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Blogging with juniors

Started by Marnel van der Spuy 17 Aug 2013 7:42pm () Replies (28)

Hi all!

Anyone blogging with their students? Would anyone like to share on how blogging with juniors help their students with literacy/connecting with others?

My students love being part of QuadBloggingAotearoa. This is a great concept and in this blogpost they've shared some of their ideas on blogging.

Replies

  • Fiona Robertson (View all users posts) 17 Aug 2013 8:01pm ()

    Hi

    I was blogging with my year 1/ NE class . In my class I had a boy who had great ideas to write about, but struggled to write them down. I often got him writing on the blog and this motivated him as a writer as he could see his success as a writer. The children also new that others were looking at our blog and liked to see how many views we had, as well as comments. I also use the blog to link to videos we were using to support our learning as will as sites we used. The children were always engaged and often would sing the turns to a video we had been watching. All children no matter what their age like sharing their learning with others.

    the blog address is http://thelearninghive.blogspot.co.nz/

    hope this is a little help

    Fiona

     

  • Marnel van der Spuy (View all users posts) 17 Aug 2013 8:55pm ()

    Hi Fiona

    Thank you for sharing your experience with blogging. Love your great ideas too and I have to agree - children like sharing their learning with others! My NE/Yr 1 students have their own personal blogs and found it quite frustrated that they were unable to share their learning, due to a problem with posting at the end of last term, issue only got resolved this week. And now they are away again - sharing!

     

  • Juliet Revell (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 8:37am ()

    Hi everyone

    I have a Year 2 class, and find blogging with them invaluable for their learning, particulary literacy. Where do I start? I can tell you so much about how our blog enhances our learning. Ok, I'll start with engagement. My iKids are so engaged by their blog. They are proud of it. Visually, it's punchy and that helps. There is wonderment and awe every time there is a new post! Yes, STILL! It has certainly enhanced our class culture. We are proud of each other when we achieve something amazing and we record it on a new post.

    The blog has been relatively easy to maintain. Yes, I write most of the posts myself. As the children’s awareness and enthusiasm has grown, they become more and more interested in adding to the blog themselves. Initially this means that they begin to offer suggestions for content rather than physically adding posts. They are keen followers of other schools blogs – particularly those at their own year level. They love to comment on the other blogs and have their questions and comments replied to.

    Commenting is a BIG part of our blogging experience. I get really frustrated when people make comments that our blog is all "Teacher written and directed." SO WHAT!! MY KIDS ARE JUNIORS! Would you rather I didn't do it at all? What are you saying - that it's not valuable?! That's just ignorance! (Sorry - rant!!!) Certainly, it appears that most of it is Teacher input. However, if you dig deeper, and take a look at how the blog is used in our classroom, you will see that the posts are commented on by the children, and used for shared reading, writing and discussion. Most of my kids begin the year at 6 years old, and finish it at 7. Later in the year, yes, they are able to write more and post themselves. Prior to that, there is great learning involved in reading, discussion and commenting on our own as well as other Junior Blogs. We have a list on our blog roll that we follow. Our blog is used to connect with our parents and community. 

    This year, we have made great connections with Lynne Laburn's class at Point View School. Lynne's class commented that our class mascot, Marvin might like a visit to Auckland. An incredible journey transpired, we shared so many experiences that included Skyping and sharing about our local environments. 

    Over the year, the children’s confidence with the idea of the Internet as a concept grows substantially. They become aware that they are in control of the information that we share with our audience. They love that they have people from all over the world commenting on what they have been up to. They are very proud of each other’s efforts and often suggest “We could put that on the blog.”  I post all the children’s art, so that all parents and whānau can see their child’s efforts when they are not able to make it into the classroom.

     I use twitter to introduce new posts, and generally include relevant hashtags. This ensures that the children’s audience is expanded that little bit further. I would highly recommend twitter for teachers – the use of a PLN (personal learning network) has been invaluable for me. 

    Of course it helps that we are using ICT as a tool to connect. We love technology and have become aware of the connections that it can help us make. The children love the comments that they receive from similar aged children at other schools. The children are learning how to be safe on the Internet, and what sort of language we need to use when we write for our audience there.

    The most significant aspect is that our learning has an authentic audience outside of the perimeters of our small rural community. We have had over 50,000 visitors to our virtual classroom and we have lost count of the different countries! The children have been very good at being able to read big numbers, but unfortunately now, the numbers are getting a bit beyond most of them! We have a map in our classroom that has stars on the countries. I have printed out the names of the countries that we have received hits from, and included pictures of me in many of those countries, at a famous landmark. The children see me on the wall beside “Big Ben” and know that that is in the United Kingdom. This is yet another manifestation of authentic context that the blog has created for their learning. 

    My advice is to get in there and have a go! Your kids will love you for it!

    Juliet

     

  • Marnel van der Spuy (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 9:55am ()

    Love, love, love this! Well written Juliet and thank you so much for your contribution! Great to know there's other teachers who's also passionate about blogging with their juniors. Don't mind people with their comments about your blog being all "Teacher written and directed." You have a fantastic blog with amazing learning opportunities to students.

    Juniors need teacher direction and I do write most of the post myself too. My students are 5 years old, and some don't even know all of the alphabet yet, but they can all talk!!

    Why should I withhold these students of this valuable learning experience and deny them their contribution to blogging, posts and commenting, just because some of them are pre-readers and writers?

    So what if I as the teacher write the posts and comments using 'student voice'? 

    Students love this opportunity to share ideas and although this is a lengthy process with my junior students (my blogpost about it), I would rather direct my students in their valuable blogging journey than not doing it at all.

  • Fiona Robertson (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 10:10am ()

    I have to agree that we shouldn't with hold our juniors from sharing their learning. At the school I was teaching at last year I had the opportunity to have enough computers for 1-1 which was very exciting. the children were into using the blog and my able writers could do their own post. Part way through the first term all of the computers got taken out of my class, this I beleive was due to someones lack of understanding of e-learning and sharing our students learning with a wider audience as well as the benefits of it for children. I Still got the children using the class blog through using my teacher lap top. I also got my non writers to use http://vocaroo.com/ to re-read their writing and post this on the blog. 

    I ignored the negative comments as I knew the students enjoyed the blog and using technology to support their learning. It doesnt matter if a lot of the work is done by the teacher at the junior end, it is about sharing their learning  and voice with others.

    Keep up the good work

  • Tony Parker (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 10:07am ()

    Something I do is to each day give one child the camera and get them to take a wander around the school to photograph something interesting. We then upload it onto the blog and I let the child write to the photo as their writing for that day. Doesn't take much of my time and we fix up the children's "typing" errors together. I also put my writing of the day up on our blog and get the child to illustrate it using paint. These are 5 year olds and I think we have be realistic about what they can and can't do technologically. The focus as always should be on the learning that went on behind the finished product.

    Our blog http://room03writing.blogspot.co.nz/

  • Marnel van der Spuy (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 10:31am ()

    What a fantastic learning experience you're giving to students by your camera idea Tony!

    It was great reading your thoughts on blogging with juniors. Thank you so much for sharing! Smile

     

  • Cherryl Eden (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 12:07pm ()

    Kia Ora Koutou,

    Our Room 14 class blog is a valued part of the daily programme.At the beginning of the school year I share with parents the reasons why we blog: sharing of ideas and experiences, developing literacy skills, developing communication skills, developing creativity, developing collaboration and co-operative skills, giving children a voice, extending the walls of our clalssroom as well as developing the skills of 21st C learners etc.We have literacy and numeracy activities the children do during the day and can access at home on our blog. Parents are encouraged to come into the room and interact with the children on these activities. The parents in my class know that at least 3-4 times pere week we make a post to share something that has happened in our learning activities. They keep me on my toes and ask why if I do not meet this committment. They are all very encouraging and enthusiastic about it. There are grandparents and extended family around the New Zealand and overseas who love reading about what the children are doing each day. Often I have parents say to me" I  didn't know you were doing that until I read it on the blog". The children make suggestions as to what we should post and are proud of their blog.

    http://room14richmondprimary.blogspot.com

  • Marnel van der Spuy (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 6:25pm ()

    Thank you for sharing your ideas Cherryl. I love that you incorporate your class blog into your daily programme and have parents and students so involved in blogging.

    Well done!

  • robyn scott (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 12:29pm ()

    Hello, junior teachers!

    I have a class of mainly year 1's.

    We have a class blog to share our learning programme with whoever wants to know what we are doing!

    With all the cyber safety rules we need to adhere to, it is safer for me to post the children's work, but also at 5 and 6 years old it can take ages for them to complete a task and we only have 3PC's and 1 ipad to work on. I find it easiest to take photos or let them take photos to upload on the blog and I have started using a new story app that doesn't share  easily so I take a screen pic on the ipad and post the photo. When I have spare time (ha! ha!) I create books and posters for their work as well.

    My aim is for parents to look at the blog. I find that regular posts are important otherwise they give up checking.

    I put a variety of pages on our blog as well. This encourages the children to ask to go on the blog at home. They can share the poems and songs we have been learning as well as aerobics routines! I also include some safe websites for them to go to.

    The blog is a great reflection tool as well. At the end of the term we reflect on what we have learnt and the blog reminds us of what we did.

    It is important at our school for the juniors to be aware of blogging and sharing knowledge online, because when they get to year 3, they each have their own blog. They start quad blogging and entering the 100WC etc. so it helps that they have been a contributing member of a blog as a year 1 and 2.

    You can check out our blog here:

    http://room2kclearners.blogspot.co.nz/

    We'd love some comments if anyone has time!

    Thanks

    Robyn Scott

  • Marnel van der Spuy (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 6:40pm ()

    I had a bit of a giggle when reading your post, as this just shows me that teachers with year 1 students all have similar 'struggles', like the 'taking ages for 5/6 year olds to complete tasks.'

    That is why I believe, we have to expose our students to blogging with our "Teacher written and directed" approach. We should let them take baby steps and lead them to become Self Managed/Self Directed users of their own blogs.

    You are just doing that by getting them to be a contributing member of a blog as a year 1 and 2.

    Thank your for sharing how you use blogging with juniors!

  • Josie Woon (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 7:21pm ()

    Hi all I have loved reading all the wonderful posts about blogging.  I have a year 2/3 class and began blogging last year. My posts as well are mostly teacher generated but in saying that all the written pork is the children's and I just type it up.  It has been a great connection for parents and whanau who live away as the those family members that are often too shy to come in.  

    Work commitments anlabours can also contribute to this.  The blog has allowed parents to see in real time what we are doing.  I have worked with my class on commenting but I find this is an on-going learning intention.  I have to make more of a timetabled effort to comment on our quadblog in partners and blogs within our school and community.  

    Quadblogging is a great way to begin the commenting journey and we did this as a class but as with all things you have to keep it going. Which I definitely need to work on.  We don't get many comments which can be disheartening and it's the comments that I think keeps my kids interested.  But I will keep posting as they love seeing their work, videos, stories and art work online which is all threat matters in the end.

    if you would like a look www.room9rockets.blogspot.co.nz

  • Marnel van der Spuy (View all users posts) 19 Aug 2013 11:26pm ()

    Hi Josie

    Well done on starting to blog with your class! 

    There is little more disheartening for a new blogger than to find that nobody reads your blog posts. Attracting an audience and having them comment on your blog is a lifeline for many bloggers and encourages them to write more and develop their skills and styles. Comments indicate that your blog is being read and you have an audience.

    Therefore, I would again recommend QuadBloggingAotearoa. It is an excellent concept to give blogs an audience for young school bloggers. Also great to have that connection with New Zealand Schools.

    Commenting is a lengthy process with junior students (You can read my blogpost about it).

    Good luck and happy blogging/commenting! Smile

  • Susan Lindsey (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2013 10:06pm ()

    I use our classroom blog to record what has been happening in our classroom.  Oral language underpins all literacy and numeracy learning and I encourage the parents to use the blog to start oral language discussions at home about what has been happening at school especially in topic. 
    I also put any songs, poems etc that we have been learning at school so children can share them with their parents/caregivers/grandparents etc
    This term I have had to ask parent to resign a permission form to allow me to post their child's art work, written work and photos. This is new for us as we used to just have a form that required just one signature to allow us to post information on our blog. Now I have to ask for permission for all areas.
    I used to be disappointed that very few parents were commenting but I see it very differently now, parents have told me they do read the posts but they do not see the need to leave a comment.
    I inform the other teachers in our school when I post on our blog and sometimes other teachers encourage the children in their classrooms to leave us comments, it does give other children in our school a purpose for writing which I think is great.
    I really enjoy looking at other teacher's blogs as I am the only teacher in our school using one and I learn so much from looking at what other schools are doing. 

    Thanks for sharing all these great ideas. 

     

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 20 Aug 2013 12:23pm ()

    Anne has just started a crowd sourced collection of ideas for keeping the momentum going and getting comments for all you bloggers - you may like to view it here,

    Encouraging blog engagement

    and add your own ideas of course!

  • Keryn Wilson (View all users posts) 23 Aug 2013 12:09pm ()

    Hi there

    I've just joined up the VLN and am enjoying looking through the blog with NE section - really useful ideas. I've also loved visiting some blogs mentioned too - great for broadening my ideas about what is possible.

    I have a class blog with my 5 year olds and love to blog. Our address is...  wekablog2013.blogspot.co.nz 

    I have done some great learning this week with a local facilitator in regard to improving our class blog. I now use labels on posts and I have shown the children how to post more independently. It's worked really well so far! 

    I have a problem, though, and wondered if anyone could help - it's a tech one.  Probably has a super easy solution in the settings somewhere - here goes:

    I have 5 old emacs in my room and two of them show a lighter coloured bar along the top of my blog showing (on the right) my email address, "new post", "design" and "sign out". Pretty standard.

    On the other three computers there is the lighter coloured bar but no words so I can't click on "New Post". I'm sure there's something I haven't set up properly...

    Can anyone help?

    Thanks! 

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 23 Aug 2013 4:49pm ()

    Hi Keryn

    I think you will find the solution to be a lovely easy one.

    You have logged in on the computer where you can see your email address.

    You have not logged in on the other computers.

    To log in on the other computers click on the orangey B blogger symbol top left.

    Easy as!

  • Keryn Wilson (View all users posts) 26 Aug 2013 12:33pm ()

    Sadly, I must be not able to follow instructions well. I couldn't see any orange blogger symbol other than that in the address space. I tried going directly to blogger and signing in there, but no - it did say something about the browser being unsupported so maybe it is somthing to do with that. I will put Firfox on and see if that helps.

    :) K

  • Keryn Wilson (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2013 8:55pm ()

    Thank you, Allanah for taking the time to give me advice on how to fix my problem. FYI: I finally managed to solve it after comparing the non-working and working computers Safari versions. Turns out the ones not working were running a 3.something version. Our techie people had been out and I thought they had the latest running, but once I did an update, all worked fine. Yay!  :)K

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