Friday, July 8, 2011

Blogs in the Classroom

I am somewhat familiar with using blogs in the classroom already.  I teach third grade and last year was my first year to have a classroom blog.  However, as I am learning more about blogs, I did not use it to its fullest potential.  I mainly used it to keep family and friends updated on certain happenings in the classroom.  I would also post special projects (for example Power Points) and pictures.  Each week, I would have two students write down on an index card what they would like to share on our blog.  I would then type in what they wrote, have them read what I typed, and okay it or add more before I posted it.  This was my first experience with blogs so I plan to improve upon the use of it this coming year.  I plan to keep up the classroom blog but want to turn more of the responsibility over to my students.

I also plan to have a blog for each of my students.  I will use the blogs for their journal prompt responses that we do each week.  I hope this will motivate my students to produce quality answers instead of writing down brief and inadequate answers.  This will also be an easy way for me to comment and respond to their responses.  I will also require them to read and respond to a certain number of their classmates’ posts.  I hope that by opening this up to parents that they will also participate in responding to several of the students' posts.  Eventually, I want to expand the use of the blogs for their writing too.  By using the blogs for the journal prompts and their writing, it will give my students an authentic audience and the interaction will give them a purpose as they write.


  1. I taught third grade for a few years. This seems like an appropriate way for them to begin blogging. Third graders often need a lot of support with activities like this before they become independent. I found that a challenge with my students was their keyboarding skills. It took them a long time to formulate a response on the keyboard. Have you found this to be an issue with younger students? It seems like having the students write it on an index card is a great way to help them contribute to the blog without keyboarding getting in the way.

  2. Hi, Daneen—Thanks for posting that link to last years’ blog. Your class looks challenging and fun! It looks like your students have a great time with you and they’re all so cute. I especially like your science fiction assignment. I think using individual blogs as part of a journal response in your class this year will be a great addition. Students definitely get a lot out of their on-line writing experiences. Have you noticed a difference in the quality of their work when they know they are going to be published online, or do you think improvement mostly stems from the process of drafting and revising? (I’ve heard good teachers argue both points, just wondering what you think!)

    P.S. If your school doesn't supply your students with an e-mail address automatically, is a good, free service that will give them what they need in order to sign up for a blog acount. But then again maybe you know of a better option? I'm always looking for a good tip.

  3. I like your idea of using the blog for journal writing. I teach fourth grade and, like you, I used blogging very generally with my students last year and not very effectively. After reading about what all I can do with blogs in the classroom I believe it will be beneficial in making students more critical and detailed in their writing. I think having students write their resonse before going to the computer will help them get the assignments done quicker. I know I have limited time to spend in the computer lab to allow time to type. I am thinking about assigning students days to use the classroom computer to write their response and therefore they know which day they must have their prewrite finished. Good luck with your idea!

  4. Response to Daneen Hanson

    Having a blog for each student sounds like a great idea. I am not very familiar with blogs, but it sounds like a great way to communicate with each of the students and their parents. I suspect that doing so, however, could be challenging depending on the demographics of the student population in your class. More specifically, your idea could be a problem for students that cannot afford to have a computer. I am sure that with some creativity it would be possible to ensure that these students could benefit using some sort of adapted plan.

    Thanks for your posting.

  5. Hi. This is Byron Early from your Walden class. I don’t know if I'm using this blog right, but i hope I am. I really think that your incorporation of blogs in your classroom instruction is a great idea. Some challenges you may face in the classroom with this incorporation may be students using spell checks on the computer to correct their misspelled words. This may cripple students when they actually free write on actual paper or a standardized test. I feel some restrictions should be put on students using spell checks on the computer to help them rely on their own understanding of how words are spelled.

  6. kflint:
    I do find keyboarding can be an issue since they are still learning. As I look at ways to incorporate the blog efficiently, I probably will still have them write it first - like on the index card before they type it. This way they can get their ideas down and concentrate on the keyboarding to get it posted. I hope that this will help. Thanks for the insight!

    I feel that both posting online and working on drafting and revising are important for students to produce quality work. Posting online gives them an authentic audience but they still need to know how to draft and revise their work as they produce it. Thank you for the email tip. I will have to check into it.