What is Blogging?
A blog is a contraction of the term "Web log." According to Wikipedia, a blog is a "Website usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogging)
In the world of education, many teachers and students use blogs as a way to share ideas and thoughts both in their school environments, or through distance learning opportunities. Blogging is a great way to engage students in both reading and writing activities, while also providing an exposure to the read-write-web. It's important that teachers, or the leader of a blogging activity, take the time with students to teach the appropriate digital citizenship skills necessary for appropriate blogging.
Blogging in Plain English from Common Craft
How can I use blogs with students? Here are a few ideas.
- create book discussions (great for literature circles or book reports)
- post prompts for writing
- communicate with parents and students about classroom news, policies, and events
- journal writing online
- publish student work (writing, photos, video, etc.)
- A computer
- Free blogging account (KidBlog or Google Blogger are recommended at this time)
- Optional: Additional media
- make sure to obtain proper parent/guardian permissions before blogging
Sample Blogging Permission Slip
- use student #'s, initials, first names only, or pseudonyms to create posts
- set-up blog so that comments do not appear until approved by the teacher (you can monitor comments by email or dashboard notification)
- If you are using Kidblog.org, set the privacy settings so that the teacher will need to approve student posts before they appear on the Internet.
- If you are using Kidblog.org, you may also choose to set the blog so that only class members may view the posts and comments. Although if you want a true global experience, you may want to have others read your blog, but not comment on it.
- remove the "Next Blog" button from the navigation bar on Google Blogger blogs
Click here for directions to remove the "Next Blog"
Sample Blogging Rules
Feel free to adapt these to meet the needs of your students and post them on your blog.
Blogs being used by FCPS Teachers & Students:
- Fourth Grade Kidblog "Mrs. Kolbert's Class 2010"
- Fourth Grade Blogspot "Thorez Thinkers"
- Lewistown 5th Graders Book Club "Tigersphere"
- Sabillasville 1st Graders "Sabillasville1"
- Thurmont Primary 1st Graders "TPSroom107"
- Critical Thinking with Mrs. Grossnickle "Enrichment Spot"
- MSDE Technology Course "New2TechFCPS"
Examples of Educational Blogs:
Recommended Blogging Platforms
Kidblog is a wonderful new resource for student blogging. According to Kidblog's website, "kidblog.org is designed for elementary and middle school teachers who want to provide each student with their own, unique blog. Kidblog's simple, yet powerful tools, allow students to publish posts and participate in discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs." Kidblog.org has several advantages over other blogging sites:
- Teachers can create a class blog and student accounts without needing student email addresses.
- Students have their own unique blogging space. They can write posts and comment on other students' blogs.
- Teachers have control over approving student posts and comments before they are published to the blog.
- The site is completely secure. Students must login to read posts or comments.
- Teachers can write private comments so that only the child who wrote the post may see the teacher's comment. This is a wonderful way for teachers to provide feedback to students.
- Students can easily navigate between their blog space, their teacher's blog space, and their classmate's blogs.
- There are no ads on the site.
Google Blogger allows the user to lock the site and review all submissions before posting. Although Blogger is free it doesn't allow for ads or links to be posted on a user's site. Pictures, links, and text can all be posted onto a Blogspot blog using blogger from either a computer or a portable device such as a mobile phone.
Crib Sheet for Using Blogger:
Directions to remove the "Next Blog" link from a Blogger Page:
- Article from "The Journal" about the "Prose and Cons" of Blogging
- Electronic Frontier Foundation's Article about Safe Blogging
- Reflections by a teacher about using a blog
- Google has created their own internet safety website, and... it's a blog
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