Friday, October 14, 2016

Blogging in the Classroom

This week's showcase tech project is about blogging in the classroom.  Hannah Thorpe, a 4th-grade teacher at Rutland Town School, came to me at the beginning of the year to set up a class blog so her students could practice writing.  I looked around at various blogging platforms, some free, some paid, and ultimately settled on using blogger.  We are Google Apps for Education schools, and so it made sense to utilize the tools already available to us.  Also, we are currently using blogger in our middle & high schools for Personalized Learning Plans, but Miss Thorpe wanted to utilize one blog instead of each student having his or her own blogs, so we set up a basic blogger and added all the students as authors. An author only has permission to create posts, so the students cannot change the privacy setting or add/delete admins or other authors. We also changed the privacy settings so the blog is not listed in blogger or google searches.  This allows Miss Thorpe to share the blog link with parents without worrying about anyone else reading their blog.

Why set up a class blog?

Using the blog allows students to practice typing skills as well as the ability to share their work with their classmates to get peer feedback. It also allows them the time to practice proper digital citizenship behavior.  Today, our students cannot avoid having a digital footprint, especially when they become active members of society.  We need to teach them at school how to create the best possible digital footprint and a blog is a great place to start.   "I think it is important that kids feel confident in their work and to publish it themselves," Miss Thorpe added.  Plus, she says. that a 4th Grade Common Core requirement is to have them publish their work and use multimedia to present in different ways.  Miss Thorpe is currently using the blog to allow students to type up their different writing pieces.  Most recently they posted their opinion piece about whether or not parents should be punished if their kids behave badly in school.

This project taps into the following standards:

ISTE Standards for Students:

  • 1a Empowered Learner - use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
  • 2b Digital Citizen - cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.
Vermont Transferrable Skills:
  • 1a Clear and Effective Communication - Use technology to further enhance and disseminate communication
  • 1g Clear and Effective Communication - Collaborate effectively and respectfully
  • 5f Responsible and Involved Citizenship - Practice responsible digital citizenship
Common Core 4th-Grade Standards
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. (Soon the class will also hit other CC ELA Standards as they explore different types of writing styles)
To get started, head over to Blogger.com in your school's google apps domain and create class blog!



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