Block Two: Blogging

Students will use digital media and environments to communicate and collaborate including at a distance to support individual learning and contribute to the the learning of others.
  • collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts and others employing a variety of digital media and formats
  • contribute to project teams to produce original works

In this block of learning you will
  1. create and personalize your own blog by choosing theme and widgets
  2. write your first blog post based on the viewing, reading and listening in the previous block
  3. respond to the posts of your colleagues
  4. utilize blogging protocol to write a post that responds to an article on K-12 blogging.
  5. find and place at least two blogs on your blog roll


Part I: Create your own blog

The first thing you will do is set up your very own personal blog to begin sharing your thoughts, discoveries, and ideas. I suggest Wordpress, or Edublogs or Classblogmeister because staff at Central Office use them and can respond more easily to your questions. And, don't forget to call Donna if you want some one-on-one to set up your first blog!

How to Choose a Blogging Tool: Consider your purpose. Do you want a tool for your whole class to use to blog? Will your blog be an information tool?
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Classblogmeister
Classblogmeister is very useful blogging tool for primary and elementary classrooms (see Brenda Sparrow and Susan Harrison's blogs) - you can set up your whole class within one framework therefore your students do not need to create their own accounts and they do not need an e-mail address. You have complete control over what gets posted on your blog and on each of your student's blog as well as who can view the posts. However, it does not have the same flexibility as some of the other blogs. For example, theme selection is very limited and you cannot add widgets. You will be able to add photos and podcasts and so will your students. I would suggest that if you want a class blog you use classblogmeister.

Instructions on how to set up a classblogmeister account
Don't forget your school's registration code!

Edublogs and Wordpress
If you want an information blog - that is, a blog to inform parents and students about classroom happenings then you may want to choose edublogs or wordpress. And, you may want to use the student version of edublogs, learner blogs, with older students. You can add their blogs to your blogroll.

Set up a blog in 6 steps: (basic steps for Edublogs and Wordpress)
1. Create an account
You will need to provide an e-mail address. You will need it to validate your account. Remember to write down your username and password. Note the URL of your blog site.

2. Name your blog
Remember that the world can see your blog title and blog address so you may want to choose something that easily identifies you and the purpose of your blog. E.g. mrsmithsclassroom. Be prepared to try a few different variations on your blog name to find one that is not already used.

3. Select your theme or template.
This is found under the presentation tab: this is the fun part. There are many different themes to choose from so play a bit to find one that suites you.

4. Personalize your blog
Examine the different options that you will find under each menu item. For example under presentation have a look at the 'widgets'. These are different items (calendars, etc.) that you can place in the sidebars of your blog. You should choose at least two. As we explore different Web 2.0 tools you may want to revisit this and add other widgets later. Under the options menu set your discussion criteria (that is, how will you accept comments.... all or only those that you approve?).

5. Set your comment options
It is important to set your comment options so that you are notified about comments and can approve or delete them before they are posted on your blog. These setting can be found in the options menu... then click on discussions.

writeapost.jpgWrite your first blog post

Write your first post commenting on your reading, viewing and listening in the previous block. E-mail your colleagues and Donna your blog address. Comment on at least one of your colleagues' posts. You may want to keep the conversation going by responding to your colleague's comments and so on.. and so on... and so on....


Part II: Educational Blogging

  1. Read Blogging Techniques for the K12 Classroom This article focuses on four core methods to use blogs with students and help teachers address the logistical factors involved.
  2. Using the blogging protocols outlined below write a blog response to the article above. Comment on at least one of your colleagues responses. Remember blogging protocols should also be used with regards to your colleagues. If you reference a post they have written in your blog post... link to it.

Blogging protocols

Protocols... you should always link back to the post that you read. This is the way that referencing is done in the blogging world. Highlight the URL of the blog post/article/web page that you read and then in editing mode in your blog type and highlight the word you want to link... click on the link button in the tool bar and paste the URL.

How to add a link:

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Assessment:

  1. This blogging rubric is a useful tool for evaluating your own blogging effort and the posts of your students.
  2. TOTALLY awesome post about evaluating student blog writing, Making Assessment Personally Relevant from the Blog of Proximal Development by Konrad Glogowski a grade eight teacher. Make sure you visit his flickr site where you will find screenshots for the assessment tools he uses with notes (the square boxes on the images) that illustrate his expectations for students. He also provides some examples of students responses. Too Cool!

Blogging Responsibly



Part III Searching and finding blogs

A good blog search tool is technorati. Select 'blog' from the menu if you want to find blogs... selecting post will only get you blog posts... not the whole blog. You may also want to view some of the student, teacher, administrator blogs at Support Blogging Find a blog about education, technology, teaching strategies, your teaching specialty and how technology can be used. Once you find a blog - read the author's blog roll and the follow the links that he/she provides. These are a great ways to discover new blogs. Add at least two blogs to your blogroll.



Resources

Print Resources available from the school division office - contact Donnabookdrop.gif
  • Classroom Blogging: a Teacher's Guide to the Blogosphere by David Warlick
  • Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson
Online Resources


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