Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blogging Around School

In the past couple of weeks, several teachers at my school have been blogging in different ways.  Some people still ask me..."what is a blog?":  Blog - Blog is short for web log.  Blogs usually include entries on personal observations, event descriptions, multimedia files, links or other material. Blog entries are typically displayed in reverse chronological order. Here's a link to Blogs in Plain English

Ms. Coston started her classes blogging using  Kid Blog is a blogging platform designed for teachers for use with k-12 students.  It is user friendly and students can utilize all the major components of traditional blogs like blogger, wordpress and other well known blog platforms, but in a safe and secure environment.  It also allows for adding pictures, multimedia files and even documents like word documents.

Ms. Coston's students wrote reflection essays about a trip they took to Castle McCulloch.  They first spent a day writing and editing on paper, and then came into the computer lab and learned a little bit about blogs and appropriate on-line netiquette and also the kidblog platform and then typed their blogs.  They also commented on other students' work.  Kid blog is a closed platform in the sense that students must log-in with their given user names and passwords to see each other's work.  It's not open to the "Public".  I helped Ms. Coston set up her classes using their first name and last initial for user name and student number for password.

Meanwhile, 7th grade science teachers had their students blog about "the most severe weather event they had ever experienced".  This too went very well.  Students actually typed up their thoughts on MS word to gain the advantage of spell check and grammar editing, and then copied and pasted their posts to the School Wires blog platform.  Students also read each other's work before posting, and I think that really helped avoid common mistakes in grammar and word usage.

In School Wires it's very easy to create a blog page.  There are a couple of video tutorials in School Wires Help:  Creating a blog page & and creating a blog post under Interactive video Tutorials.

But, basically, from your main site manager page,

  • Select NEW Page at the top
  • Choose Blog for the page type
  • Once your page is created,
  • click on your page, and click on "create a new posting" (this is where you can title the blog question that you pose to students, and then activate it on your page)
  • Then, under APP Options (upper right)
  • Choose the Social Settings tab, and
  • Be sure to check "allow commenting" and
  • Check to require comment approval
  • YOU DO NOT need to do anything under commenting rights :)
  • After comments are posted, you can review those comments from your main Site manager page--they will be linked on the right hand side.

Here are some of the Blog Postings from 7th grade science classes:

Here another blog I have run across recently at school:

7th Grade Book Talk Blogs

Finally, my twitter friend George Couros posted a blog this week about blogging in schools, and there were some good resources with suggestions for teachers thinking about blogging:  Check it out!

This lesson went into great detail about having students first write on paper and suggestions for training students on what makes a good blog comment:

Finally,  here's another video you might show to students about on-line "netiquette"  from Brain Pop:

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