John Miller

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Jan 112013
 

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Blogging makes a difference in a student’s education. It’s the most important change I’ve made in my teaching career. Through this workshop, I want to encourage you to take up blogging with your class and for your students while integrating  Common Core State Standards.

We will address reasons why you should blog and tackle potential obstacles that you may need to overcome. We’ll look at two platforms that you might consider and I’ll offer the advantages and disadvantages of each.

We will also share strategies for getting your student voices heard around the globe and for getting visits to your class blog.

Common Core + Blogging Connection

Cyber Safety and Privacy

  • Teach your students to be safe while on the Internet.
  • Check with your school district on policies for displaying student work and images online.  I get parent permission before issuing student blogs and for placing images of students on my site.
  • Students blog using first names only, or with “avatar” names.
  • Images never identify individual students.
  • Use an RSS reader to track student postings. I love the fact that my students blog about their lives, but I always visit each new post to check to see that in does not give away personal information.
  • All comments on student blogs are moderated by me. Nothing is published without my approval.

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Motivation and Confidence

  1. Select blog prompts that inspire creative thinking and action. Provide choices when possible.
  2. Incorporate multimedia elements within posts. Videos, slideshows, podcasts, posters, presentations, forms and surveys make for interesting viewing.
  3. Promote well written posts and use as models. Praise, praise, praise.
  4. Don’t emphasize perfection.
  5. Students are writing for an authentic audience. No student looks forward to being judged solely by their teacher.
  6. Let your students take control of their blogs, but build in limits to avoid “over saturation.”
  7. Put a map widget on your blog, or use pins in a wall map to track your comments. This is a huge motivator and a wonderful geography lesson.
  8. Promote blogging as alternative assignments for other core classes. Other teachers generally love the idea of reading a student blog post instead of a handwritten paper. Don’t you?
  9. Students are building a very real and very public portfolio of their work for a potentially large audience. Encourage them to share their work with extended family and friends.

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Connect

Connect globally and connect often to establish relationships that continue from one term to the next. As a North American, I use blogs in New Zealand and Australia to showcase quality posts when I begin my year.

Visit class and student blogs regularly and comment. A good place to begin is by visiting my recommended blogs below. Leave a comment, but also check out each site’s blogroll for a list of other classes to visit.

Try “Quadblogging.” Team up with three other schools around the globe, visit and interact with each other’s blog over the course of several weeks.

Consider using Skype or Google+ for videoconferencing with your blog buddies. Connecting your students globally is a must. It is also provides a tremendous boost of energy and support for you as new friends are made.

Resources

Outstanding Examples