I am just starting individual blogs with this year's group of fifth graders. I have been wondering how to set up my curriculum so that my students are reading and responding to blogs outside of our community. I may have hit upon a bit of a plan. As I introduced the blogs, I told them that part of the power of having their own blog was that it could help them share the things they care about, and it could connect them with other people with the same interests.
They got it. As they began their first posts, words poured from their fingers. Students who seemed to struggle with writer's block in other situations were writing amazingly well crafted first drafts on topics such as video games and golden retrievers. Maybe my next step is to help them set up Bloglines accounts, as Clarence has done, and help them learn to find those other blogs of interest.
My fear is that they will find and aggregate inappropriate feeds. I agree that fear-based decision-making isn't a place I like to go, but I also don't want to sabotage this first blogging venture in my school, possibly my district, by taking on too much too soon. For now, I'll just take the first step; I'll check in the blogging permission forms, and start pushing my administrator publish button in our Classblogmeister account.