Blog Examples

Delicious Links - look here for different ideas (Sandpit time!)Class blog + Individual Student BlogsGuillum's Classroom BlogG5 DragonsHuzzahKulikowski's Awesome BlogISB Grade 5 Student Blogs (from 2009/2010)Room 231Student Blogging Challenge (Great source of links to Classroom and Student blogs that are active!)Class BlogsMr Lamshed's ClassTamakiMoturoaMoutereMr Mundorf's ClassPiazza ManninoRoom FMSSStretton Handley PrimaryStars of BroadwayTumeke 12

Ideas/Tips for Getting Started

How your class blog can be set up & some tips and tricks to get started.Types of Blogs:
  • Group Blog: if you create a class blog, you will have to take the time to create the individual accounts and grant access to users. Plan for this time during the first week (and also plan for account failures). After that point, however, the group blog gives you and everyone else one centralized location for reading and responding to content.
  • Class Hub: Treat the class hub as your area for online participation, and update it frequently either with announcements, “round up” posts, or both. Communicate with Parents, Post a weekly/monthly newsletter (save many trees!!), post assignments, tutorials, have posts that students respond to (using the comments area), etc.
    Essentially, YOU will be the main content creator - but you could have "guest bloggers", you could have your students posting to the class blog on a rotational or even non-organised way. (Note: Having students post to the class blog will require a different set up, and you will need to see your TLC for help with this part.) Eventually you can think about whether you want to introduce students to the wonders of their own individual blogs.
  • Individual Student Blogs: My personal advice to you: Maintain a class blog first! Take time before beginning to give yourself a working knowledge of the blogging platform so that you can cover some of the frequent problems that occur when students beginning blogging - OR schedule your Technology Learning Coach to work with you and your students during whole class blogging time and/or small group blogging time.
Integrating blogging with your traditional classroom pedagogy can be intimidating at first, especially if you yourself are not fully comfortable with it. Take some time to carefully and honestly consider how you can integrate blogging with your class, and be prepared to support your students a little more than perhaps you are used to. With a good action plan, and using the support of your Technology Learning Coach, blogging can provide your students with the opportunity for more consistent and thoughtful engagement in all subject areas; the start-up costs (in time NOT money) may be a little high, but once you have that plan in place, you can re-use it as you do any good assignment that has a permanent place in your classroom.Tips
  • Do take the time to watch this slideshow: Blogging In The Classroom (Links mentioned in it are provided below under Silvia Tolisano's Resources)
  • Do use Categories (Reader's Workshop, Writer's Workshop, Science, Social Studies, Math Investigations, Classroom Happenings, Field Trips,) It makes it so much easier to find stuff.
  • Consider using Student names (as a category) if you decide to have students authoring on the classroom blog and contributing to the content
  • Do have students and parents sign a blogging contract. (Copy mine and adjust - DO not reinvent the wheel!) And do have a copy on your blog.
  • Do make yourself and your students familiar with ISB's AUP documents (Acceptable Use Policy)
  • Do take the time to learn & set up an RSS feed (your TLC can help you here). This will be your most valuable tool in managing or keeping track of your class/student blogs.
  • Do realise that this will take up a lot of your time when you first start out. There's no other way to say this - it will take a significant investment of time! But this time investment does eventually reduce!
  • Do use your TLC (Technology Learning Coach). That's what they're here for. There are many levels of support available. See the Collaboration Cycle at the bottom of this document.
  • Do make yourself familiar with the TAIL standards , learner profiles: (PK-2) , (3-5), (a real bonus when planning)
  • DO NOT re-invent the wheel. There is a tonne of stuff out there that classroom teachers have already shared - MOST educators publish their stuff under a creative commons license. That means you can Use it! Change it! Modify it! But ALWAYS credit your source! All of my blogs, professional and class blogs are licensed under creativecommons share and sharealike: That means use it, change it, modify it, credit it and reshare it under the same license if you modify or change it!
Silvia Tolisano's ResourcesComplete: Blogging Unit for Downloading
Tutorials or Practical Instructions
Other ResourcesBlogging ContractInterview with Grade 6 bloggersGWA Grade 5 (ran out of space & moved but still worth taking a look at for ideas of content)Room 9 (no longer being updated - but Rachel Boyd blogged with Year 2's - worth looking at)Changes in Classroom Blogs in Elementary SchoolsBlogging FunBlogging Rubric ExampleClarence Fisher's Rubric
Juniors Can Do IT (a tonne of ideas that could be put on a classroom blog)

Digital Citizenship Unit
ISB DigitalWe (Kim, Jeff & Chrissy) have been developing a Digital Citizenship curriculum for PK-12 students and teachers. This wiki is still under development but it does contain some lesson plans and resources across the Elementary, Middle and High schools. Check it out! Work on this wiki will continue this year.

Simple Ideas for Creating Content

(On your Class Blog or adapted for use on a Student's Individual Blog - required post/choice post)Post a PromptPut a biweekly writing prompt up on the blog and have your students respond to it by a certain day. Ask them to also comment on one of their classmates ideas, drawing a name from a hat or rotating to be sure that all students receive a comment from someone. Foster process writing peer-editing by asking each student to make a suggestion for improvement to content and mechanics (editing) of the other student’s submission. If you use the approval process before allowing student responses to show, you can skim posts to be sure there is nothing cruel or inappropriate. Invite parents to comment back to their elementary children.The week in Review Appoint a weekly blog team in your elementary classroom to write that week’s blog entry, describing the events of the week in Room XYZ. Invite mums and dads to comment and watch the excitement grow! Soon you will have students begging to write the summaries. Bonus: Those who are at home due to illness will not feel as disconnected from their classroom.Respond to a reading Practice good reading strategies and check comprehension by asking students to respond to an assigned reading, reflecting on how it applies to their own experience. For example, after reading a non-fiction piece about Global Warming, students could tell about their own experiences about how they are contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.Find the facts Post a statement with no supporting facts. Ask students to find facts to support or refute the opinion, using links to reliable web sites and their own persuasive explanations. This could work well for environmental issues, political issues, or any topic that is debatable.Critique a web site Post a link to a web site related to a topic your are studying and invite students to give their personal evaluation: Does the site show bias? Does it seem well-researched? Is it a reliable source?Comment on current events Post a link to a current events story and ask students to comment on its implications in your local community or their own lives. Even young students can respond to stories from the local paper’s online pages.Write a sports story (gr 3-12) Have students write a newspaper-style sports account of their own soccer game or swim meet. Be sure that they do not use full names of any participants. Initials or first names only work best (this is a good place for a mini-lesson on Internet safety). Or they could write up actual school teams, but that is not as personal. Encourage them to read and comment to each other or to invite parents to comment (younger students).Report on a vacation or long weekend (gr 1-12) When returning from a break, ask students to write a blog entry from the point of view of the family dog on their weekend trip or even as the bag/suitcase they packed and took along. Always encourage commenting on other’s stories. (good place for a mini-lesson on Commenting)Post from an “educational trip” (gr 1-12) Any time a student is absent on an “educational trip,” i.e. the family pulls the kids out to go away, require regular blog postings from the trip or as soon as they return, telling about the things on the trip that connect to what they have been learning in the classroom. Ex. What biomes did you visit? What predators and prey did you see? If they are creative, encourage them to write from a different point of view, such as the surrounding walls at the temple ruins seeing all these people arriving.Role-play a point of view (gr 3-12) Have students write a blog entry from a different angle. Have them write as an inanimate object, such as an igneous rock when you are studying types of rock. Choose curriculum-related people of objects and assign a specific thing they must talk about, preferably something that will prompt a heated opinion and require that they demonstrate understanding of curriculum, as well. Example You are a colonist, and you just found out that they are going to tax your tea.Meet” during unexpected days off (gr 3-12)
If you teach in an area of the world that is prone to sudden days off due to inclement weather, (obviously not a school in Thailand!) make a deal with your students that they will earn extra credit for posting to the blog on such days. As soon as you find out that you have the day off, go on the class blog as a teacher and post a prompt, even something as simple as “What unexpected surprises did you have this day?” After they have fun doing stuff they wouldn't normally do, they’ll love having something else to do - especially if it's hot outside! Note: for those without Internet access at home, allow them to WRITE on paper for extra credit and help them find time at school to post, so they do not feel left out.
Report on a field trip or virtual field trip (gr 2-12)
Have students act as reporters telling about a field trip or special event. They can pretend to have interviewed a gecko at the mangrove they visited or be straightforward in reporting the real events of the trip. Students could also write up a virtual field trip they took online in class.
Write a neighborhood or community tour with pictures (gr 1-12)
As a culmination of a unit on your community or local history create a neighborhood or community tour blog. Each student (or pair) can take and upload a picture and tell about it. Then invite others in the school or parents to make comments about their favorite locations. Be sure that you do not include any easily identifiable pictures of students, for safety’s sake.Bounce around a hot topic (gr 5-12) Grade 5 / Middle-schoolers always have an exaggerated sense of what is “fair.” Use their strong opinions to spark dialog on your blog. Should backpacks be allowed in class? Are the required PE uniforms fair? Listen for hot topics, then use them to develop logical thinking and writing with support for your opinions. High schoolers can take this even further by discussing topics outside their immediate surroundings.Make a “suggestion box” post (gr 2-12) Invite students to contribute ideas to make our classroom a better place or make this a better blog.Question post (gr 2-12) Invite students to submit a question about class content, related ideas, or “I have always wondered” in advance of starting a new unit. Asking everyone to express one curiosity before starting the unit will give you a place to focus and make the content more meaningful to them. This idea is sort of an electronic KWL Chart!Tutorials/Hints blog posts (gr 4-12) Ask students to create tutorials for hints on new math or science concepts or before Investigation Assessments or i-ChecksFitness post (gr 2-12) Encourage students to post ideas for healthy eating and exercise. They can tell how far they ran or what healthy options they have found in the cafeteria.Organization tips (gr 4-12) Invite students to share tips for how they stay organized, not just for school, but for life. Maybe parents can contribute too: “I always put a post-it note on my steering wheel to remember to drop off DVDs at the rental place.” Seeing how others stay organized really helps the more scatter-brained folks who never thought of these ideas. Ask some teachers and others in the school to contribute, too -- may be even the principal. Learning support and ADHD students would really benefit from this one.Recipes for success (gr 5-12)
At the end of a unit, end of a semester or even school year, have students write “recipes for success” in that unit, class, etc. These can remain for others to try in the future. Encourage actual recipe format, including ingredients and procedure.
Recipes—for real (gr 4-12)
As you study fractions, world languages, or different cultures, nothing is more popular than using recipes. Have your students share one on the class blog then comment if they try one that another student posted.
Blog Ice Breaker (gr 5-12)
This is especially effective near the start of the school year. Use student-selected pseudonyms to register your student users (they must tell only you what their secret identity is) and allow them to comment outside of class on hot topics from class discussion for a few weeks. After a few weeks, ask in class if anyone thinks they know who each f the pseudonyms REALLY is and if they can match all pseudonyms to actual classmates. This is a great way to allow even the shyest people to comment without fear to start the year and to find out which quiet, non-participants in class are quite vocal at a computer. Your students will know each other far better, creating a greater sense of classroom community.

Four Images (gr 5-12) As a first blog entry to allow students to get to know both each other and the blogging tool, use an adaptation of this idea from high school math teacher Dan Meyer. Ask each student to use four images (edited at will) to "sell" or "tell" about himself/herself. Your techno-savvy students will go to town, and you will not only learn about how your students view themselves, but also about who has the best tech skills to help others when you need it.Reflections (gr 3-12)
Ask students to write a post after a Unit of Study. Use prompts to generate sentences.
Before this unit I knew ........ Now I know ....... The most interesting thing I learned ...... Something I know now but didn't know before ........ etc
Continuing Stories (gr 2-12)Start a blog story (set up the setting, characters, and initial situation in an opening paragraph) and let each student who visits comment by adding a sentence or two. If someone gets unruly or ridiculous, the other authors will quickly comment to that effect! You can make the story support curriculum, too. For example, the story could be “historical fiction” about a family during the Civil War or baby geese who are migrating.Continuing Vocabulary (gr 6-12) Start a blog story at the beginning of the year as you begin vocabulary in your English class. Each week, require students to add to the story, using a LOGICAL sentence that both fits the story and uses one of that week’s vocab words. The stories will become lengthy and outrageous as the year goes in, but the kids will be re-reading the words over and over to reinforce them -- and laughing as they do! They will NEVER forget those words!Find a “Sister Community”(gr 6-12)Just as real communities often form relationships with other towns in other states or countries, your class blog community can set up a direct link with another class blog reading the same play or studying the Civil War at the same time. Imagine if your 11th grade “yankee” U.S. History class in New Hampshire conversed with a class in Mississippi during this unit? The blog comments would be fascinating. All you need to do is use a bulletin board (such as a tool coming in 2007 on TeachersFirst) to find that comparable class and allow them to join your blog as you join theirs. WOW! Even Romeo and Juliet viewed from New York and Sidney could be very different—or very similar?
Support: Embedding
Video, audio, voicethread, clustrmaps, counters, calendars, countdown timers etc.
You CAN embed ANYTHING that has html code (also known as Embed code)
ISB's very own EdTech Wordpress Basic & Advanced Tutorials
(There's a lot of stuff here that might come in handy!!)
Go to YouTube and search for wordpress tutorials (wordpress is the blogging platform we use for the blogs at ISB)
Wordpress Support Forum
There's a tonne of FAQs here - 99% chance your burning question about how to do something will be answered on this site already!
Widgets & Sidebars
Writing & Editing
Blogrolls & Categories

Practical Ways/Advice

Some practice tips and advice on how to manage your blog once it's up and r
Day to Day Management Ideas
  • Try one thing at a time - slowly introduce new things - keep it simple - copy and paste are your friends!
  • Use a taskboard
  • Designate a day in your schedule (ie: blog every 6th day instead of a mini-lesson - alternate between blogging & commenting to build up your audience)
  • Assign blog posts/comments on a blog post for Homework
  • Use your sutdent-experts - create a Digital Tools Expert Chart - see those experts before me (you're no longer the only one they can ask for help and you don't need to know everything)
  • Have a weekly scribe
Do what works for you! Experiment! What works one year, might not the next! Change it if it's not working! Ask your students for suggestions!
Creative Commons / Crediting your Sources / CopyrightThis is really needs an hour to cover properly. I will post some additional resources here for you. This is an ideal lesson that your TLC should take with you and your students. And you shouldn't just do it once - whenever you require students to use images/music that you don't want them to create from scratch - remind them about creativecommons and the sites to use. Put the links on your classblog as a tab so that they (and you) don't need to remember them.But here's the golden rule if you are going to post your student's work online:
If you didn't create it (take the photo, draw it, write it etc) then IT'S NOT YOURS to use UNLESS the owner has specifically licensed that piece of work (writing, an image, an audio track - voice and/music, video etc) under CreativeCommons. (that means that you can use it, and, in some cases change it - as long as you credit the person that created it).
We usually use images (photos) and music for the things we create here at ISB - there are specific websites that will only search and return images/music/videos that are licensed under creative commons.Images:flickr - BUT you need to use the advanced search feature: Link to flickr's explanation of the various creativecommons licensescompfight - (turn on the creative commons search feature) - my personal favourite and the one I use with my students the mostsearch.creativecommons I personally discourage my students from using google images. You have no guarantee that what your search returns is actually licensed for use under creativecommons. The majority of images returned in a google image search ARE INDEED COPYRIGHTED - therefore to use them would essentially be stealing someone else's work.Music / Video:search.creativecommonsjamendo Most popular music is copyrighted - you can not even use 30 seconds of a popular song unless you have specific permission to do so. YouTube will pull a video in about 30 minutes if it has copyright music in it.Citing work or Giving Credit correctly Ideally, most students create a blank card at the end of their presentation with the title:Image / Music Attribution (All images/music used under CreativeCommons License) Name of the image, Name of the creator, URL For example:Collaboration Cycle: superkimbo; (as this is flickr, the username is in the URL so you could leave out the creator name)Music: (You are required to download music (audio files) in order to use them so URLs are not usually required - URL may be helpful should others want to find it in the future)Name of the music piece, Name of the creator, URL (optional)(As a rule I usually include the URL for the simple reason of being able to find that piece of music easily should it be necessary

Additional Notes

Collaboration Cycle

Created by Kim Cofino
Created by Kim Cofino