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Hi, my name is Lis and this is my first post on Global Teacher.  I am new to the world of blogging and gave myself a crash course over the summer holidays and then set up a blog for my Grade 3/4  class this year: (The Think Tank).

So far it has been a blast… are some tips that I have come up with already and could be useful for those new to blogging…

  • Really think about the purpose of your blog, is it to inform parents, a place to put resources for children, homework support, a place for reflection or an alternative space for children to post their homework?  Mine is a combination of reflection/resources and a place to show parents what is happening at school. It is actually evolving as I learn more and the purpose becomes broader!
  • Don’t try and do it all at once…start small,  That way you are not overwhelmed and can start adding a few fancy bits when you get the hang of things.
  • Make your blog a place the children visit frequently and want to visit.  I am really encouraging them to reflect regularly.  I include time during the week for them to reflect either on their week or a particular task.  I often ask a small group to blog as part of a computer task,  literacy or maths rotation.
  • Teach specific skills for blogging and highlight things you add to the blog.  In our lab time I start each session with a visit to our blog and I highlight terrific comments the children have made and we discuss why they are good.  I also  model how to write a comment.  Their latest comments about teasing highlight how they are really starting  to understand how to make comments back to each other.  I purposely did not comment this time so that they could take the lead.
  • I have each comment emailed to me – and make sure I approve the first comment they make.   I firmly  believe that their spelling should be correct because it is in a public space …the children are working on it, but in the meantime I edit each post (This can be an  onerous task , but I try and only have small groups blogging each day – and have been managing quite successfully).
  • The blog is a great place to give individual feedback.  I try to write back to each child (or a group of children if the comments are similar)  every time they comment.  It sounds like a lot of work, but I do it at the end of the day usually and have managed to fit it into my day.
  • I have photographed some of their work and put it on the blog.  The children scream with excitement when they see it and I have had such lovely positive comments from parents.  The children think I make the slideshows myself!!  I am debunking the myth… I have used slide and photobucket to do this – two really easy free web based programs to use.

I hope this helps those who are just starting out!  I would encourage everyone to give  it a go. I am quite amazed by the positive responses I have been getting from the whole school community and what a powerful learning tool the blog can be.  I have also learnt so much invaluable information  about individual children through their comments….