Teachers are continually asking their students to write. Students respond to prompts, write personal narratives, write up science labs, share their thinking about math problems, reflect on their learning, compose poetry etc, etc. If you work in elementary education, you know as well as I do, the list seems endless. What happens to all this writing? While some is shared with classmates, getting a fleeting but authentic response in the form of audience reaction, most comes to the teacher for grading and returns to the student to subsequently languish under the desk, never to be looked at again. Blogging turns this model on its head. Now children are choosing to write for an audience, not only of their peers, but the wider world beyond. As they learn to comment and provide feedback to one another on what works in a piece of writing, they build awareness of writer’s craft. The teacher’s previously obscure obsession with accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation becomes a shared standard for publication. Comments are approved by the class and group-edited for accuracy, raising the level of concern about writing in standard English. This, of all initiatives I have ever attempted, has had the most significant impact in improving students’ use of conventions. With the advent of blogging in my classroom, writing has become a genuine form of communication. The blog has become something between a living yearbook, a news sheet and a class literary magazine. Students create posts to report on class activities or events they find significant and invite classmates to share their opinions in comments. They post their favorite creative writing pieces to share with their classmates, who enthusiastically respond. Longer pieces are released in installments to build the anticipation, with students writing comments begging for the next episode! Students respond very positively to blogging. The mother of a student who had joined the class with limited English shared with me how much it meant to her son when he received comments on his story from students he considered to be the good writers of the class and how motivated he became to write in English. Here are some responses from my students last week when I asked them what they liked about writing for our blog: “I feel special because they really liked my story and took the time to read my work and give good feedback. It’s really encouraging.” “I like it because I feel I am a real author.” “It makes me me better as a writer because the feedback helps me to improve.” “I feel really good that people enjoy my writing.” “It encourages me to write more!” Click O.W.L. to visit our blog!