Creating blogs that aren’t obnoxious

10 Oct

I’ve been very concerned with how to help my students create blogs that reflect their personality but aren’t full of distracting background pictures and neon-colored text.  We are at the beginning of our blogging journey and have just created our first post, so this is an important aspect as prepare to unveil our creations.  The question I had was how to get students to realize that their blog might be too distracting for readers without hurting any feelings.  Blogs, much like writing and art, are personal property that can lead to hard feelings when criticized.

Luckily EduBlogs has an awards section that has many great student blogs.  At the start of class we looked at some blogs that are slightly obnoxious with glittery pink titles and pointless ramblings.  It is amazing how easy it is to criticize anonymous writing!

From there, I asked students to go to the awards page from EduBlogs and choose the blog that they thought was the best looking.  We copied and pasted them and put them on Google Docs, then commented  on what made the chosen blog so attractive.  One student noted that the blog he found had “a non-eye-murdering color scheme,” which was very true!

Here is the example I shared to get them started:

Mr. Sanders http://mjgds.org/students/jakeg/
I like the way this blog used a solid background color instead of one of those obnoxious pictures that make it so we can’t read the words that are the most important part of a blog!  I want my thoughts to be more important than a picture that I stole from Google  I want to avoid copyright infringement and possible jail time.

We then discussed what we found, and realized that attractive blogs shared many of the following characteristics:

  • Simple
  • Eye-catching
  • Reasonable font size
  • Consistent colors of font
  • Relevant pictures
  • Matching colors for background and text

As we compiled our list, some computers began to open, some heads started to look down, and it was clear that students were realizing that their blog might be one of those that needs some work.  We began sharing our blogs after that and I asked each student who volunteered to give criticism on their own blog.

Students can be hardest on themselves, but they were thoughtful, accurate, and willing to improve their own blog in order to make it great.  What I saw today was another example to me of why the blogging process is valuable.  We are writing for an audience and be proud of what we create!

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