Thursday, August 13, 2015

Classroom Blogging - Test Phase

Today was the last day of summer school. I must say it was nice to step back into the classroom and teacher role. One thing I realized I missed was the connections you make as a classroom teacher. When walking into the building one morning a student yelled from the distance..."Morning Mrs. Falkenhagen...GUESS WHAT?!?! I got my stitches out yesterday!" He was so happy and excited to share his news. As instructional coach I get to know some students but not the same way as classroom teachers. I'm excited to have this (short but great) time with the rising 6th graders that are new to our building, I think I've made some connections with them that will carry over into the new school year.

Summer school is a great time to test a few things out that you may want to use during the next school year. I did just that, and had my students blog!

I was a little nervous but I thought why not give it a shot, and seeing I'm teaching a tech class about it I should have actual classroom experience. 

I researched a few different sites and settled on Kidblog. I chose it because of my students being in 6th grade and it seemed like a good platform for this age group. I think this is a good site for most middle school students. If I was teaching high school I would probably use Blogger...mostly because ALL of our students in the district have email accounts through Google/Gmail. Blogger would allow them to connect the account without having to use multiple platforms. Now the logistics of how to use Blogger would be slightly more difficult (do I give each student their OWN blog, do we have a class blog that they can post to, etc.)

Needless to say blogging was a HIT! The students were very engaged and begged to log on and write.

If you choose to use Kidblog I would highly suggest paying or getting your district to pay for the membership. With the membership you can add more than 40 students, access their clipart (which helps with the headache of students searching the internet for pictures), and much more.

With Kidblog you create a class blog that the students write and post to. It allows them to post just to the teacher, the class, or you can set it to post publicly. The teacher approves comments prior to them posting, a great feature. As a teacher I could read the student drafts as they were writing them allowing me to make suggestions.

The first day we discussed the definition of a blog, I showed them my blog. What types of blogs are out there: teacher blogs, recipe blogs, fashion blogs, diary blogs, family blogs, etc. We looked a a few different ones, and talked about their posts. Always a great time to review internet safety. I talked with them about posting, that this is a quick write/read, and why people like the forum of blogs. We discussed that we still write with capital letters, punctuation, and correct grammar....this is NOT TEXTING!!!

The hardest part was the actual logging in...the first day. If we had access to iPads I would have made a QR code for them to scan that would take them directly to our page. After that...the students were on self pilot, changing their avatars, header pictures, and writing. Everyone picked it up so quickly and it was the quietest they had been all week.

Sorry no link to our class blog...due to it being such a short amount of time I didn't have permission from parents to make it a public blog. I think as a classroom teacher I would keep it as a classroom only blog for the first part of the year and then open it up to the public later. Speaking of parents...there is a way for them to connect to the class blog as well, what a great way for them to see their student's work, and also communicate with them and the class.

If you are interested in your class blogging...I highly suggest you look into Kidblog, very user friendly and great for Elementary and Middle School.

No comments: