A blog is not an add on in the curriculum

Often teachers new to blogging find it difficult to get into a routine of using their blog in their classroom. After a few months, no new posts are being added, therefore no new visitors are arriving to leave comments.
Blogging- It is not abuot the Tools...It's about the Skills
Silvia Tolisano from the blog Langwitches has created a great poster about the skills you learn while blogging. She also has posters on using wikis, podcasting, digital storytelling and video conferencing. You can download them from her flickr page to use in your room.

She has also created other pdf documents about blogging – a lesson plan about a unit on blogging and a rubric for writing posts and leaving comments.

Kathleen Morris, who I recently met at a conference in San Diego, also writes many posts about using blogs in the classroom. She has connected with many teachers overseas and regularly joins with teachers in creating global collaborative projects.

Linda Yollis, who I stayed with last year and who often works with Kathleen Morris, has a wiki about educational blogging.

Make sure you check out the student and class blog lists on these two teachers class blogs.

Leave a comment about how you think blogging can be an everyday occurrence in your classroom. How could it be used for literacy, numeracy, science, history, health, music, art, PE etc?

 

9 thoughts on “A blog is not an add on in the curriculum

  1. Hi Sue,

    If I were still in the classroom, I’d have a rotation of students on the limited number of computers I had in the classroom. I’d have those rotations during the beginning of the day (instead of doing the daily warm-up the rest of the class did because blogging would be more beneficial than a review lesson). I’d also have blogging as part of my literacy block for reading and writing.

    I’d use it in all content area also. However, I think I would give the students choice of what area of study they wanted to incorporate blogging. If math, then I’d allow them to create original examples to share with others of what we were learning (or to share their metacognition/reflection of how they solved some difficult problems). While some would create posts, I’d have others review and comment. I would like to see them add to the conversation with either their own thinking and examples, or great examples from others around the globe. This would definitely get them thinking beyond the four walls of the classroom, finding solutions and examples from others…

    Yes, blogging should not be an add on in the curriculum, it should be part of the day. However, it takes some time to get to that point. Start slow, with time dedicated to the blog. I recommend starting as a whole class no matter what the age is. If they have it modeled and part of the whole group discussion, then it becomes part of their daily lives also instead of an add on. Over time, blogging will be seamlessly integrated into part(s) of the day.

    Kind regards,
    Tracy

    • Thanks Tracy,
      Some great ideas mentioned there. I certainly agree with the start slowly; learn how to comment well first, then write posts. Adding the images and hyperlinks can come later.

      I have just spent the afternoon with a new group of grade 3 students learning how to leave comments. Once they and their teacher have reviewed and approved them, you should be able to find them on Mrs Rollins blog on the left sidebar. I am sure they would appreciate some comments from overseas.

  2. Hi Miss W

    During my time on class I try to show that reading blogs is just the same as reading books during quiet reading time by making sure that all children have a day when they can read at a computer. They know that this is reading time not gaming time! I look forward to the day when I see this in lots of rooms – that reading online is as valid as all other forms of reading.

    Our class blog is also valuable for the way in which in chronicles our class experiences in such a way that they are easily revisited and often extended upon through the comments we receive. Our Smarties Investigation last year was very much enriched by the comments and questions left by our blog visitors. Biggest lesson I learnt from that was choose M&M’s because they are available in more countries.

    Touching base with our blog starts each of the days I am on class and we have had many a mini-lesson based on follow up from a comment. Sometimes this is as simple as finding new countries on a map – great for extending geographical awareness.

    regards

    Mrs S

    • G’day Mrs S,
      That geographical awareness happened today when I was visiting a new group of bloggers in grade 3. We were looking at the real clustrmap from the main eSchool blog and noticed a place called Cipolletti, AR. We had no idea which country that could be. So Mrs Rollins and I had a competition to see who could find the country first – I used a search engine, while she used an old fashioned atlas. It was very close, but found out we had had a visitor from Argentina.

  3. Dear Miss W.,

    It took me a while before I understood how powerful blogging could be in a classroom setting. I started by throwing it on at the end of the day if time permitted. Over time, I realized that it is language arts based. Once I realized that, I started teaching directed lessons about how to comment.

    The blog is now the centerpiece of our learning. We start each morning with blogging lessons. At the beginning of the year we write group comments with the blog projected up on the wall. As the skills develop, they work in pairs to leave comments. Students who demonstrate a commitment to blogging can earn their own blogs. I hold a parent education meeting and then the parents set up the blogs and are the administrators.

    Blogging is the best project I’ve ever seen and I’ve been teaching for over twenty-five years. Here is a Blogging is Learning video that my students made last year.

    Thanks for encouraging blogging!

    Your friend,
    Linda Yollis

    • G’day Linda,
      Thank you so much for commenting. I know many teachers who are new or veterans at blogging use your blog as a first class example to teach their students. I know I have learnt a lot from you, in particular about the value of commenting.

  4. Hi Miss W,

    We are in the midst of report writing and I wanted to get some ideas how to explain to our parents the usefulness of blogging in the classroom. Your post was most helpful.

    cheers, Ms Page

    • Hi Ms Page,
      I really like that poster showing the skills learnt while blogging and the blog posts by Kathleen Morris also make great reading. Good luck with the report writing.

  5. Dear Miss W,
    I have been blogging with my Grade 3 students for 2 years now. Our classroom blog is a place where I can share photos and information about our classroom learning with parents and friends. I try to post at least once a week and parents love being connected to their child’s learning through our blog. The Student Blogging Challenge gives us ideas for post topics and helps us to make global connections.

    My students have individual Kidblogs where they share assigned writings from class and personal writings about things that interest them. A blog allows students to have an authentic audience for their writing and that motivates them to write better. Their Kidblogs are also a great place to embed the many Web 2.0 projects that they complete in all different subjects, so it becomes a portfolio of their work. Blogging has allowed us to take learning outside of our classroom walls.
    Tina Schmidt

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