Monday, May 28, 2007


How do busy classroom teachers get time to facilitate a class blog?

Our cluster is marvelling at the relevance and diversity of blogging for learning but not many have really begun this in earnest in their classrooms.

Rachel, Jody, Tom, Allanah et al - How do you manage it? What did you have to do to get started?

Nga Tii Roa Cluster members - What are the barriers?

I suspect most will say "Time" yet if this is a rich, real and relevant tool to motivate, engage and learn with, why hasn't it been given the time it deserves?

I would love to find out and perhaps help to get our class blogs off the ground and into the hands of our learners.


Lorraine said...
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Lorraine said...

Friday morning: Whole group shared writing via the data projector or IWB, directly into the class blog. Discuss and Write e.g."This Week's Highlights"

When finished students then work in pairs to comment on the article. Rule: Nothing is to be added to the comment box until both agree, (Encourage talk first)

Individual Activity: Students then go into their own indivudal blogs accessed from the class blog's student list and write on a given topic e.g. My greatest learning this week....

This process could be adpated to focus on Poetry, Inquiry, values, HoM, Book Reviews etc.

Would it work for you?

Lorraine said...

Just as reading books helps us to become authors, and admiring art helps us to discern it, nothing helps a blogger better than reading other peoples' blogs. This is a good reading activity for your students.

Check out other blogs from classes with a similar age group as your students. In class blogmeister this can be easy if you link them under the Related Links tool to the right hand side.

Once your students are familiar with posting comments as susggested below, they can go in and add their own comments to the blogs they peruse....

Moturoa said...

How do I find the time?

I make the time.

Blogging engages children to write- they have an audience, they get feedback from an authentic audience, they strive to write well and often, to attract a readership.

A couple of years ago I remember striving to have children create an impact grabbing first sentence for stories that pretty much only myself and my class would ever read. Now they understand the need to do that- to grab a reader through the title of the blog post.

I thrive on ambiguity! I juggle!

Not everyone in the class will be doing the same thing at the same time- a pair will be blogging, a trio will be preparing a podcast, a group will be reading on line, two will be listening to podcasts- all while I am teaching a small reading group.

I have to let it go and realise that sometimes someone misses on something else while they are blogging or whatever.

Practically I started by blogging myself so I would know what to do if kids got stuck.

Then I taught a couple of sessions to the whole class using the data projector. Some kids picked it up really easily and found they had a talent for ICT. These ones became my mentors for others less confident. And then blogging fever catches on and we are away.

Kids nag their parents into buying a computer, then they blog from home, they start their own blog. It grows into a community of people supporting each other through blogging- those supporters need not be the child at the next desk but a child in Missouri who shares an enthusiasm for go-karting, bionicals, army men or making pom poms!

I think the commenting thing is what makes blogging so great. I know that many people 'lurk' on our blogs and podcasts- our stats tell us that but not as many as we would like leave us a comment. I comment is proof that what we are writing is being read!

I facilitate sessions with parents in out of school hours so they can blog or at least support their children to become better bloggers.

The whole thing starts small and grows as the network develops over time. The feedback I personally get from blogging is also great as my network of people that I can turn to grows. My network is not particularly with teachers in NZ but all over the place. Other teachers who share the passion for learning through ICT.

I leave comments on people's blogs as well so that people know that they are being read- we learn from each other!

WOW- that was a long answer- and now I have spelling tests to mark!

Allanah K

Lorraine said...

Awesome answer Allanah. Your students are very lucky to have such a passionate teacher, one who embraces their world. Thanks heaps for sharing your practice. I know it will be read by others and hopefully your experience will encourage others to visualise their own options. Fingers crossed, your determination will help make "Shift happen".

I am impatient. It does take time yet don't accept lack of time as an excuse when children's learning can be so switched on and personalised via this tool.

Best wishes

Mr Harrington said...

Hi Lorraine, I agree Allanah's work is truly awesome, she manages her class and her links around the globe with consumate professionalism and good humour...
Paul Harrington - friend and collaborator with Moturoa Class and Miss K

Lorraine said...

Hi Paul. I see Allanah has yet another fan :-) Thanks for stopping by...

Jody Hayes said...

How do Voyagers find the time to blog? It is part of our planned day ... and I accept that any plan can go out the window. Just as every week literacy is planned - blogging READING and blog WRITING is a planned part of the literacy time in our class.

I have had Tom's lovely Year 5 & 6 as 'blog buddies' which helps them hone their skills, get to know my little people and helps my children how to log on/off etc with 1:1 support. This is 'buddy' help with a real purpose and it has had the spin off of my children getting to know the older children at our school so they aren't just a big, scary Year5 or 6.

I think blogging is like anything new in your teaching ... a shift is made in how you teach and learn. Yes ... teachers who are learners... I believe they are the one who become bloggers. Web 2.0 is all about a community, sharing with one another. I have had Tom right along side for all my blogging journey - nutting out blips, celebrating successes, talking through frustrations, reflecting etc, etc, etc. A 'critical' and practical friend. That helps. Teachers supporting teachers. Sharing and supporting.

So ... after this long winded response. I don't 'fit' blogging in ... I believe it is an integral part of Voyagers learning journey.

Tom Sheehan said...

And now that I am a principal I am starting the process all over again.

For me blogging has become an essential part of learning in the 21st century.

I have been blogging with a class since February 2005. Yes there is much to learn - I remembered just how much when we had our first teachers blogging PD today. There is no rush. We have started with text only blogs and as teachers' confidence develops we will add on the next skills.

As far as fitting blogging into the classroom routine - I had bloggers timetabled in for after play and after lunch daily.(5 macs in class) Everyone had at least one formal opportunity to blog once a week. Other times when there were machines available children would ask if they could blog. Following an event with lots to blog about we would make a temporary timetable on the board and work our way through the list.

Using Flock to blog pictures was very powerful and easy for children to use. For podcasts and movies I did the uploading and linking - the children did most of the making !

Most of all it is allowing the children to write, write, write, read, read, read and learn, learn, learn !

Lorraine - you are doing a grand job - your blog is a must read when I see a new article in my bloglines account.


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