Sunday, May 3, 2015

Blogging with Students-How to bring real audience to our authorship

Well, I have done it! Lept in, finally! Much, much hesitation, not because I'm nervous about how my students will use this tool, but more about the logistics. I had thought that I would use Edublogs. That is what my district uses primarily for our classroom blogs.

However, because we have our own domain that was created primarily with teachers in mind, it's not very kid friendly for how to have students create their own blogs. 

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for me was that while I could control their blogs while they were joined into MY CLASS (which I had to get special permission to get this added to my GPSblogs account), when I deleted these blogs, the students would still own them and have free reign. I'm not sure why this bothered me. I guess my main fear is that something would come back to me later on if a student did something unacceptable to their blog.

I will say, that the Edublogs student creation is MUCH more kid friendly and had I had that as an option, I'm pretty sure I would have used it (say in December instead of hemming and hawing for 4 months). Using My Class in Edublogs

With that said, I was open to other ideas. On Twitter, my PLC suggested a site called Bulb This really looks interesting for cumulative projects. However, I ended up using Google Sites this year for publishing our digital books (narratives that have taken most of the year to write). Our site is Story Tellers . I did this because my partner teacher was using it for a tech class and began to show me its possibilities. Being we have 1:1 Chromebooks, using a Google tool sounded good. (I wasn't comfortable using Blogger for my 6th grade students being I had no control.)

The Story Teller project has shared rights that I can adjust at will. I have shared the site with each class to be able to upload their digital book. However, anyone in the world with the link will be able to read and comment. Thanks to Andrew, I was able to figure out how to share rights correctly. Enabling Page-level Permissions I'm thinking that next year I will have a page, site, per student created. I'm wondering about having them create the page. Google Sites for Teachers and Students My main goal is to be able to have students have ePortfolios for reading/writing (my two subjects), with the possibility of getting my team teachers in on it too.

To get these student stories out there to other 6th grade classes all over the world, I intend to publish our link on our classroom Twitter (@6thGrTeam) and to bring it to a group I've met online #6thconnectt.

I'm very excited to see how this goes! Thanks for this class and this push to get not only my toes wet, but to fully submerse and swim in the amazing under-water world of blogging and technology!

PS- As you will see, we don't have our digital books up yet.  We are in their final edits and then have to still create the digital book using Google slides.  Here are some of the tools we are using to help us do that in case you'd like to try it.

PPS- I also want to thank the teachers I met with last session who spoke about using Google Classroom and then Andrew's online webinar.  I've jumped into that, so doing, these projects is SO much more manageable!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blogging Questions, 2/26/15

      • Who is blogging in your classroom / position?
      • Which blogging platform did you choose and why?
      • How did you set your privacy settings? Is your blog public, private, or password protected and why?
So at this point, I am the only one blogging in my classroom. Well, I don't know that I'm fully blogging. I'm posting information on our team blog. My students are creating items that I post on our team blog.

I'm using Edublogs. This is our district sanctioned platform.

Our Team Blog is public. There are 3 creators on it, but it's generally only me who posts.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sticking a Toe into Blogging Tools

I teach reading and writing workshops to three sections of 6th grade students.  Ultimately, I would like for students share their writing (with a real purpose and audiences) and also have a forum for sharing books with one another.  This is where I would like to start with student owned blogs.

Currently, I am using Edublogs (via my districts  Cummings6th.  I've gotten a  plugin called Myclass added into my dashboard. I was looking for a way to have 100 students added in easily, without me creating each blog. With My Class, my students can now make their own blogs through our district's version of Edublogs and then join my class, which allows me to set the settings pariameters.  See the Overview of MyClass. (One question I have yet, is do the students keep their edublog once I delete them from my class this summer?)

A couple of programs my students are using already are Google Slides and Vokis (virtual characters that can share a student created message) @ Both programs have easy features that allows students to publish visual messages. They can publish the HTML code to have the presentation put directly into their blog or they can put in a link that connects to the presentations.  In Edublogs, you can copy the html code and paste it using the "add media" tool. On our team page called Hot Reads, I went back to using just the link, the page was slowing down with all the book recommendations we were putting up (both Google Slides and Voki).  Also, we can easily post these book recs to our team Twitter account at the very same time that we post to our team edublog hotreads page.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

On Chapter One, Two, and Three: Making Connections with Blogging

As I began to read Making Connections with Blogging: Authentic Learning for Today's Classroom, I know that I didn't have a very wide view of what I could/my students could do with a blog. I had viewed a few elementary level blogs and had read Mark Barne's Role Reversal, so I thought that I would have students share their writing and possibly discuss books on their blogs (an online portfolio of sorts). That was the extent I was thinking of taking it.

I like the idea of students reflecting on their learning via their blog. Also, I'd like for students to share their passions and expertise via their blogs. I knew that a blog would be a great support to all we do with reading and writing, but I didn't consider the effect of how interaction with others via the blog would affect the depth of learning. I've been a bit nervous to open the blogs to the wider "net world" due to the dangers that could pose, but I'm starting to think that could be something that would really cause a deeper sense of purpose in all my students do via their blogs.

I think after reading these first few chapters, I will be more open to the types of blogging we do: some teacher guided and some student chosen. I am now leaning towards allowing the blogs to be open to a wider audience than I was before, albeit, I understand the necessity to teaching safety, etiquette, and responsibility to my students as they blog and use the Internet. With my students having access to 1:1 Chromebooks, I can see blogging being woven within the class time, not as an extra. I also can see my colleagues using these blogs, where before I figured I'd only use it for my ELA sections.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"This is the beginning of anything you want"

My name is Katie Clark, and I've been teaching for so long that I have to stop and do the math.  I started when we still had ditto machines in the teacher workroom.

When I started at Grandville Public, in 1993, we had Macintosh computers.  I quickly learned to love creating, using the computer.  Long story short, I still enjoy technology and all that it opens up to  learning and creating, both for myself and my students.

This past year, my district went to 1:1.  4th-12th have Chromebooks.  Last winter break, I spent learning everything I could about Google tools (and am still), just to stay one step ahead of my students.  This has made a huge impact in what we can do!  

I've had a teacher blog to inform students and have as a resource for my students for some years now, but now I want  to venture into student blogs.  I'm just not clear as to what format and exactly how we'll use them.  I'm hoping that the book and talking to others in the class will help me get a focus.

I teach 3 sections of 6th grade reading workshop and writing workshop.  I have 65 students who, in general, haven't blogged before.  I want to ensure it's a safe environment, but at the same time, I do want it to be the student's blog.

Looking forward to learning from you all!