Well, I finally bit the bullet and said the kids were ready to use their blog. The space has been there since August. It's taken this long for them to get to the point where they can actually use the space productively. On Wed and Thurs they each took a few minutes to type up a little "welcome" message, saving it, hopefully. Then, Friday was launch day. In a couple of hours, most everyone had their intial blog posting.
Naturally, it was very chaotic, but a lot of fun at the same time. It didn't take long for somebody to figure out how to change their blog template, and pretty soon everybody had to give that a try. Then there were a few who got their message posted in their description field - but I think we managed to get everybody straightened out. A couple of kids were not there for this, and a couple more did not actually get theirs posted, so I will work with them individually on Monday.
At the end of the day, I mentioned making comments to blogs. In retrospect, I should not have done that - just too much to talk about before suggesting they try commenting on each others' writing. Anyway, several kids posted comments from home on Friday. A couple were ok, but most had several errors in spelling, punctuation, and capitalization - but the main reason I did not approve them was because they were simply not appropriate for our blog. Sounded more like chat room or IM stuff - which their blog will definitely not become. So I deleted all the comments. I'll have some explaining to do on Monday :)
But I am very proud of my kids. In their articles, they wrote well, and they wrote with purpose. I'm VERY excited to see where this will take us.