That's a wrap! Congratulations to all our winners. The Book Arts Bash now has its own domain name, and a brand new web site for a new Bash in 2010. Visit us here!


Please visit the Favorite Poem Project, and hear Americans read the poetry they love.

Submission Guidelines:

On the entry form, there is a field for entering the address of your blog. All you need to do, to enter this category, is enter the main address of your blog. That's it! You must be the sole author of the blog you submit -- no group blogs, please.

What is a blog? Blogging started out as online journaling (the original term was "web log" which shortened to "blog") and has developed into a grass roots publishing revolution. Blogging became popular because it is so easy to start one, update one, and publicize one. Bloggers who read other blogs can leave comments, build links, make friends, and keep up with what's going on in other people's lives who are experiencing similar things like homeschooling, parenting, or weight loss. Some bloggers also tackle specific topics like technology, entertainment, art. Blogs differ from traditional web sites in that they are less labor-intensive to create, and they are updated more frequently, kind of like a magazine as opposed to a book. We're looking for interesting blogs with quality content, updated regularly, with a readable format. You do not have to have a high pagerank or lots of traffic to enter and win. Maybe your blog is new, or an undiscovered gem.

Teaching This Genre:

Anyone can have a free blog at Blogger (owned by Google) by going to http://www.blogger.com and signing up. You can keep your blog completely anonymous by using a pseudonym, or you can put in as much "real" information as you're comfortable with. You don't need a server to host a blog -- all you need is an internet connection and a free Google user account. There are other places to blog for free: Wordpress, Xanga, Typepad, and LiveJournal for example. Or, you can host your own blog and use their software to update it. With free templates, free hosting, and a very easy user interface, anyone who wants to blog can be blogging happily in an hour.

So, what is blogging good for, pedagogically speaking? Blogging gets kids writing (and typing) in a medium that provides instant gratification. Doing almost any assignment becomes wildly easier and more interesting when it's done on a blog: "Go and blog ten interesting things about the ancient Indus Valley" or "Go and blog your spelling list" or "Go and blog about your plans for your science project." As soon as you push the "Publish" button, your work is online for all to see. Doing the work seems more attractive when it's going to be publicly published, and there is an obvious reason to get the spelling and punctuation correct, since it will be read by others.

Blogging builds connections between kids who can read each other's blogs, leave comments for each other, and encourage each other. It's great for showing off work to grandmas and grandpas and cousins in faraway places, and it's also very nice for the student to be able to look back over a year's worth of blogging, click through the pages, and see what has been accomplished. A blog actively maintained becomes a diary of exciting experiences, a school portfolio, a photo album, an art gallery, and mostly an expression of who the student is.

Here are some guidlines for kids and parents who blog, from Microsoft:
 
Screen what your kids plan to post before they post it. Seemingly innocuous information, such as a school mascot and town photo, could be put together to reveal where the author goes to school.
Ask yourself (and instruct your kids to do the same) if you are you comfortable showing any of the content to a stranger. If in doubt, have them take it out.
Evaluate the blogging service and find out if it offers private, password-protected blogs.
Save the Web address of your child's blog and review it on a regular basis.
Check out other blogs to find positive examples for your kids to emulate.
Never offer any personal information including your last name, contact information, home address, phone numbers, school's name, e-mail address, last names of friends or relatives, instant messaging names, age, or birth date.
Never post provocative pictures of yourself or anyone else, and be sure any images you provide do not reveal any of the previously mentioned information. Always remember to look at the background of a picture too.
Assume what you publish on the Web is permanent. Anyone on the Internet can easily print out a blog or save it to a computer.
Use blogging provider sites with clearly stated terms of use, and make sure they can protect the actual blogs, not just the user accounts, with password protection. (Even so, it's better to assume anyone can see it.)
Avoid trying to "outdo" or compete with other bloggers.
Keep blogs positive and don't use them for slander or to attack others.

A blog post about blogging for kids under 13.

On a positive note: Some benefits of blogging.

For finalists and winners, please visit the results page.