It is hard to understand what is going on with the world, but imagine being a kid or a young adult in 2020. This year has been a lot. Between the pandemic and the pressing social injustice happening now, students are taking in a lot. That can cause a lot of stress for your students, regardless of age. It is a confusing time to be growing up, but how can you help to combat that?
One way to help students cope with 2020 is blogging. Blogging can help your students explore their feelings about the world, for it will allow them to voice their opinions and concerns in a safe space with their peers.
Of course, the blogs will differ if your classes are online or in person, but there are ways to get around that and still make it fun! The reason for these blogs is to help your students to cope with the unsettling ways of society. Thus, it is best to write down their thoughts and discuss them with people their age, who might be feeling the same. Comforting and assuring them that it is okay to feel scared for the future will encourage them to handle their emotions healthily.
Starting a Class Blog
During the first week back to school, take 2 to 3 days to have your students explore any topic that comes to mind when thinking about the year. For instance, if one of your students chose to talk about COVID-19, give them questions to answer for each of the following days.
Classroom Blog Day 1:
What did COVID change in your life?
Do you wear your mask and participate in social distancing?
What do you know about the virus?
Did you find any new hobbies to do during the pandemic?
Classroom Blog Day 2:
How did COVID affect your education?
Do you like learning online or in-person more? Why?
Do you think that these changes will remain, even after COVID?
Classroom Blog Day 3:
How did COVID change the world?
What do you think the world will be like after COVID?
Do you think people have a new outlook on life? Do you?
Each day will be new question for any subject. Blogging in the classroom is also a great way for students to explore their feelings about social justice issues.
Now, it will be really important to gauge your students. If many of them are adversely affected by COVID, it might be wise to write about something else. Using classroom blogging assignments in the classroom is a great way to get students thinking about social justice.
Social Justice Classroom Blog Day 1:
What does social injustice mean to you?
Have you faced social injustice? If so, and if you feel comfortable sharing, what happened?
What do you think you can do to help?
Social Justice Classroom Blog Day 2:
Do you think the school should educate more about social injustice?
Do you think changes will happen now or later?
Social Justice Classroom Blog Day 3:
How did social injustice change the world?
What do you think the world will be like after these changes?
Do you think people have a new outlook on social injustice?
Answering these questions will provide students with a new perspective on their opinions and help them understand them more. Depending on whether you are doing online or in-person classes, you can write on paper, which would resemble an online blog, or they can take a picture and email it to you and keep their writing for themselves. Once you have the images ready, you can either do a video chat for students to discuss their blogs or partner them up with someone with the same topic or a different one so they can email each other what they said.
However, if you are doing in-person, you can do the discussion on Google Classroom, or another platform to post a question where students will answer in the comment section which they will someone with the same topic of theirs and a different one.
It will play out like this, for example, Student 1 did her blog on COVID like Student 2, but Student 3 wrote hers about social injustice. Student 1 will reply to both responses and answer the social injustice questions underneath Student 3’s comment. While for Student 2, she could say if she agreed or disagreed.
By talking to the younger generation and leading them to form a healthy way of dealing with their fears, they will begin to understand it is okay to feel unsure. Plus, discussing with others about their opinions will make your students open-minded people.
Introducing student blogs into the classroom is also a great way to run a class novel. By either giving students questions about characters or themes, it will help them to understand the book more. For instance, you can ask them why Lennie, from Of Mice and Men, likes pet soft things. Every student can comment on their answer online, or you can have them write it on the blog and hand their responses in for a grade. These questions can vary from not only characters but about themes, symbolism, and tones, so do not be shy about giving your students a lot of questions!
Having a blog will help your students to understand more about their feelings and the class readings. They will be able to talk about their concerns in a safe space and engage in conversations about the class readings. It will benefit you as well since you’ll express your feelings about what’s going on this year and know your class understands the material.