignment, my reader feed was always full, and it wasn’t easy to see which posts were from the assignment at hand.
It was then that I discovered I could use a Google Form to collect URLs from their assignment. I would tweet out the link to the form using our class Twitter account, which they would find by going to our @KrebsClass Twitter page–they didn’t need their own account. Students could easily find the tweet on the Twitter page, click on the link to open the Google form, and fill it out simply by writing their name and adding their link to the current blog post assignment. A new form was made for each assignment. (Here’s good help, if you don’t yet know how to get started with Google Forms.)
Here’s an example of one of the forms we used:
It’s fun to edit the response students will see after they submit:
After they all filled out the form, I had the URLs all in one place. It was very helpful to have a clickable list of responses on a spreadsheet. I could read through the assignments so much easier this way!
Please leave a comment and share other ways you use to organize your blog post assignments!
BONUS POST: Read on if you need a little help formatting the spreadsheet from the Google Form.
The default location for the students’ responses in a Google Form is a Google Spreadsheet with the name of your form followed by: (Responses). When you first see the “Responses” spreadsheet, the columns are all the same size and ordered according to the time stamp. This is fine for seeing what time students turned in their blog post, but I preferred it in alphabetical order to simplify record keeping for me.
So, to format it, highlight all the information in all three columns:
Next, click on Data and Sort Range.
Then click on sort by: Column B (or whatever column you wish to sort):
Now the links are in alphabetical order by student name.
Finally, if you prefer this view, you can stretch out the columns so everything fits nicely.
And voilà, you can easily enjoy your students’ blog posts!
Thanks for reading! I hope something was helpful. As I said above, please leave a comment if you have other ideas for organizing and keeping track of your students’ blog posts.