I'm looking forward to hearing from teachers who have their elementary students blogging. First question of many, how do you get around the restriction that users of this service must be 13 years or older? This must not be a show stopper as teachers have their students blogging and I'm sure the students are loving it and growing in their reading and writing skills.
I use Kidblog.org with my sixth grade students. It is designed for teachers and does not have the age limit. I set up each class and assign passwords. The site has a Control Panel that holds student responses until I approve them. If they are appropriate and topic related, I publish them on the blog. Also, no outside person can access our blog. I have used it since March and have not had any problems. I really like the safety features. I posted a question about student research papers. Students then shared any helpful websites in their comments. I also asked them to share good comments about other students' research papers when they were finished and presented in class. Right now, I have a blog going about the end of school. It does take time to review the posts and comments, but my students have enjoyed communicating with me and other students after school. I piloted it with only one class, but I will be doing all five classes next year.
I'm glad to find someone else using Kidblog. Mine are actually set up as public, and outside visitors can comment. I just have to approve all comments before they get shared. I thought at first I'd leave them private, but once I told the kids anyone can see them, they worked even harder!
They're asking if I can leave them up for the summer. I am not sure how I will be able to handle that!
I am currently using edublogs.org with elementary students. We are actually having a language arts competition between two 4th grades at different schools. The kids are really into it, and it makes the end of the year review more fun and engaging! One of the teachers told me that the kids will actually do homework with the blog.
I have a FREE class website through Weebly.com which allows me to have a Blog. No age restrictions, no email accts necessary, kids reply to my prompt which gets them reading, thinking, typing and writing a reply. I have control over the Blog as to allowing the responses to be posted immediately or after my approval. I opt for my approval - just in case. The students know I will read their responses and approve them if appropriate. Half of my class were English Language Learners (ELL) and most of the others struggle with Language Arts. They were so excited to be able to add a comment to the our website and be able to go back later to read not just their comment but others. Several of my ELL students would get together over the weekend and add another blog reply as a group and giggle on Monday when I told them I had read their comments.
I had a few who knew they were leaving the state after school ended this year. Although they had put up a strong front that they were glad and looking forward to the move, three individually told me on the blog that they didn't want to go. This broke my heart...they felt they could share this through the blog, but not in person. Of course, I had a personal heart to heart with each one...I gave them a big hug, told them that change can be scary, but it can also bring new adventures! I confided that I was a little jealous of their upcoming opportunity, so I'd like them to keep in touch through our blog. Each child returned my hug with a bear hug and a smile assuring me they would keep me posted on their new life.
I kept the prompts relative to what we were doing in school. I asked how they felt about events such as testing, Open House, our Hoe-down, which projects should I use next year, what were they looking forward to doing this summer, etc. I think they felt impowered to know I wanted their opinions.
I think we could have fun blogging back and forth. The kids would love blogging to other kids if you are interested. I used to have them write to penpals, but my buddy in Ohio retired. I'm in Southern California so climate and weather can be interesting contrasts from Denver.
This could be a new twist on an old idea.
I have been using edublogs for about 5 years. I'm a librarian so it's a library blog entitled "La Lucha Libro Library". (play on words) I wanted a safe place for our kids, and all kids really, to learn how to network socially and safely, improve their writing skills and motivate them to read more. It's been a challenge to get them to comment but I think it's because I'm not their teacher and I only see them twice a month.This year I'm going to attempt a different approach and try to work with one teacher who really does an excellent job with the writing process. I think if I can get her students involved they can be the model for other classes.
So what's on the blog...I'm really into creating book trailers. I like posting quirky pictures and pictures of events that happen in the library. I post reviews on books I have read. This summer I posted a thread about what childrens authors were reading because I thought it would be really cool for adults and kids to compare notes on their summer reading. I have been fortunate to have some really great and well known authors write in and leave comments. So I feel very blessed. Now if I can only get kids to read it.
So for those of you who are already using blogs in your classrooms, I'd love if you shared my blog with your kids and I would welcome their comments. I guarantee they will love the book trailers and they may even motivate them to read the books. I would also welcome some feedback and ideas on ways to improve.
Check it out http://centeno.edublogs.org
Great blog! I like the way you got in touch with the authors to ask them what they were reading.
Most especially, I REALLY like the book trailers! What do you use to create them? I'd love to know.
I am currently using Kidblogs with my students as a tool for discussion, reflection, book recommendations, current event and much more. As an Instructional Technology Specialist for grades 3 - 5 in two school within my district I am able to have students blog across the district. I also work with 2nd graders through integration, I have had students blog with High School AP students in Spanish. My students love blogging.
I have been blogging with my fifth graders for a few years now. Some classes have been more into it than others but it always provides an identity for our room. Our blog serves a variety of purposes. It is a newsletter to parents about what is going on in our class and it is also a place where we can post projects that we are working on.
We try to get the blog out to as many people as we can to show that we are writing for a worldwide audience. It is entirely student written. We would love to get feedback and comments at www.onlineroom25.blogspot.com
One thing the students say is that blogging breaks down the walls of the classroom and turns the world into our classroom.
"Elementary School Blogging" is a chapter in a free ebook entitled Super Book of Web Tools for Educators (see pages 62-65). Eleven administrators, teachers, and bloggers have contributed to this book that offers guidelines, suggestions, and Web 2.0 sites that they recommend for use in blogging with elementary children. There are links to forms educators have sent home to parents to get their consent for allowing their children to blog via the Internet. This chapter in the free ebook can be viewed online, downloaded, or printed.
One ReadWriteThink author, Laurie Henry, has used blogs to connect students internationally. She's presenting her experience at the IRA Annual Convention on Monday, May 9th at 11:00 am in a session titled Globetrotting by Blogs—No Passport Required.She's copresenting with Lisa Zawilinski, author of HOT Blogging: A Framework for Blogging to Promote Higher Order Thinking. If you are attending the Convention in Orlando, please join us for this session. And if you can't make it, stay tuned for a video archive of the session to be posted on ReadWriteThink.org.
I feel like I've been around the world 10 times over in the past year. Not literally, but many, many changes in my life. Things are finally settling down, and I have a new use for blogs with blended learning. I will be working with 4 different students in our satellite learning program and I plan to use blogs as a way for them to post their writing, reading reflections, and let the world know what fantastic learners they are!