Category Archives: Blogging

Two Great Ways To Improve Blogging In The Elementary Classroom

1. Edublog’s Student Blogging Challenge

http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/

This is a 10 week challenge facilitated by Edublogs and is designed to improve the quality of your student’s blog postings, give a framework for leaving quality comments and offer an opportunity for students to connect with other students from around the world.

The challenge occurs twice a year in September and March.

Steps to participate:

  • Register your intent to participate.
    • Classes register here
    • Students register here
  • Register your email address with Edublogs here so you can receive weekly blogging challenges directly to your (or your students) inbox.
    • You can do this by entering your email address in the top right hand corner of the Student Blogging Challenge website under the heading, ‘Subscribe For Free.’

Students who use class blogs (teachers blog) are just as welcome as well as those who have individual blogs.

2. Quadblogging

http://quadblogging.net/

Quadblogging is designed to increase the amount of traffic to your student’s blogs, enabling them to write for a wider audience.  It also enables students to connect with teachers and students from around the world.  Opportunities like these really open up your classroom to global perspectives.

Steps to participate:

  • Sign up here.
  • Keep up with tweets @Quadblogging.
  • If you choose to lead a quad, then once you have been assigned your group, you will need to contact the other three schools and arrange a start date.
  • If you choose not to lead a group, once you been assigned a blog, wait for the quad leader to contact you.
I share the following two documents with my students which are designed to improve their blogging and commenting skills.  You may find them helpful with your students:
I Can Statements: Blogging
I Can Statements: Commenting

 

If you chose to take part, then please feel free to let me know how the project(s) went for you.  Also, if you are aware of any similar projects please leave a message in the comments section.

Two Ways To Engage In Creative Writing

 

1. The Progressive Story Project:  My teaching partner, @missbartel, stumbled upon this project last year.  Both our grade 5/6 classes participated with enthusiasm in the spring, and engagement levels were high throughout.  The Progressive Story Project was developed by Karen Ditzler, an instructional technology specialist, from Pennsylvania USA.  Groups of 5 classes, in schools around the world, work together to write a complete story.  Here’s how the project works:

  • The first class brainstorms and writes the intro paragraph(s).
  • Then the next class reads the paragraph(s), brainstorms and decides how they want to continue the story.
  • This will continue until the last class on the list writes the ending and gives the story a title.
  • Classes can edit their section of the story on the Wiki.
  • Once your class has finished the writing part, students can choose scenes to illustrate from their writing.
  • Once all illustrations have been submitted, a VoiceThread is created of the entire story.
This is a link to the story my grade 5/6 class created last spring.

 

2. QuadBlogging:  The primary goal of QuadBlogging is to increase the flow of traffic to a class blog or a number of student blogs in a particular class.  The project creates opportunities for classes, in different school across the globe, to develop their blogging and commenting skills.  If you are familiar with the Twitter hashtag #comment4kids, then QuadBlogging achieves a similar outcome but in a more formal way.  Here’s how the project works:

  • School A becomes the focus school for an entire school week
  • Schools B, C, D spend the week visiting school A’s blog(s), leaving comments and interacting with the content of the blog(s)
  • In the second week of the project, school B becomes the focus school
  • Schools A, C, D spend the week visiting school B’s blog(s), leaving comments and interacting with the content of the blog(s)
  • During the third week of the project, school C becomes the focus school for the week
  • Schools A, B, D spend the week visiting school C’s blog(s), leaving comments and interacting with the content of the blog(s)
  • The cycle continues until all schools have had the opportunity to be the focus school.
If you are aware of other ongoing projects, which attempt to connect teachers and students across the globe please feel free to add a link and the title of the project in the comment section below.

iPad + Blogsy: A Match Made In Heaven

Updating your WordPress.com blog on your iPad, while travelling, has never been easier with Blogsy. There are many applications you can use to manage your blog on the go including, WordPress, Blogpress, Evernote, but I really like Blogsy and its ease of use.

Before you begin blogging, you will need to purchase some additional hardware if you fo not plan to use the iPad’s built-in video and camera. If you have an additional camera you use to take pictures for your blog, or a video camera with more options you’ll need to purchase the Apple iPad Camera Connect Kit. This allows you to connect an external micro SD card or a USB device to your iPad. Once you connect the camera kit, the iPad will automatically import all video and images based on your preferences. It’s as simple as that. Once your media is stored on the iPad, you are ready to blog. It is also possible to add media via cloud picture albums such as Picasa Web Albums and Flickr without the camera connect kit. I’ll explain this later.

Once all the media (pictures and video) which you intend to use in your blog posting has been transferred to the iPad you can begin to interact with Blogsy. Before you create your first blog you will need to customize Blogsy. It doesn’t mater which of the three main blogging platforms you use, WordPress, Blogger, or Posterous. You will be able to use Blogsy’s easy to use interface to post content to your blog. Here is a useful video that explains how to complete Blogsy’s ont-time set up for your blogging platform:
 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WAXGmnyEP8&w=640&h=390]

 
Assuming, when about to blog on the go, that you don’t have access to cloud photo albums, Flickr and Picasa Web Albums, you will to transfer media (both still pictures and video) from your SD card to your iPad. This short video explains how to do this with the aid of Apple’s Camera Connect Kit:
 

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/28025151 w=640&h=360]

 
Once you have transfered all your media to the iPad, you can write your post in full and publish to your favourite blogging platform. This short video explains how to add media to your post, apply appropriate categories and tags, and publish to the Internet:
 

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/28025151 w=640&h=360]

 
I recently created a blog on the iPad using Blogsy. It’s as easy to blog on the iPad as it is on a laptop or desktop. By clicking on the link you can see the quality and variety of the postings on my summer cycle tour along northwestern coast of the U.S.A. All posts were created and published on the iPad.

10 Benefits Of Online Writing:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvPZtTej0jQ]

1. Learners are now writing for an audience rather than their teacher

2. Writing is easier to edit online which reduces some frustrations in the writing process

3. Work is located in one place and can be accessed to mark and assess from anywhere with an Internet connection

4. You’ll be preparing your learners for life in a digital world

5. It fosters a collaborative environment

6. Double whammy: Your learners will be reading and writing simultaneously

7. Opens the opportunity for learners to discuss topics outside of the classroom

8. Every person has an equal opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions

9. Learners have space to reflect and be reflective with one another

10. Provides opportunities for learners to interact, network, and conference with knowledgeable individuals or specialists from around the world