Tuesday, January 24, 2012

And They're Off Blogging!

Today my students got their 1,000 Words in 10 Days Challenge. You should have seen their faces, some turned white as a ghost. My 6th graders did this challenge last year and quickly reassured the 5th graders that 1,000 words isn't really as much as it sounds. One of the great aspects of a multi-age classroom, the support they give each other. A quick description of the challenge can be found here.

 I began blogging last year with my students, however I was very new to it and was still learning how to use it myself. I gave my students a few assignments and I feel it was a good start. This year I have gotten a late start, but better late then never right? I have an account with Edublogs. This site allows you to open a free account and set up to 50 student accounts. You can manage these accounts and monitor the use of them. I have a pro-account which is about $40 for the year. This gives me a few more features and allows me to turn off the advertising on our accounts. I am the administrator of my students accounts, so I have to approve any comments that come through for each student blog. This prevents anyone from posting spam or disrespectful comments. There are many other benefits to Edublogs and they have made it really easy to allow students to incorporate 21st century skills into the classroom in a safe way. My goal is to have the students post on their blog once a week. I think this will be manageable for me and everything that I have going on in my classroom at the moment.

My students have already emailed me their plans for their blog posts and explained how they will gather information to make their readers interested in what they have to say. I have one student that is going to post a picture and describe it in as many words as she can. The title will be "A Picture Speaks a 1000 Words". Sounds like a writing lesson I would do in my classroom! I am looking forward to their creativity and seeing how I can push them to post their best writing.

To assess the posts, I am going to use a blogging rubric I found at http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/. The rubric can be found here. What I loved about this rubric is that it is based off of Bloom's Taxonomy. If you scroll down there are examples of each rating as well. This allowed my students to understand what my expectations are when they publish their posts.

Hope this was somewhat helpful to you. Does anyone else manage student blogs in their classroom? I would love to learn what others do and how they are utilized.

Also, sorry there aren't any visuals of my documents in this post. I am trying to figure out how to create a "button" of the file and then link the file to that button. That would be much more exciting then my click here method. Having trouble finding a good site that explains this easily. If anyone has a good reference it would be greatly appreciated!


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