Writing allows students to define the world. I can't think of a better way to get students to express themselves in a productive manner than to have them create and share their own blogs. The blogs being public will have them take careful consideration to what's going out there.
I've tried this in the past, but it failed to stick with me or them because I wasn't ready. Something like students blogging needs to be emphasized at least once a week in class.
Here's my plan:
Students will sign up for any type of blog site they desire. I'm going to suggest Blogger since I can use this blog as a model, and its relatively simple to use.
Each student will be assigned a day of the week. They need to have their post completed by their assigned day. First semester is economics. So here's a list of topics they can choose to write about:
1. Make it useful -- they will be writing college and scholarship essays this year. Students can relate one of the essays to Economics and blog about it. The class will even be able to help them edit or provide suggestions to improve it
2. Pick a concept that we learned this past week and describe how you see this concept in practice in the world, community, or school.
3. Find an article about an economic concept that we learned during the week, link it, and explain how it relates to what they are learning
4. Create an argument in support or against a proposed economic policy.
5. Take a picure of something, post it, and explain how it relates to something we learned.
Students will then be responsible for commenting a few other blogs throughout the week.
Since a few will be due each day, it will be good for the class to read a few each night and not be inundated by all of them in one night. (And good for the teacher!)
Each individual blog needs to be collected in a central location. A good way to do that is by using Flipboard. I posted about my plan for that here.
Wow, this will be a collision of great things -- defining the world, applying economics, and creating a portfolio of writing samples.