As a classroom teacher, I was always looking for ways to make learning authentic and meaningful for my students. I had the over eager writers, always, who wrote pages and pages of stories. But, I also had the non-motivated writers. Those were the kiddos I was lucky if I could get a page, much less multiple ones. I know we all have had this problem as educators. I knew I was missing the boat somewhere. That’s when I stumbled upon student classroom blogging.
I used the blogging tool, Kidblog. At the time it was a free resource, that allowed me to set up a classroom account with individual student members. The students loved the idea they could design their own blog page. At first, I used as a reflective tool. An exit ticket, so say. But then it developed into so much more. I had students writing book reviews, writing to prompts, creating their own stories without me even asking them to! Eventually they started responding to each other’s posts. Such learning and thinking about learning happening in the classroom! Then the opportunity to connect with other classrooms developed and there was no turning back! Kidblog also allowed me to share the access code with our parents. They could now view the learning taking place in our classroom! (I added my administrator as a student to our class, and imagine the amazement when she would respond to student posts!!)
What I really liked about this tool was the option to set preferences that I had to approve all posts and comments before they would be posted to our classroom page and/or student pages. This helped keep appropriateness in check and allowed me to use this tool for both formative and summative assessment purposes because I could get original answers/posts from students without their peers’ posts influencing them.
I will say, I tried not to use for grading purposes. I wanted the kids to LOVE this form of authentic writing and for some, the grading aspect could have a negative effect on their effort and quality of posts. Kidblog does now charge after a certain amount of posts, and offers fantastic “bells and whistles” with the very reasonable updated price. There are many other blogging tools available for educator/student use that will offer the same learning experience as Kidblog. You can view them here from a recent presentation I facilitated.
As a professional educator, blogging has been equally effective in developing my understanding and “teacher toolbox” as it was for my students. Through the blogging tool associated with Google, Blogger, I created a blog that I coedited with my building administrator, with the purpose of sharing tools and strategies/ideas to bring our building into the 21st Century learning mindset. TEAMingUp4Tech was my 1st dip into the professional blogging pool! (Since I no longer have an account within that school district, I am no longer viewed as a contributor to the blog. However, if you look closely, all the posts with “author unknown” is yours truly:) Here is a TEAMingUp4Tech post I created on blogging with additional blogging resources: Blogging: Connecting in the 21st Century
This blog, which I use as my weekly newsletter to teachers of the Mexico Public School District, is created using the blogging tool, Edublogs. It is an awesome free tool, but allows for more “bells and whistles” with the updated version. Here, I am able to import videos, images, hyperlinks, and text (as with the others). The only reason I didn’t use one of the above mentioned blogging tools, is because I wanted to try something different. They have all been great and such a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and resources with others!
There are many resources out there to help you get started whether for your classroom/student use or professional use. You could even create a personal blog to share what’s happening with you or your family. Blogging is such a powerful and popular form of sharing information and resources with the public. If you really pay attention, most of the resources you may pin on Pinterest, share on Facebook, Twitter , and G+, probably come from a blog post. Others are blogging, why aren’t you?
Share any ideas or ways you have used blogging in your personal/professional environment. You never know, your idea could spark someone else’s creative genius!
- Professional Blogs I Follow
- 50 Uses for Classroom Blogs
- Examples of Classroom Blogs (by grade level and content area)
- My Pinterest Blogging Board