Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Introducing Your Class to Your Blog

Blogging is a fabulous way to connect with an authentic audience. Like everything else, there is a transition process for learning how.

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Foundations for Blogging

Houses need a sturdy foundation to remain standing. Likewise, blogging needs a sturdy foundation of digital citizenship and quality commenting.

Digital Citizenship

Introducing your class to digital citizenship is the first step. They will learn most of this in the context of blogging. However, setting guidelines is important for safety and netiquette expectations.

Resources

Sqworl

Commenting

When it comes to learning about quality commenting, I turn to Linda Yollis. She teaches us to break commenting into two parts: the content and the editing. Here is a summary of some of their tips:
  • Start with a compliment.
  • Add new information, especially facts.
  • Connect with a personal story of how it's relevant to you.
  • End with a question.
  • Proofread.

Comment Prompt Starters

During one of our Edublogs Blogging Professional Development Classes*, Sandy Rollefstad noticed the comment starters on the Scattergood Biology blog. Based on that idea, here are a few I'd try with various grade levels:
  • This made me think about …
  • This reminds me of …
  • I appreciate that your post ...
  • I feel that we should …
  • I can relate to this because ...
  • Another thing to consider is …
  • What I'm wondering is ...

What if my kids still don't have the prior knowledge to start?

Gina Fraher quickly realized her 3rd grade students didn't have the prior knowledge to successfully start creating quality comments.

Fraher created an assignment to help them analyze quality commenting:


She modeled her expectations with  a real blog post and several comments.

After the students worked on their own for a little bit, they collaborated to share their thoughts and worked through their ideas together.

Their dialogue was amazing, filled with critical thinking. Students asked each other if the topic sentence could also be a compliment? They realized that the conclusion could also be a question. They recognized "Your blog is cool," was not a quality comment, then explained why, and how they'd improve it.

Great examples

Some great examples of quality commenting can be found on these blogs:

Closing thoughts

Blogging should be engaging and fun for the kids. It's important to hook them right from the beginning.  Sue Waters from Edublogs shares great tips on getting your posts and commenting started
  • What are the key "ingredients" to hooking your class on blogging? 
  • How do you introduce your class to your blog? 
  • What does a responsible digital citizen look like?
  • What tips would you recommend for writing quality comments?

*We are aligning our Professional Development classes with the Edublogs Teacher Challenges, which have been an awesome way for us to build PLN within our district and around the globe! 

This post was inspired by all the new bloggers in our district. Thank you for your dedication to creating 21st century learning-centered classrooms!

9 comments:

  1. Dear Tracy,
    I just want to brag about you for a moment to your teachers...

    Dear AJUSD and other Teacher Bloggers reading,
    Tracy is a great example of one who practices what she preaches. She writes meaningful comments on both student and teacher blogs. My students and I have been blessed to have comments left on our blogs by Ms. Watanabe. She leaves compliments, challenges thinking, adds new information, makes the writer of the post feel like a genius, and asks relevant questions to keep the conversation going.

    She is a role model for me as a teacher, and my students are getting to know her as the teacher from Arizona.

    Thank you, Tracy, and best wishes to all you teachers and classes as you enjoy blogging!

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
  2. That was a great post! After reading I feel I could walk into a classroom and jump right into blogging with students. Nicely done.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Denise,

    You are too kind. I learn so much from others, and am blessed by all of you. I'm grateful that I stumbled across the Edublogs Teacher Challenge. From there, I was pointed in the right direction of fabulous people who taught me how, have welcomed all of my newbie questions, and are great examples of how blogging can engage learners and build relationships beyond the walls of the classroom. It's the beauty of being connected in a PLN.

    It's my hope to pass a little bit of what I've been given, on to others.

    Thank you for your thoughtful and heartwarming comment!

    Kind regards,
    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Jon!

    It's a joy to be part of so many wonderful educators' classrooms. It's such an inspiration to see so many amazing educators take off with it because they know how it will engage their learners. It' also fabulous that we are part of a school district whose focus is on creating 21st century learning-centered classrooms. I love being part of our AJUSD family!

    Kind regards,
    Tracy

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  5. Dear Tracy,

    Many thanks for your very clear overview on introducing students to blogging.Your links to writing comments and your comment prompt starters will be most useful!
    The link to Gina Fraher's technique of using colour coding to analyse blog comments will be one that I shall definitely use.
    Thanks again.
    Karen

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  6. Hi Karen,

    Thanks so much for your comment. Gina does such a great job of tiering the steps involved with 221st century learning skills. By breaking each part down and having the color-coded visual representation, the students absorbed their learning so clearly. I was also impressed with how the students discovered there were many "right" answers, which validated their own thinking. Hence, it was a great example of 21st century learning.

    If you give it a try, I'd love to hear how it goes for you.

    Kind regards,
    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dear Mrs. Wantanabe,

    I echo what has been said above! You are a great model for practice what you preach! Not only do you visit other sites, but you always take the time to write quality comments for teachers and students. I remember last year you even sent me a photo for a PhotoPeach math project on our blog! You are a solid member of our global learning community! :-)

    I like Gina Fraher's idea about color coding the comments. That's a good one. We do a more informal evaluation from time to time. The students will rate a comment as a 1-point or 2-point comment using their fingers. Then we discuss what made the comment a 2-pointer and what was missing from the 1-pointers. The mix of writing and discussing will be meaningful to my third graders.

    Thanks for all you do for bloggers!

    Your pal,
    Linda Yollis
    California

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Linda,

    Thank you so much for the kind words! I have learned so much from you. From the first Edublogs Teacher Challenge, you and Sue Wyatt left me encouraging comments that helped give me direction. From there, I continued to visit your blog, and you continued to inspire me through your engaging posts, quality comments, and compassion for others.

    One of the things I appreciate is your ability to make things easy to try. For example, rating the quality of a comment by one or two points. By asking the students to show you on their hands, it's a quick checking for understanding, while also reminding them of the importance of quality. Fabulous!

    Thank you for leading by example. Your passion for blogging shows all around the globe.

    Kind regards,
    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
  9. Tracy,

    I am always so blessed to have your insight and knowledge shared with me. I learn something every time you come into my classroom. Being new at blogging, I appreciate all of the advice I can get. Thank you for sharing the color code I created. I am a very visual person and it was something I thought the other visual learners in my class could benefit from. I hope others can use it as well and it is results in students creating quality blogs. I am still working on it now. I feel like I should get out my colors and check to make sure this is a good one. Hmmm, where is my question?

    ReplyDelete

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