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Blogging in the Global Classroom
Reflecting, Writing, and Responding
Push-button Publishing for the People!
Courtesy of the National Archives
Blogs are simply web logs. Think of them as online journals, diaries, or interactive logs. They can be used to record everything from science labs to poetry. Blogs may contain text, graphics, photos, audio, video, and other elements. People publish their loves, passions, peeves, dislikes, discoveries, and insights. The blog authors may open their blogs to comments from members of a group, registered participants, or anyone.
Blogging is now showing up in the schools where teachers have known for a long time that students develop better communication skills when they are authentically communicating. A number of educators are helping their students to develop their writing skills by having them publish their work as blogs, and inviting comments from people on the outside.
Advantages of Blogs
1: A blog is a Web-publishing concept that enables anyone -- first graders,
political pundits, homeless people, high school principals, presidential
candidates -- to publish information on the Internet.
Number 2: Blogs ,or blogging has become a journalistic tool, a way to publish news, ideas, rants, announcements, and ponderings very quickly, and without technical, editorial, and time constraints. It essentially makes anyone a columnist. In fact, many established columnists now publish their own blogs.
Number 3: Blogs, because of their ease of use, and because of the context of news and editorial column writing, have become a highly effective way to help students to become better writers. Research has long shown that students write more, write in greater detail, and take greater care with spelling, grammar, and punctuation, when they are writing to an authentic audience over the Internet.
Reasons to Blog
|Kids love blogging.|
|Students who lack the reading and writing skills they need to succeed also may lack the motivation to practice those skills. Many are motivated, however, to chat virtually with their friends.|
|Seeing their words published on the Web is a great student motivator.|
|Blogs offer an innovative way for students to engage in reflective writing on classroom topics in a familiar medium.|
|Blogs represent a democratization of information dissemination, providing each individual with the opportunity to publicly present his or her thoughts and opinions.|
|Blogs allow others to respond, providing feedback to the authors|
|Do not include your name - use your student number/class code.|
|Do not include the name or address of your school.|
|Check your post for spelling errors, grammar errors, etc. Paste your post into WORD and run spell check.|
|Do not write about anyone else in your blog without his or her permission.|
|Do not use inappropriate language.|
|Do not write comments that could hurt someone's feelings.|
|Never touch anyone else's blog entry.|
A Comment on Comments
- Ann Davis
Teachers Create a Classroom Blog
The simplest way to begin is to download a program like Blogmeister. Developed by David Warlick, founder of the Landmark Project, this free blogging tool is completely online; there's no software to install. The teacher sets up the blog and student accounts, and students can add their own entries. The teacher reviews each post and either approves and publishes the entry or returns it to the student for editing before reviewing it again.
Go to Blogger. If you already have an e-mail account, you can use this. If not, it will create a Google account for you automatically. Follow the directions to create a blog.
Or, go to Edublogs. Choose Teacher. Follow the directions to create a blog. You will receive a password through email so you can get back in later. When you come in later, enter your password at the top of the screen. It will also create a wikispaces wiki for you.
Create a Scrapblog. This is a more visual blog tool. Check out Lamb's Scrapblog and Escrapbooking Ideas and NCCE.
Check out the HyperComics Blog for creating online comics or Splashblog for Treo (example)
Lastly, for schools and teachers who are extra-cautious about putting elementary students online, Oracle's Think.com is a possibility. Not strictly a blogging tool, Think.com is a closed e-mail and Web-authoring tool; students can view only e-mails and Web sites created by their peers at their school (or, if you choose, at other Think.com schools). Student-created Think.com Web sites could serve as blogs, with text and graphics entered in journal form. Support from administration and an application process are required before being approved to use the free service, however.
1. Register a classroom blog as a teacher.
2. Write, edit, and publish class blogs as a teacher.
3. Add students to your classroom blog so that they may post blog articles.
4. Teacher reviews the students' articles before publishing.
5. Classmates or other audiences read and reply to the student articles.
6. Teacher reads and approves comments before they are published.
Now that you have set up a classroom Web log, students can also:
|reflect on their reading or classroom discussions.|
|investigate topics online and then report on their research.|
|record group progress on a project.|
|talk about shared classroom experiences.|
|copy and paste thought-provoking quotes from other blogs, and then offer their own thoughts on the topic.|
|ask professional writers to edit their blogs, or provide feedback.|
The Teacher Can:
|Teach students the etiquette of online posting.|
|Invite students to use blogs for a few days just for fun -- until they get used to how the system works. Create your own blog too.|
|Assign one blog entry per week on a class-related topic; keep required lengths short and emphasize reflection.|
|Over time, encourage students to provide feedback on one another's blogs; to evaluate blogs outside of class; and to create group blogs.|
|Grade students on their blog entries. Evaluate such factors as time management, content, and grammar and spelling.|
The Risks of Blogging are Real
Proceed With Caution
|Get parental permission.|
|Know your school and district acceptable use policies (AUPs) and convey them to your students.|
|Avoid blogging sites that require students to publish their complete names and/or e-mail accounts.|
|Avoid sites that ask students for any personal information.|
|Make students aware of what subject matter is appropriate and permissible.|
|Teach students the importance of tone and respect for others' opinions.|
|Have clear expectations, rules, and consequences.|
Remember that with risk comes growth and learning.
Samples of School Blogs
5th Grade Writing
In My Opinion...
Ms. Kreul's Class Blog
Mrs. Corron's First Grade