For the bulk of my major project I have spent some significant time blogging with my students and have seen tremendous growth. We have had some exciting times over the past few weeks! The benefits of blogging are endless. According to the article Blogging as Pedagogy no matter what grade level, age group and subject area. Blogging supports four primary areas: Reading, Writing, Reflecting and Sharing.
It all started with a note…
I needed to get my parents and guardians on board with blogging and of course needed permission to publish publicly. The blogging letter was borrowed and edited from Budtheteacher.com. My version of the letter is available for you to edit also.
While we were waiting for signed permission slips the students were practicing locating the site, logging in, starting a new post and saving it as a draft. Using KidBlog (click the link to visit us) was the easiest option to allow for a gradual release with the students.
As we began many of them couldn’t get much beyond a few words on the screen in the time allotted. As we progressed the students went back and edited posts and learned how to select a pre-loaded header to add to their post or it often became the subject of their blog post.
The grade 2-4 students experienced very little difficulty generating blog posts. When they became more proficient in writing them, checking for capitals and punctuation we discussed adding a picture to go with their post. This was a great opportunity to discuss creative commons and giving credit to a picture. I showed the students how to use Photos for Class because it downloads with the citation already attached. The older students in the class are able to complete this independently now and know that they can’t just take any picture off the internet.
Because I have a multi-grade classroom blogging looked a little different at each level. My grade 1 students shared their ideas with the Instructional Assistant to write on a whiteboard. This usually only consisted of a few sentences and the students typed them into the computer on their own. The challenge was that they had difficulty transferring the lower case letters from the whiteboard to the uppercase ones on the keyboard. So for a while we wrote on the whiteboard in all capital letters. We have access to android devices so to make things easier for the younger students I created a QR code to take them to the login screen and allowed them to use the voice to text option on the devices. This posed a bit of a problem as they had issues with speaking to loudly, softly, quickly or with a speech problem. What they were wanting to say often was not what the program typed. It did create frustration for the students.
One of my grade 4 students was very interested in Youtube videos. He found a video at home that showed a duckling and a man. He was amused by it and decided that he wanted to write a blog on ducks and put the video into the blog. He was motivated to write and we worked together to insert a hyperlink into his blog on Ducks.
The older students also chose a topic to research and blog about. I guided them on safe internet searching and helped them select information that they could include. At this stage it was difficult to teach them about plagiarism. That topic will be covered in future writing classes.
We have published almost all of our blogs and look forward to making global connections. This opens the door to reading and responding while practicing responsible digital citizenship.