How will I start blogging with my students?

Class photo
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Anna M via Compfight

So you have spent many hours of your holidays or evenings getting your blog ready, even maybe taking part in the refresher course. You are overloaded with information and new terminology.

But how are you going to start blogging with your students?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Start with paper bloggingHere is a post explaining how to do this. A video of grade 3 students doing paper blogging.
  • Why not create a bulletin board in the classroom explaining the terminology (check glossary in this blog header area) and adding the paper blogs in the post area.
  • Talk to students about creating safe, secure passwords. This blog post includes some videos for students to watch on passwords.
  • Check out how this teacher begins blogging with her class – great list of student friendly blogs to discuss.

In class meetings, discuss:

  • blog title and tagline
  • blogging guidelines – create page on your blog so parents also understand – link to post about guidelines
  • quality comments – show Mrs Yollis’ video by her students and check out how she teaches quality commenting – video at bottom of this post
  • ideas for posts
  • monitors for blogging – eg class photographer, class reporters

So far, all this has been done before students even write on your class blog.

Have students leave comments on your posts without having logged in. This will help when they leave comments on other blogging platforms such as blogger, wordpress and kidblogs. Talk about their email address, the anti-spam word, how to change the anti-spam or captcha if they can’t read it.

Now teach them how to login, update their profile and change their password.

Have lots of posts for students to leave quality comments on. Allow them to visit other blogs on your sidebar to leave comments on those blog posts.

Finally allow those students who are commenting well to start writing posts on the blog – maybe working in pairs to start with.

Any thing else students could do early in their blogging?

Old blog is now new blog

Forward Forward
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Theen Moy via Compfight

Many of you on this new website have had your old blog imported into your new blog here.

There are some things you will still need to do to get your blog looking the same as the old blog.

Theme – if I have had time, I have changed your theme to the old one, but as there are over 220 themes now, many mobile friendly, you might want to look at it and change the theme again for the start of your new blog.

Clustrmap – as you can see on this blog, I have two clustrmaps. A new one for this blog and an image of the map from the old blog. Go to clustrmaps, click on admin and login with your old blog URL eg http://eschoolblogs.org.au/hthomsett and the password they sent you in your first email from clustrmaps. If forgotten, they will send in another email to you. Once into the site, go to statistics and you should see your original map, save it as an image on your computer. Come to your new blog, widgets> image widget> add the image and a title.

Settings – like timezones, taglines, privacy, compfight sizes for images – check in the header area for more details in checking settings on your blog.

Links to useful websites – again if I have had time, I have added these in for you, otherwise it is just a matter of copy and paste from your old blog to new blog dashboard> links> add new  Make sure you have set up your link categories first.

Widgets – these I can’t do for you especially if you originally got them from widgetbox. This company no longer works on widgets so you will have to find other websites for class pets, clocks, calendars, translators etc.  I will be writing a post about these in the future though.

Adding student users – I can now add these in one big batch and will send you a spreadsheet to fill in. Just contact me on my gmail email – see image on sidebar.

My Class in dashboard – if you have students as contributors on your blog, remember to create a class and then you can setup the moderation for posts. I will also be writing a post about moderating posts because Edublogs has added a new thing called reader which you can also use to follow other blogs as well as see pending posts.

New term

“Mixed Media Installation by Peter Liversidge: Hello, 2013 (58 Light bulbs, powder coated steel, motion activated sensor)” / Ingleby Gallery / Art Basel Hong Kong 2013 / SML.20130523.EOSM.03963
Photo Credit: See-ming Lee via Compfight

So it is the beginning of a new term at schools in Tasmania.

How are you going to use your blog this term?

  • Did you write a post welcoming students back and asking for some information about their holidays?
  • Are you going to ask what their goals are for this term? Maybe a post about making SMART goals would be good on your blog.
  • What are the main topics you will be studying this term? Maybe write a post giving a general outline and find out what the students think they already know about each topic.

Are you taking part in some international events between now and the end of the year?

Here is the link to a great Australian calendar showing events you and your class or school could be taking part in over the next few months.

For a fun finish to the year, why not join the Hour of Code during December. Here is a great page with lots of links to coding sites. A way for students to learn programming easily on any device they use. Even a planning page for teachers so you know the day will go right and you wont get stressed.

Blogging help

Help is on the way, elevator, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL.JPG
Photo Credit: Cory Doctorow via Compfight

It is great to see many of our active class bloggers moving their old eschool blog across to our new URL.  Remember to check the pages for setting up your blog. I will be adding more of these over the next couple of weeks once I have edited them to make sure they are up to date.

A few other places to get help:

Edublogs user guide has many pages for different topics such as:

The Edublogger blog written by members of the Edublogs support team includes:

Want to connect with other classes?

Lists of tools or apps to use with your blog

If there is one person who I suggest you follow, it is Richard Byrne who has a fantastic blog called Free Technology for Teachers. He also has some useful guides that can be printed out to use with staff on Google Earth, searching strategies beyond Google, web tools to use. Here is the link to follow him on Facebook.

ISTE – been and gone

A quiet time at blogger’s cafe

Just a quick post about my impressions of #ISTE2014. I will write separate posts about apps/tools to use in your classroom and one about other people to follow either via their blogs or Twitter.

Firstly, transportation in Atlanta was fantastic – hop on the MARTA (train) from the airport and get off at N4 about 50 metres from the hotel I stayed in. Many other participants there including my friend Tracy Watanabe.

The heat – every day was in the late 80F – and high humidity with it. Many of you know I hate the heat so was glad of the air conditioning in the GWCC –Georgia World Congress Centre, where the conference took place.

One of the ISTE graphic designers created an infographic about ISTE by the numbers – check it out here.

I can certainly attest to the crowds. Going from each level of the centre were three escalators – depending on traffic, one up, two down. The bloggers cafe where I sat quite often was down two floors and near the entrance to the expo, so a lot of foot traffic passing by. On the Sunday when the expo opened, it was very stuffy down that level so I found the international lounge instead.

ISTE had a great app to download for your mobile device and had a networking game you could join. You had to find key words around the conference centre, take part in sessions where a secret code would be given at the end, send out tweets from the app, send out instagram photos from the app and most importantly, swap secret codes with other participants.  I was in the top 100 at one stage but then the face to face connecting became more important than swapping codes to me.

Someone very quickly put together a Google document that was a shared document for anyone to add to. This is real collaboration and here is the link to notes people have shared about the different sessions they went to over the 4 days of the conference. Looking at that document you will see Evernote is a favourite way of taking notes easily at a conference.

Lots of poster sessions – many led by students – some from Mexican schools. I took lots of photos of these sessions and scanned lots of QR codes to look at their websites etc once I get home. Each poster session was a theme – Saturday night was global connections and I presented with Tracy Watanabe from Phoenix, Arizona on the student blogging challenge. I will probably write a separate post just on the poster sessions.

Even if you were #notatiste14 you could take part. Sue Waters from Edublogs was curating a flipboard magazine including links from the #ISTE2014 twitter stream. Nearly 900 articles as of publishing this post. At one stage Paula Naugle @plnaugle ran a google hangout with Will Chamberlain – founder of#comments4kids and I suggested bringing in Sue Waters as well – hangout was to talk about blogging of course.

But the most important takeaway from ISTE has been it is all about the students – how can we make them independent and life long learners? There were lots of sessions about the tools and apps but also many about how to use technology in your classroom to improve the learning of your students.

Here is the link to the next ISTE conference in 2015 to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania June 28 – July 1. Maybe you would like to attend and add it into your holidays.

More specific posts coming soon.

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