Even though I am a year 2 in our project group, for some reason I always find it difficult to find an organized way to get started. The quick tidbit I wanted to share was having the students set up their own blogs on the ipads. Last year, after downloading the app, I went through and put in the username, password and url for all the students in my class. Talk about a time sucker! This year, I decided to make kids responsible for this…it was a great lesson for my grade 2’s to see how important it is to not leave spaces in username and passwords and how just one letter that is incorrect is the difference between “success” and “error”. To make this activity manageable, I integrated it into my Daily 5 routine with 3-5 students at a time. I also used this time to teach them the gestures for getting back to the home screen, closing apps, looking at battery charge remaining and shutting down the iPad. This ended up being a very worthwhile activity for the kids and saved me some time too! I found this small group instruction to be a very valuable use of time…and I think this is how I will teach them how to change parts of their blogs that explore their creativity instead of a whole-class lesson.
I also decided to clear off my iPad and start from scratch, just like last year instead of keeping the perfectly organized folders that were on the iPads last year. Yes…it is a pain but I believe that my 7-year old students need to learn the organizational skills associated with technology…I explained to them that the iPad needs to be organized much like their desks. They have quickly learned how to create a folder with similar-type apps and now the students do not question where to find apps they need as they created the organizational system themselves.
I have been modelling what a good blog post looks like during our “shared writing” on the classroom blog each Friday. We have created a checklist so that before submitting their posts for publishing, they have checked to make sure they have met the criteria. Setting high standards for posts, taking the time to explicitly teach the process, modelling the process, and peer editing with a checklist are all strategies that I think will save valuable time in the end.
I would love to hear from some of you how you have gotten started with integrating the technology into the classroom!
4 thoughts on “Getting Started with Blogging”
I’ve started like you, introducing everything from scratch. It’s different a completely different experience for me though, because last year I was as new to the technology and blogging platform as my students. This year I am continuing to have to remind myself that ‘it takes a while to get the ball rolling, we will get there!’.
I took a look at what I had accomplished on student blogs at this time last year, and I realized that the first student posts were upside down photos of a Remembrance Day photo that I took for them. I remember how proud we were of these first posts, and I was reminded that it took a long time to develop the skills and responsibility levels to be able to accomplish these first posts. As I look at where we are now in my class, I think that celebrating our work this year so far is something I need to remember do. You probably are due for a celebration too!
For me, it was all about letting go of control….boy, is that hard to do as an elementary school teacher! I was really afraid to take the first jump and have my kids blog independently. A great deal of “what ifs” were running through my head. We did do a few guided posts together, discussed our audience and actually did our first blog with our blog buddies….but I had to let them try themselves sometime. The kids were very excited to have the independence, and quickly certain students became experts on various topics (why the posts were going through the website, not the app, how to add a picture, how to save a draft) I know it is so important to let the students become independent and familiarize themselves with the site. It is also makes my daily 5 run smoothly if blogging can be done independently or with a partner. Now I want to spend more time on the “quality” of their posts. I would love the blog to have a focus every few months. This month I was hoping we would mainly post about what we have read. My goal is to create on-going conversations where the students are writing about their reading and sharing what they read with their peers.
The students are motivated to share ideas at least!
Editing student blogs…how much is too much??