Thursday, September 6, 2012

The blogging adventure continues

It's been a great couple of weeks as far as blogs and bloggings go. First I had the honour of being featured in Anthony Salcito's Daily Edventures blog. I find it a humbling experience.

During this same period I have introduced our Grade 3's to the adventure of blogging. It's something I've wanted to to do for some time but we don't have school email accounts which means setting up blogs was going to have some challenges. Then I heard about It's a really child friendly blogging platform that does not require an email for the children. The first week I explained that a blog is like a mobile or online creative writing tool. Children were able to log in through a simple process and we were soon up and writing.

Over the past months I have bookmarked some interesting online articles on blogging for students. This particular one gives 14 Steps to Meaningful Student Blogging by Mrs Ripp and  is a great place to start. Another very good resource for teaching students to blog is this one by Langwitches - a great tech teacher I have followed for a couple of years. Her blogs are a mine of information on a wide variety of tools.

We started by doing a lesson on online safety, focussing on not sharing personal information such as surnames, addresses, phone numbers or particulars that would identify them. This formed the basis of the children's first blog post. They wrote a bulleted list of recommendations for online safety. I will do a follow up lesson on avoiding cyberbullying.

During the next lesson the children chose a photo from our shared photos folder and they wrote a blog post about the photo. This week we learnt about commenting on other peoples' posts. We spoke about etiquette in writing comments. Comments should be positive, respectful and encouraging. They then chose a partner and each of them commented on their partner's blog post. They really took the guidelines to heart and wrote lovely comments to one another.
The Kidblog class blogs are linked below.

Grade 3S
Grade 3J
Grade 3P
Grade 3D

So why introduce blogging to Grade 3's? Firstly blogging is a great tool for developing literacy skills. It involves reading and writing. There is also the global dimension of blogging. Learners are aware that their blogs are live on the Internet and anyone can read their posts. Through my own Twitter personal learning network I have made contact with a teacher in the USA who is keen to link our classes' blogs. Through the blogs children will learn more about other countries and cultures. They will be encouraged to comment on one another's blogs. Once that process begins I believe they will be even more motivated to write for this audience, thus helping them to further develop their skills.

And so it's been all about blogs and bloggings this fortnight.I look forward to the next steps.