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Classroom Blogs. What Are They Good For?

Posted on: October 27, 2012

Classroom blogs.   What are they good for?  Classroom blogs provide a way for students and their families to stay connected with their school.  They provide a way to not only share information about assignments and events, but they also provide a place for showcasing student work and student progress.  This can do wonders for a student’s self confidence.  And, many students are far more comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions through a computer screen than they are face-to-face.  As teachers, we are tasked with doing whatever it takes to make our students successful.  This begins with getting to know them and how they learn.  They live and learn in a digital world.  Why wouldn’t we teach in one?
Check out this elementary classroom blog in British Columbia, Canada at – http://classroom2kids.edublogs.org/.  This site, “Classroom2Kids Reading, Writing, and Blogging” has a wealth of information to keep students and parents up to date with class happenings and provides wonderful ideas and resources for fellow educators.  The purpose of this blog is to share information, introduce students to blogging, provide fun activities for the students through a variety of links, and share book reviews.  The blog has surveys and polls.  This second grade class has an apparent love of science and nature and is described as a “Living Classroom.”  Their class pets definitely liven up the classroom!  One of their ongoing projects is Monty Moose.  http://www.teacherwebshelf.com/canozconnection/montymoose/montymainpage.htm
If you’re familiar with the concept of “Flat Stanley”, then you’ll understand Monty Moose.    This moose goes home with students who then write about his adventures.  Additionally, the moose is shared internationally with a “pen pal” class.  This is a great way for teachers to form professional relationships and exchange ideas globally.  Students learn about different cultures and form friendships through email and blog exchanges with their new “adopted” class.  Not only will you find science & nature, Monty Moose’s globetrotting adventures, but you can also explore your artistic side at http://classroom2kids.edublogs.org/fun-art/.  Here are interactive games promoting visual arts and music!  Mrs. Boekhout’s creation of her Classroom2kids blog has something for everyone!  Children are actively engaged in educational activities, parents are kept informed, and teachers have been given an excellent model for creating their own blog along with a plethora of teaching suggestions for their own classrooms!
I found this great middle school blog, “Eagles Write:  Our Journey into the Clouds” at http://eagleswrite.edublogs.org/.  What’s unique about this blog is that it is from a small, rural school on a reservation in Washington State.  This provides an excellent opportunity to promote diversity and tolerance.  As the teacher, encouraging students to interact on this site allows them to see the world from a different perspective.  Another great feature about this blog is its emphasis on appropriate digital citizenship.  The guidelines link, found at: http://eagleswrite.edublogs.org/guidelines/ gives students (and visitors) internet safety information, blog etiquette, rules and expectations.  In our efforts, as educators, to prepare students to be responsible citizens, in today’s world, that includes responsible digital citizenship.  Also on this blog, you will find links for families at http://eagleswrite.edublogs.org/family/.  This introduces families to the concept of blogging and encourages them to join in.  This is an excellent way to make the connection from home to school.  Here’s another post on the Eagles Write blog I found interesting:  http://eagleswrite.edublogs.org/2012/06/08/book-talk-hunger-games/.  Here you’ll see one of the students in a brief video discussing her favorite book and even reading a passage from it.  When students share their love of reading, other students are more likely to join in.  This could lead to online book clubs for students with similar reading tastes.
When looking for high school classroom blogs, I found http://dbrosius.edublogs.org/.  D. Brosius’ Virtual Classroom is a blog for high school English classes.  The purpose of this blog is to keep the class organized and informed in this paperless class.  The teacher provides descriptive details for course information, assignments and projects, study guides, a class discussion forum, and links to supporting websites.  The teachers posts weekly and offers a brief summary of what was accomplished and offers encouragement to her students.  She’s even created a space for “Shout Outs” at http://dbrosius.edublogs.org/what-you-should-know-about-me/.  On this one, students are listing what college they plan to attend.  I also like how the teacher has chosen to introduce herself http://dbrosius.edublogs.org/what-you-should-know-about-me/ .  I think you get a really good idea of her character, philosophy, and expectations in a unique way relevant to the course content.
Personally, I plan to share these blogs with my students, our future generation of educators.  In their senior year of high school and interning in elementary, middle, and high school classes, my students are eager to learn more about teaching and about how children learn.  I plan to encourage them to join in and comment on classroom blogs that correlate with the grade level/subject matter in which they currently intern.  I’ll also share them with their mentor teachers.  Maybe together my students and their mentors will  decide to create a classroom blog of their class!  What an excellent opportunity for us to collaborate and exchange teaching ideas!

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5 Responses to "Classroom Blogs. What Are They Good For?"

Hello Mrs. Palmer,
Thank you for all your positive comments! It has been an exciting journey, developing a Classroom Blog. One of the best parts is when we have extended family visitors who tell us how much they enjoy “sharing” our school activities. Once we even had an Uncle, living in China, write a comment in Chinese. I used Google translator to find out that he was complimenting his niece by saying “Keep up the good work!”. Good luck on your own blog. The more blogs you visit, the more great ideas you will get!
🙂 from Mrs. Boekhout
http://www.teacherwebshelf.com

Thanks for the encouragement, Mrs. Boekhout. I’ll be following you and your class for inspiration. – Melissa

Melissa, Thanks for finding our class blog and providing such a kind review. I’ve shared your information on the primary blog with my primary teachers, because it is a wonderful example of how a primary blog can inform the community and families of the progress and activities within the classroom.

I’m glad you will be sharing teacher blogs with your interning students and their mentors; I’m sure they can offer some suggestions themselves based on their experiences. That is the wonderful aspect of blogging — joining the dialogue and extending the conversation.

I look forward to learning more from you in your future posts.

Thanks again, Sheri Edwards

I’m so glad you found something helpful to share with the primary teachers, Sheri! Thank you for your comment and for helping me get started on my own blogging journey. – Melissa

I enjoyed reading all of your classroom blog reviews! One item that you mentioned which stood out to me the most was how the middle school classroom blog included information about “internet safety information, blog etiquette, rules and expectations.” I actually had not seen that in any of the classroom blogs I visited, yet I think it is such a wonderful addition to a classroom blog, especially since students really do need lessons on those issues. Thank you for highlighting this factor of the middle school blog because I have made a note to myself that if I do create a classroom blog in the future, I will be sure to include the necessary facts of internet safety and my personal expectations for my students as they post on my blog.

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