We Day is one of my favourite annual events. Their line-up of international guests is always impressive and the campaign not only raises millions of dollars for Free the Children, it also raises millions of volunteer hours. The event educates children and youth across Canada about global causes while also inspiring them to do what they can for their own communities. There’s nothing like hearing 18,000 children at Rogers Arena shout “We Are!” – as in we are the change.
One school that was in attendance was Gleneagles Elementary from West Vancouver, located just off Marine Drive near Horseshoe Bay. Their principal, Mr. Wallace, contacted me to see if I would come and talk to the students about blogging. The school recently started a weBlog initiative that has students in grades 6 and 7 honing their skills while writing about social issues on an internal blogging network. I had previously spoken at a few high schools in Vancouver and really enjoyed the experience so I happily took on this challenge.
I put together a 45-minute presentation for the students in Mrs. Crowdis, Mr. Parslow, and Ms. McLachlan’s classes complete with information about my own blogging journey that began in 2004. I covered Twestival, Blogathon, and years of blogging about local and international causes. From sitting down at my computer in the morning and writing about a fundraiser or toy drive, to serving meals in the Downtown Eastside, or traveling thousands of miles to deliver bikes to school children in Ghana, blogging has taken me on many amazing journeys.
Aside from stories about rapelling down a building for a cause, I shared a few very basic blogging tips with the students to get them going.
- Document Experiences: If you can’t think of anything to blog about, think about something you’ve done. Writing about that not only allows you to share your story, it also helps you preserve the memory of the experience.
- Add to Discussions: One of the easiest ways to get inspired when blogging is to read other blogs. If someone wrote something that you liked or perhaps asked a question, write a reply on your own blog (then link back to the source).
- Have Themes: You can have a weekly or daily theme on your blog which will help you think of content. Every week on Miss604.com I feature a history post. It could be the story of a famous statue in Vancouver, the origin of a street name, or a collection of photographs from days gone by.
- Share Your Passion: It’s easy to write about something every day or every week if you really love that something. I could write about Vancouver, Surrey, and the Lower Mainland every single day (in fact I do, at least twice daily). If I were really into knitting, baking, basketball, or music I could write about those things frequently as well. When you like your subject matter you’ll never run out of ideas and your passion will shine through in your text.
I can’t wait to hear about how the weBlog project is going and Mr. Wallace already informed me that students wrote their first posts this week. Using blogs, they can inspire their friends, launch campaigns, and learn to tell their own stories. Just think about what can be accomplished when we engage and encourage our young people to talk about social issues.