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: www.r18moomba.globalstudent.org.au (The Think Tank).
So far it has been a blast…..here 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….