Using Blogs in the Classroom

June 2009 - Blogs

I have started using blogs in my classroom on a daily basis. When the students (aged 7-9) arrive at school they turn the computers on, open the web browser and check the home page out.


During Maths time (9:30 - 10:30 Monday - Thursday) they go to the Maths blog and read up on the activities they will be doing - usually a rotation basis. During the rotation time I call out small groups of students for small group work with me. The intention is that the activities on the blog are independent of teacher input. Some activities require the students to comment on the blog post for that activity.


During Reading/Language time (11:00-12:30 Monday-Thursday) they go to their Reading/Language blog and do the same. The R/L blog usually has more input required. It will also have links to other online worksheets or activities (for instance Hotpotatoes created interactive pages).


A sample R/L activity is below. As you can see we had been doing some creative thinking about Autumn. The students had to work cooperatively in their group to write an Autumn acrostic. They then had to post it as a comment to the blog.


Another sample activity is here. I recorded myself reading the story and then embedded it into the website. (I self-hosted it using my Dropbox public folder .) I have a small 'listening post' box which the students plug into the computer so they can all listen at once. Then they went to a quiz that I created using Hotpotatoes .


This is just a screenshot of the question part of the quiz page.


August - Wikis

After 5 weeks of using blogs in a consistent way I looked at using wikis - I wanted to give both mediums a fair trial. One of the incentives for this was the Wikieducator eL4C29 course that I completed. I did some investigation on how I'd like to set the wiki out and then started using it.

The first thing I needed to do was to talk my chn through the differences between blogs and wikis and how they work. I used the link example and drew a model of how the blogs worked and then how the wiki would work.

Then we started using the wiki.

They still start the day by turning on the computers and opening the browser - now their home page is the wiki home page.

Wiki Home Page

After some trial and error this is how I've narrowed the menu bar down - I only have the current week showing plus a few subject and other links.

Wiki Menu

The daily page has the shedule - any notes that are relevant for the day and links to daily activities.

Daily Page - with schedule and links to activities

The maths page includes embedded google docs (which i was already using in the blog - but instead of opening a new page/tab/window it is in the actual wiki page).

Maths page including embedded google doc

Here's another example of embedding - this time a voicethread - the chn added to this via a laptop which was signed into my account (and where all their sub-accounts were) and they rotated around it in groups over the course of a week.

Reading/Language page including embedded voicethread

I introduced group logins & pages in the second week of use and personal logins & pages in the third week of use.

links to student personal pages