Thursday, April 25, 2013

So...You Wanna Use Blogs In The Classroom

Blogging is an important part of who I am as a professional. I can use this space to share resources with you, reflect on my own practice and try to figure out how to be a better educator. It is my public reflection on technology, leadership and learning.

Think about when you were in school. You write an essay. Who read it? Most likely the teacher and that is where it ended. You pour hours and hours into reflections on Shakespear, the economic and political effects of wars on society or how plants have evolved over time, yet the only person who read your thoughts are the teacher. Maybe you shared with a close friend or even the class. But generally the world was unaware of your thoughts and feelings.

Blogging changes that for kids. Now the audience is global and anyone can read, and in some cases respond and comment. Kids can post their writing, projects, thoughts and reflections. Teachers can provide prompts or starters and kids can pick up and run with it.

More and more teachers and classrooms are embracing blogging in the classroom. You're thinking about it, but are unsure where to even start or how to get started. Lets take a look at some classroom blogging resources to get started with.

There are lots of platforms to use. And the one you pick will depend on your district (blocked or not, policies, etc.) and how you want to manage them. Two very popular platforms are Edublogs and Kidblog. Both are very teacher friendly and ofter lots of features that make management easy. Edublogs has a great Getting Started section that will walk you through creation of your blogs and how to use them in the classroom.

Five Steps To Starting A Classroom Blog-Ms. Morris offers some great and personal advice on classroom blogging, learned from her own trial and error.

Two Critical Tips For Blogging Projects-From my good friend Bill, this post offers some more great advice on blogging in the classroom and how to make it successful.

Collection Of Blogging Resources-When I think of classroom blogging I think of Silvia Tolisano. She has been blogging, on, well blogging for a while. Her resources for classroom blogs are extensive and worth spending lots of time with.

Tips For Blogging With Students-Sue Waters (from Edublogs) also has written a lot about blogging with kids. This collection of tips are definitely not to be missed.

Student Blogging Guidelines-Some teachers will want some guidance in place when they undertake blogs with kids. Kim lays out some easy to follow guidelines that might make implementation easier.

So you can get started. You can manage your blogs. But what will you do with them. More over, what will kids do with these spaces. In addition to the ideas I laid out earlier, there are a couple more to consider.

The Student Blogging Challenge is a great way to get into blogging and get kids into their blogs. The challenge is hosted by Edublogs but you don't have to use Edublogs to take part. The challenges range from helping kids understand the mechanics of the blog to learning about digital footprints. Each challenge has prompts the kids can use as starters for posts too. And while the challenge goes on for a specific time, you can certain jump in any time and start.

And lastly, one of the great communities out there that supports student blogging is Comments4Kids. Remember before when we talked about reflection beyond the teacher? Comments4Kids aims to extend the reach of student blogs and provide feedback on posts and show kids the world is reading what they are writing. There is a Twitter hashtag too (#Comments4Kids) that you can use to post blog links or ask questions. Join the Comments4Kids blog and share your posts with the world!

Do you have a favorite resource for blogging in the classroom? Or some advice? Leave your comments below.

photo credit: Kristina B via photopin cc
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