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Monday, November 19, 2012

What's Your Purpose?


First Things First – What’s Your Purpose?
Before you start registering domain names or searching the web for graphics, take some time to think about the purpose of your blog.  Is it going to be a blog where you share your daily adventures?  Is it going to be a showcase for your classroom projects? There is no “wrong” purpose, but each purpose can influence how you go about setting up your blog.  By knowing your starting point of your blog to accomplish in the beginning, you can then determine how and where you will begin.  It is okay to change direction once your blog gets going.

Options for Blogging:
Blogger  
Easy to set-up and use, Blogger, Google’s version of a blogging platform, is also a popular education blog site.  Users pick from a variety of templates or upload their own and can begin blogging in a relatively short amount of time.  Just as each teacher is unique, so too will each teaching blog be different.  Look at your favorite teaching blogs and see where and how they are hosted.  Peek at the bottom of the page to see who designed the template and then check out their site.  Find one blog that you admire and start planning out a wireframe of what your blog will look like.  Take it one step at a time.  Even if it means that the only thing you do today is think of a name for your blog.  It is a step in the right direction.
  • RWLD: Readings, Watchings, Listenings, Doings. When using a blog as your communication form this is multimedia  design and you want to grab your readers attention and engage them into what they are reading.  This might be from adding YouTube Videos, current News from Cresco Times, and etc.  Engage your students with what's happening in your class but have them always thirsting for more information. 
  • Using Photos:  It is so important to remember that even if parents sign a waiver saying they are okay with their child’s image being on the class blog, they may not quite understand what that means.  Not only does it mean that they can see pictures of little Billy, but so too can everyone from the Jones’ family, the Smith family, etc.  If you really feel the need to include children’s pictures, try to get shots that do not show their faces directly.  Safety has to be your number one priority.

Check out some example of Blogs to get some ides for your direction:

http://mrcsclassblog.blogspot.com/

http://mravery.edublogs.org/

http://tucheksecondgrade.blogspot.com/

http://3bblognews.blogspot.com/

http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/

http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/

Kidblog is a wonderful resource for student blogging. According to Kidblog's website, kidblog.org "is designed for elementary and middle school teachers who want to provide each student with their own, unique blog. Kidblog's simple, yet powerful tools allow students to publish posts and participate in discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs."  Kidblog has several advantages over other blogging sites:

  • Teachers can create a class blog, and add student accounts without needing student email accounts.
  • Students have their own unique blogging space. They can create posts and comment on other students' posts.
  • Teachers have control over approving students' posts and comments before they are published to the blog.
  • The site is secure. Students must login to read posts and write comments.
  • There are no ads on this site.
  • There's an KidBlog App
Check out additional video resources for setting up your KidBlog account:

Adding Students to your Class:
http://screencast.com/t/NTNmM2E1ODgt


Privacy Settings:
http://screencast.com/t/ZGRiYWY5ZWM


Student View: Write a blog entry
http://screencast.com/t/NTE0MDk4MG


Teacher View: Approving Student Posts
http://screencast.com/t/ZTNjYjll


Students View: Writing Comments
http://screencast.com/t/NmViYTJhMmY


Teacher View: Approving Student Posts and Posting a Private Comment on a Student Blog
http://screencast.com/t/ODM5OGQ1NGY


How to Bulk Upload Users to Your Blog
http://screencast.com/t/5Q7kF2uUzS


How to Embed Widgets into Your Blog Posts
http://screencast.com/t/72L3CqJF4v



Another great tool if you are using blogs in your classroom is: Assessment the Web 2.0 Way! Check out this wonderful resource filled with checklist, rubrics, response scoring sheets.


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