Using Kidblog in the Classroom

http://educatorstudio.com/lessons/excite-students-about-writing-using-kidblog

Overview: Since many students are using technology on a daily basis, teaching them the proper way to communicate online is an essential skill that they need to learn about and put into practice. By having students create their own blogs, they will be able to learn about topics that are important and relevant to one another. It will also enhance and encourage their collaboration skills as they learn how to positively critique and critically think about responses to their classmates’ posts.  Learning to blog at an early age will better prepare them to be effective communicators in this digital age.

Target Audience – 32 students in a 4th grade classroom

Materials

  • Kidblog.org website with class usernames and passwords set up
  • Student journals to write and edit comments and blog posts
  • Blogs in Plain English by leelefever – YouTube video to introduce blogs
  • Classroom computers
  • BrianPop: Blogs – video & activities
  • Student-created rubric to assess posts
  • Computer connected to LCD projector
  • Blog Topic Poll worksheet

Objectives – At the end of this scenario the learner will be able to:

  • Define the term blog
  • Post appropriate comments in response to teacher & classmate blog posts
  • Create and conduct a survey to find a popular topic of interest to blog about
  • Construct a blog post describing their chosen topic of interest
  • Propose questions within their post to promote discussion among classmates
  • Privately evaluate 2 classmates’ posts according to the class rubric

Procedure

Preparation for your lessons:

  • Create an account on Kidblog.org with student usernames and passwords.
  • Use the settings to personalize your page & adjust settings according to your needs.
  • Create an introduction post & pose an interesting question to your students.

Lesson 1: (Using computer & LCD projector to show websites to our class.)

  • Introduce blogs using Blogs in Plain English by leelefever.
  • Show students how to login to Kidblog.org.
  • Read introduction post to your students.
  • Brainstorm thoughts and ideas with your students.
  • Give students quiet time to journal-write about the topic.
  • Upon teacher approval, students will use student computers to login and post their comment.
  • Teacher will approve/disapprove comment and reply with positive feedback.

Lesson 2:

Lesson 3:

  • Class will create a grading rubric to be used in evaluating each other’s posts.
  • Guidelines and expectations for blogging will be set and agreed upon.
  • Students journal-write about their chosen blog topic.
  • Students will self and peer edit before posting their first blog post.

Lesson 4:

  • Students will use the grading rubric to evaluate 2 blog posts.
  • Evaluations will help students guide their comments as they respond to the posts.
  • Teacher will use the grading rubric to evaluate students’ posts.

Emerging Technology Kidblog.org is a free website that allows teachers to create and manage a classroom blog.

Social Participation/Social Learning– Students will be taught about giving positive and useful feedback as they survey each other about blog topics and help classmates with peer editing before publishing posts onto their blogs. Besides posting their own blog, they will be assigned 2 blogs to evaluate using the class-created grading rubric.  They will then be required to respond to at least 3 posts. The teacher will oversee all posts, making sure that students are following all of the proper guidelines and expectations that have been set by the class.

Making Connections

Prior Knowledge:  The learner will make connections with knowledge about newspapers and emails in order to understand how blogs are used to get important news out to people with similar interests.

Relevance:  The learner will post a blog about a topic that is relevant and important to him or her.

Audience:  After the class posts their first blog, teacher will open up the blog to allow for visitor comments. An email will then be sent to parents and families with a link to our class blog.  Families will be encouraged to read the blogs and post their own comments, creating an even bigger discussion.

Create/Produce – Students will use their Blog Topic Poll worksheet to help them create an interesting paragraph on their topic.  They will then come up with 2 related questions for the readers to think about and comment on.

Assessment – Students will help create a rubric according to 3 categories: Writing Conventions, Appropriateness of Topic, and Content.  Teacher will copy this rubric for students to use as they evaluate each other’s posts.  Teacher will also use this rubric to evaluate students’ work.

Score

Writing Conventions

Appropriateness of the Topic

Content (How easy is it to understand?)

Total

4

3

2

1

Score ____/12

Reflection

The teacher will reflect about the class blogging experience by writing a blog post titled: Blog Reflection.  In this post, the teacher will post a personal reflection about the blogging process and will ask the students to reflect on their own learning by thinking and writing about the following questions:

  • What did I learn about blogging?
  • What were the things that I liked the most?
  • What part of the blogging process was the most difficult for me?
  • What did I learn about other students in this class?
  • What did I learn about myself?

After the entire lesson, the teacher will read the reflection blog posts to decide what kind of adjustments need to be made in order to continue blogging with the class.

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8 thoughts on “Using Kidblog in the Classroom

  1. Kidblog seems like a great tool to use with students. I could see my 7th and 8th graders engaged in blogging. They constantly want to express themselves verbally and blogging would be right up their alley! Blogging about something that is relevant and important (to them)would really motivate them to share with others. I really wish our school would permit student blogging. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, all teachers received emails about the guidelines/restrictions regarding social media. In a way, I understand their concerns, but I know that our teachers would closely monitor all activities. How can we just shut down a valuable tool like blogging just because of some “potential” problems?! It’s like getting rid of cars because people may get into accidents. This makes me think of Clay Shirky’s video. He made some good points about the Internet. Yes, useless things are out there, but useful things are, too. Some bad things could happen and some good things, too.

  2. Gena, I’m sorry I went on so long (above comment) and completely forgot to mention something important: thanks for researching this Web 2.0 tool! I also like Blogs in Plain English by leelefever. Have your students been blogging most of this year? Are you finding improvement in the quality of their blog posts? Is their writing getting better?

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  6. Kidblog is a great tool you previewed for us in your RILS project. I am really excited to set up a blog about current events. I have always done current events with my science classes and I also do a peer review to try to get them discussing different topics, but I think a blog could really introduce them to the limitless biological and geological events taking place. Thanks for introducing it and I will pass your blog along to others.

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