ENGL 101 Wordpress Blog Lesson Plan Sequence

For my lesson plan, I was inspired by the Teaching College Literature class I took last semester where we designed an ENGL 101 College Writing syllabus based on IUP requirements. My narrative essay requirements allowed students to describe their specific majors and professional interests, but I felt there was further room for creativity. One digital tool to benefit College Writing students would involve introducing them to the Blog format of writing. The tone would be helpful for their narrative essay since it is more personal and their informative considering blogs are a popular form for howto or instructional guides. To set them up for success in creating their WordPress blogs, I would show them examples of longstanding blogs, establish a blog website for the class containing tutorials and helpful tips, and facilitate a collaborative classroom.

Starting with how other blogs structure and theme themselves would help students see the different possibilities for stylizing and adapting their voice to the blog space. For academic papers typically come with highly structured rules a rubric for example except the blog grants them not only freedom from their work remaining under the surveillance of a LMS, but a website they personalize, and continue to do so beyond our semester together. Another part of this example step would involve the emphasis of the public nature of blogs. I would ensure the students understand any information they share will be accessed by anyone with the link and to keep what thoughts they wish to take to their grave apart from what they post to their blogs.

After examining different blogging examples, I would show the students how to set up their WordPress website. By having these tutorials available in a WordPress blog created by myself for the class, they would learn how to establish their blog while receiving tactile interaction to blog. The interplay would help relieve potential discouragements or nervousness towards learning or refreshing themselves on a new writing format and digital tool. I would also include the various options available when formatting a blog such as hyperlinks, basic HTML available in the WordPress system, and themes. These will be important to emphasize their options for personalization because the system comes with enough material allowing for the whole class to distinguish their landing pages from one another’s.

When I refer to collaboration, I mean the students need to share the links to their blogs throughout the semester so that they can inspire one another; if they find something fascinating on another’s blog, then they can not only see the other student’s site but confide in their classmate as a resource. Another crucial part of their collaboration would involve frequent groupwork in this manner and short presentations of their blog websites along with the chance to comment and interact with each other’s blogs. That way, they already feel an exposure to a public audience and the experience of receiving feedback and comments.

By the end of the semester, I would remind students of the benefits to WordPress and the chance to blog. Because they are the creators of their work, or the managers if we think of LMS terms, they have full authorship to leave an impact and a legacy unlike the temporary restrictions of a D2L or any LMS classroom who erases a student’s work once they have taken their final exams.

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