Blogging in the Classroom

What is a blog?

A blog is a:



  • an easy way to create a simpliefed web site where you can write/post whatever you want and allow others to respond/comment on your writings.
  • (a contraction of the term weblog) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. (From Wikipedia)
  • a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies (From http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu)

Created by Lee Lefever and shared with CommonCraft via www.teachertube.com.


What can I do with a blog?

As an educational tool, blogs may be integrated in a multi-faceted manner to accommodate all learners. Blogs can serve at least four basic functions.
  • Classroom Management
  • Collaboration
    Blogs provide a space where teachers and students can work to further develop writing or other skills with the advantage of an instant audience. Teachers can offer instructional tips, and students can practice and benefit from peer review. They also make online mentoring possible. For example, a class of older students can help a class of younger students develop more confidence in their writing skills. Students can also participate in cooperative learning activities that require them to relay research findings, ideas, or suggestions.
  • Discussions
    A class blog opens the opportunity for students to discuss topics outside of the classroom. With a blog, every person has an equal opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions. Students have time to react to ideas and reflect on learning. Teachers can also bring together a group of knowledgeable individuals for a given unit of study for students to network and conference with on a blog.
  • Student Portfolios
    Blogs present, organize, and protect student work as digital portfolios. As older entries are archived, developing skills and progress may be analyzed more conveniently. Additionally, as students realize their efforts will be published, they are typically more motivated to produce better writing. Teachers and peers may conference with a student individually on a developing work, and expert or peer mentoring advice can be easily kept for future reference.
(From http://teachingtoday.glencoe.com/howtoarticles/blog-basics)



Examples of Teacher Blogs


Great list of teacher and education blogs - http://supportblogging.com/Links+to+School+Bloggers#Blogs
A comprehensive lists of blogs for elementary, secondary, and administrative educators - http://movingforward.wikispaces.com/Blogs


http://www.pb5th.com/
http://jhh.blogs.com/
http://sites.epals.com/hill3rd/ - great site!
http://itc.blogs.com/thewriteweblog/2004/11/who_says_elemen.html
http://www.huffenglish.com/ (high school)
http://stephenlazar.com/blog/ (high school)
http://administratorblog.sjbrooks-young.com/ (administrators)
http://www.foreignlanguageblog.com/





Ideas for Blogging in the Classroom



www.slideshare.net


10 Reasons to use a blog in your classroom
    1. It's free. There's no charge for most accounts, and most don't even have advertising.
    2. It's a quick and simple way to share ideas, photos, and thoughts.
    3. You don't need to fill out paperwork because you're not using the district's server.
    4. Student can access it anywhere they can log on to the Internet.
    5. You can use it in place of your weekly newsletter.
    6. If kids are going there, they're reading. Reading is good!
    7. If kids are posting, they're thinking and writing. This is good, too!
    8. You can use it as your class Web page, adding links to sites your students will access during the school year.
    9. Older post are archived and easy to access.
    10. You can use it to build community. Your students can get to know you outside of the classroom.
From Learning and Leading with Technology magazine - www.iste.org


Specific ideas that can be used at any level with modifications:
  • Provide a journal prompt for students to finish
  • Provide a math problem and have students explain the steps to completing the problem
  • Have students write a book review
  • Have students locate and post videos, web links, and podcasts for a project from Discovery Education
  • Have your students collaborate to write a story or textbook
  • Have your students complete daily or weekly journal entries
  • Practice peer editing skills
  • Post student work
  • Have student pretend to be characters in a book or from history and conduct online conversations
  • Organize in-class discussions using discussion boards
  • Social network to link multiple classes in the same subject


Things to Consider Before Your Students Blog


Blogging tools for Educators


General Use
www.blogger.com (currently blocked by our filter, but specific URLs can be unblocked) - Free and easy to follow instructions. Allows you to review all comments made before posting. Supports widgets, apps, and other content.
www.wordpress.com- Free and easy to follow instructions. Allows you to review all comments made before posting. Supports widgets, apps, and other content.


Educational Use Only
www.edublogs.com - Free (Limited, but better for educators) service for schools that allows teachers to set up a classroom page, student pages, and manage all features.
www.21classes.com - Free (Limited, but better for educators) service for schools that allows teachers to set up a classroom page, student pages, and manage all features.
www.ClassPress.com- Private blogging site for your students for $30 a year.
www.classblogmeister.com - Free service especially defined for schools. Set up accounts for you and your students.
http://www.ning.com/
Schoolwires - Blogging capabilities are also available on your Schoolwires teacher page. Check school website for more details.


Resources




Blogs to Follow

Joyce Valenza's Neverending Search
Free Technology for Teachers
Blogs by Subject