Creating Character Blogs
- Preview |
- Standards |
- Resources & Preparation |
- Instructional Plan |
- Related Resources |
In this lesson, students view examples of appealing blogs, learn the basic elements of blog creation, and then create a blog from the perspective of a fictional character. Students demonstrate understanding of the text by including images, quotations, links, and commentary on their blogs. Students then help one another develop their blogs by acting as editors during the creation stage and reviewing one another's blogs upon completion.
- Character Blog Requirements: This handout explains the requirements for creating character blogs. You can use these with your students or adapt them however you see fit.
- Peer Editing Questions: Students can help one another strengthen their blogs by answering the questions for their partner’s blog listed on this handout.
From Theory to Practice
The integration of new media literacies into traditional curricula is increasingly important. Teachers must adapt to these new requirements in order to help guide students successfully into their postgraduation lives.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Materials and Technology
- Computers with Internet access
- One computer with SMART Board or overhead projector
|1.||This lesson functions as a culmination for a single work or for a review project for the entire semester, so it is recommended that you complete a book or books with your class ahead of time.
|2.||Photocopy one handout per student for the handouts listed under Printouts in the Resources section.
|3.||Bookmark the Websites listed in the Resources section on your classroom computer or lab computers. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve time in your school’s computer lab for all sessions.
|4.||Surf several of the blogs provided on the Blog Exemplar WebQuest to familiarize yourself with the features of a good blog.
|5.||Follow the steps for blog creation provided on the Blog Creation Steps handout and familiarize yourself with Blogger. Be prepared to walk students through these steps for Session 2, Step 2.
|6.||Create a blog to use as a model for Session 2, Step 2. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the elements of blog creation so you can better address student questions.
- Improve media literacy by viewing a variety of well-written and designed blogs
- Learn about web design and development by constructing and editing their own blogs
- Engage with a given text through identification with a character by creating a blog from the perspective of that character
- Improve creative writing ability by selecting an appropriate style, tone, vocabulary, and set of topics for their chosen character
- Develop their ability to infer details from text and use their imaginations by constructing a creative character blog that draws heavily on the original text
Session 1: WebQuest
|1.||Begin by telling students they are going to take part in a media literacy project in which they will learn how to create blogs for a fictional character. Let them know that this first session will be spent learning about what makes a good blog—interesting design elements, creative writing, clear theme, strong organization—by viewing a few key ones. Encourage students to begin thinking about what character they’d like to choose from a book or books the class has recently finished reading.
|2.||Pass out copies of the Blog Exemplar WebQuest and ask students to follow the directions provided, navigating to the blogs listed and filling out the questions. They may talk about the blogs they find with each other, but under no circumstances should they use the Internet for any other purpose.
|3.||Circulate around the room and answer questions as needed. Students may begin asking about how to create the elements they see, but let them know you will get to that soon. If students ask if they can explore other blogs, suggest they use this time to focus on the given blogs.
|4.||For homework, students should complete the Blog Exemplar WebQuest if they have not already done so and choose a character for the next session.
Session 2: Laying the Foundation
|1.||Greet students in the computer lab and explain to them that today they will begin building their blogs. Pass out copies of the Character Blog Requirements and give students a few minutes to read it. Ask them to wait with their questions until it is time for individual work. Draw students’ attention to the requirement of having at least four posts—one significant entry each from their character’s perspective from four different moments in the book. Emphasize that posts and all design elements should be consistent with the chosen character and his/her history, relationships, and dreams, and also consistent with the time period and setting of the book.
|2.||Pass out copies of Blog Creation Steps. On an overhead projector, go through each step of creating a blog. Allow students to follow the steps on their computers. Wait for a few minutes between each step, checking to be sure students are with you and allowing them to help each other if they encounter problems. Use the blog you created as a model of a finished product.
|3.||Call up A Post from Juliet and inform students that it is a very basic example of a character blog—theirs should be more extensive.
|4.||Give students the remainder of the session to begin building their blogs. Tell them they may always click “edit posts” from the post page to go back and change something or to delete a post, so they should feel free to create rough drafts to which they can return. Remind them to look at their Character Blog Requirements handout if they forget a step and to experiment with posting images and other elements. Circulate around the room and answer questions as needed.
As students work, pass around a copy of the Character Blog: Assessment Rubric so they can clearly see how they will be graded. Let them know they will receive two kinds of grades—the final grade for an excellent product, and a process grade for their level of effort and focus along the way, both out of 40 points.
Session 3: Lab Work
|1.||Invite students to begin working in earnest on their character blogs. Remind them that they should work on posts first and graphic design afterward. Remind them that the blog is for their chosen characters, and that entries should be written in first person and graphic design choices should be appropriate. Inform students that they will begin this work period with a process grade of 40/40, and can only lose points by failing to stay on task or distracting others.
|2.||Circulate around the room, helping students stay focused, preventing them from getting too caught up in design before they have enough content, and assisting with any technical issues. Using an attendance list, jot notes for the process grades.
|3.||For homework, students should continue to work on their blogs. If students do not have computers at home, continue to Session 4 for next time. If they do have computers at home, continue to Session 5. By Session 5, students should have completed about three-quarters of their blogs to prepare for peer editing.
Session 4: Lab Work
Note: This session is optional, depending on whether or not students have access to computers at home.
|1.||Have students continue work on their blogs. Again jot notes for process grades. Allow media-savvy students to explore the many possible additions to the layout page, including video, music, photo collages, or widgets, encouraging them to go beyond the requirements of the assignment.
|2.||Explain to students that they need to be prepared with at least three-quarters of a complete version of their blogs next session. Inform students that this is worth 10 process points.|
Session 5: Peer Analysis and Response
|1.||Hand out copies of the Peer Editing Questions, explaining to students that they will be helping each other strengthen their blogs by noticing both the strong and potentially confusing or disparate elements on the blogs. Assign partners. Have students trade chairs to view each other’s blogs, fill out the questions for their partner’s blog, and then trade handouts and return to their own computers.
|2.||Circulate around the room as students work to be sure everyone has completed a reasonable amount of work. Use an attendance list to jot notes for the process grades.
|3.||Students should use the remaining time to make improvements to their blogs based on the responses of their partners.
|4.||For homework, students should tie up any loose ends with their blogs, making sure they are complete by Session 6.
Session 6: Gallery and Celebration
|1.||Welcome students with the news that they have completed their work as designers and bloggers and now have the opportunity to become media critics.
|2.||Ask students to navigate to their blogs. Distribute copies of the Peer Nominations for Excellence. Inform students they will be spending the period viewing the wonderful work of their classmates, then filling out nominations for two classmates, and that secrecy is vital. Remind them that the nominations do not represent a popularity contest, and that they should vote for blogs with strong writing and unique design elements that really seem to capture the chosen character. You may choose to create certificates for the winners of the Excellence Awards, or simply to recognize them verbally in the next class period after you have counted up the votes.
Have each student choose a blog and sit down to read it. Call for a circular rotation every few minutes, planning your time so that all students will view all blogs and have a few minutes to vote for their favorites at the end of the period.
|3.||Walk around as students view the blogs, breaking up any inappropriate conversation. Point out interesting features and ask students why they like what they see, encouraging them to be specific. Feel free to compliment students on innovative ideas as they are rotating.
|4.||In the last five minutes of class, ask all students to fill out their ballots, then to e-mail you the URL of their blog. Encourage their conversations with each other about what they have just seen, asking questions of authors and complimenting excellent work. As a final note, congratulate them on a job well done and collect their nominations as they leave the room.
- As a year-end project, ask students to create a blog reviewing the books from the year. Choose the best one to share with your incoming classes the next year.
- Create a blog for your class, posting photos, announcements, or even assignments using Google docs. Give everyone in class the URL.
- Ask students to bring in posts from major news blogs for a Current Events day.
- If working with seniors, suggest personal blogs as a nice way to keep in touch with family and friends when they move away or go to college.
Student Assessment / Reflections
- Using an attendance list, note any disruptive behavior among students during the lab periods. Deduct points from their process grades (40 points) if necessary.
- Assess students’ blogs using the Character Blog: Assessment Rubric. The final blog is worth 40 points.