After reading Pericles’s article “Happily Blogging”, three key points of interest for teachers in creating and using blogs in their classroom have become evident:
1. You can choose and provide purpose and audience – A blog can take almost any form that you want it to, as well as providing specific purposes for you, your students and the wider school community. From “posting assignments and class news, to parent information, to sharing of class activities, to online publishing of student work, to showcases of student art, poetry and creative projects, to places to respond to concepts and ideas dealt with in class, to journal work, to linking with other classes in other parts of the world” (Pericles, p.5).
2. Quality teaching and student directed learning – Establishing a class of beginner bloggers involves much more than logging on and typing away. The preliminary work required in setting up the blogging experience is a wonderful quality teaching tool in itself through the joint establishing of “blogging rules, topic guide-lines, editing requisites, good commenting guides, positive responses, open ended question guides, and reflective openers” (Pericles, p.5). Using these guidelines as almost another set of classroom rules will lead to students becoming increasingly self directed and self critical of the quality of work they produce.
3. Making classroom learning relevant! – As most students these days are fairly tech savvy and open to experimenting with new technologies, what better way to link their school education life with their life outside the school gates. Blogs are educative and informative in a way that is engaging and relevant to students even when they are away from the classroom. The shared online format is perfect for sending home projects to be completed and posted up for viewing the next day, for completing classroom tasks/homework as well as an outlet for any personal research or extracurricular interests.
Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6
Review of two blogs
This is a wonderful example of a well set out and designed classroom blog. I believe it has the appropriate feel, theme and content layout for the age group of Stage 2 students. It has a clean feel, without too much clutter, which is an important feature to make students aware of. If you want people to read your blog, make it look appealing!
There is also some interesting content such as a virtual class welcome message, a world map that tracks visitor locations to the blog (perfect for linking HSIE content!) , a local analog clock to track the time and even a virtual blog pet! There is a nice balance of posts ranging from lists, to photos, video clips and more.
Kids With a View – http://pointviewschoolroom3.blogspot.co.nz/
This blog is also a great example to model to a class of students. Although created by and for a year three classroom, the feel and look of the blog would work for younger students, perhaps stage one due to the bright theme and larger writing. One aspect that stood out to me as an important point to model was the link provided to a class created online safety and blog guideline page. This is a key prerequisite to any online sharing tool, so it is wonderful to see it included on this blog.
Mathematics games ideas: