High School Teachers Combat "Txt-spk" by Encouraging Blogging

textingThe summer has always been a time where high school kids seem to undo a lot of the things they learned over the school year. But with the rise in “constricted writing environments” like Twitter and texts, teachers are growing concerned that students are regressing in terms of their ability to meet the standards of English class and college entrance exams. StageofLife.com thinks the answer to this phenomenon lies not in pushing against new social media, but rather embracing it: by encouraging high school students to blog.

StageofLife.com is a website for the generation growing up with social media embedded into their daily lives to meet, share stories, and learn about those in their generation and other stages of life. It is an educational resource as well, offering lesson plans and contest ideas to educators.

One of the most recent creative writing lesson plans is quite innovative: its goal is to break students out of the restrictive environment of 140-character word limits while at the same time promote the use of social media in the classroom. StageofLife.com believes that blogging and other social media is an integral part of the lives of current high school students, and should be incorporated into English classes around the country.

The lesson plan includes teaching students what blogging is, and requiring that they produce a personal essay in the form of a blog post. StageofLife.com provides daily lesson plans for teachers, including writing prompts for their students like “If there was one thing about high school (or college) that I wish somebody would have told me, it was that …” and “What do you value the most in your life and why?”. What’s really neat about StageofLife.com’s blog format is that blog comments are structured in such a way that they help the students improve their writing, as they can receive feedback from other students and educators across the country.

Students are meant to submit their essays to the StageofLife.com website and create a profile that will act as their blog. In addition, students are encouraged to enter the monthly writing contest for high school students that StageofLife.com runs to promote well thought-out and articulated responses to themed questions.

Texting and Twitter have their place in the lives of high school students, but StageofLife.com is hoping that the grammar, spelling and sentence structure problems associated with these restrictive writing environments can be combated by bringing blogging into the classroom.