Links to Lessons I Would Love to Try

In my search for lessons that I know I will use in my classrooms next year, I found 2 great lesson plans on 2 very different sites!

Ketsana’s Lesson using Storybird

Click to check out Ketsana's great lesson plan!

I’ve tried blogging with my students & they absolutely love it!  Now, thanks to Ketsana’s lesson about motivating students to write fairy tales through the use of Storybird, my students can get even more creative with their writing.

Besides the lesson plan, you will also find:

  • Pre-survey questions
  • Grading rubric
  • Video showing how the lesson worked in her classroom
Read through her lesson plan to find out the great information she provides.  At the end, you will also find my comment about how I plan on using Storybird in my classroom next year.

Flashcard Machine by Jackie

Click on the picture to check out her post!

My dad was the one who taught me to use flashcards when I was in elementary school.  That was always THE way that I learned vocabulary and important information that I needed to know for any test.  For that reason, I always have my students make flash cards & keep vocabulary flip-books full of important words and definitions.

With Flashcard Machine, it is now possible to have online flashcards with colorful pictures, organized by subject, and are quick and easy to review. I absolutely love this idea!  Check out Jackie’s Relevant and Innovative Learning Scenario (RILS) lesson with her 3rd grade students.  I’ve even left my own thoughts and comments about how I plan on using this Web 2.0 tool next year in my classroom.

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Kidblog Lesson Reflection

Blogging with Students

Whew… this has been a busy 3 weeks of blogging with my students.  Since my class has been busy getting ready for state testing next week, I will say that it’s been hard to find enough time in the day for all of my students to type their blogs into my 4 classroom computers.  Just today, I was able to get the last group of students on to post their blog.  As a result, I have put off the student evaluation until next week.

 Here are some things that went really well:

  • Using the YouTube video Blogs in Plain English by Lee LeFever sparked a great discussion about how blogs have changed the way that news travels. 
  • Creating a thought provoking blog post of my own was the spark that led to a great online discussion about technology. When my students posted a comment, it was important that I commented back to each student.  This is what helped keep a discussion going.
  • BrainPop’s lesson about blogs was another great way to give my students information about blogs.  The video was very informative & the graphic organizers that accompanied the lesson were very helpful.
  • As you probably saw from my video in the previous post, my students loved taking a survey of the class in order to determine their most popular blog topic.  This was a great way to get them excited about the topic that they were planning on writing about.
  • Having the class create a grading rubric together was a great way to let the students know exactly what is expected of their own writing.
  • Students love being able to get on the internet to see work that they produced.

Complications with the lessons:

  • It is extremely difficult to expect 32 students to get onto 4 working classroom computers to type in a blog post and comments.  In hindsight, next time I will give extra credit as an incentive for them to post their blogs at home or after school.
  • Students wanted to post pictures into their blogs, but weren’t given the resources to be able to quickly find copyright compliant pictures.  To help with this, I needed to create a Kidblog LiveBinder that had links to help them find pictures. I also had to do an extra lesson with my class to show them how to insert pictures into their posts.
  • Typing the blogs in took longer than I expected because most of my students do not have the proper typing skills. Without a computer lab at our school, we don’t have enough resources to give our students the technology training that they really need. I’m not sure exactly how to fix this.  Maybe I can add some typing program links to my classroom webpage.

Final Thoughts:

Even though I’m not completely finished with the evaluation part of my lesson, overall, I am very happy with classroom blogging.  Next time I will definitely start this towards the beginning of the school year when I know that I don’t have state testing to compete with my time.  I feel like my students are more excited about blogging than most of the writing assignments that I’ve given them this year.  I find that they are being more thoughtful in their journals and they are doing a better job self-editing.  If you’re a classroom teacher, I highly recommend that you try it with your class!  You’ll have some of your quietest students actively participating and joining in the discussions.

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.

LiveBinders for Blog Resources

BP6… Take 2!!

Click for a link to: http://www.livebinders.com

Okay, here’s my second attempt to post BP6.  This time I will be blogging about using LiveBinders in order to share resources about blogs with my students.  In this post, you will learn about how LiveBinders can be a great teaching resource for teachers, parents, & students.  I will also reflect on the LiveBinder that I created for my students to use as a resource to help them get started on creating their own blogs.

What is LiveBinders?

For those of you who haven’t heard about LiveBinders, it’s a free site (unless you need to upgrade for extra memory & storage space) that allows you to keep and share organized virtual binders.

Get started by searching through created LiveBinders.

If you’re not sure how to get stared with LiveBinders, I recommend that you begin by doing a search through Featured Binders.  There you will find popular LiveBinders that can inspire you to start creating your own.  If there is a specific topic, grade level, or subject that you are interested in, there is a search box for you to type in key words.

Once you’ve gotten the idea of how to use LiveBinders, you’re ready to start creating your own!

Who can you share LiveBinders with & what do can you include in them?

  • Teachers/Colleagues
    • Share lesson plans
    • Resources for grade level subjects/reports
    • Worksheets
    • Teaching links
  • Parents & Students
    • Directions, resources, & links for reports
    • Homework help resources
    • Flickr Images
    • Links to helpful resources
      • Math fact practice
      • Writing prompts
      • Educational Videos
      • Class/school webpage

    Click for a link to my LiveBinder

(Files that can be uploaded to LiveBinders:  .pdf, .jpg, .gif, .ppt, .doc, .txt, and .mov )

To help explain, here’s a link to my Kidbolg Resources Livebinder.

After you start looking through LiveBinders, you will notice that you can create tabs and sub-tabs.  This feature is a great way to keep all of your resources and information organized and easy to locate.

Options for your LiveBinder:

  • Set your binder to private/public
  • Create a pass code if you set your binder to private
  • Share your binder via: e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +1, & Plurk
  • Add names of other LiveBinder users to allow them to collaborate & edit your binder

Reflection about my Kidblog Resources Livebinder:

I think that this LiveBinder is going to be a great resource for my students to use as they are starting to post their own blogs on Kidblog.org.  I plan on putting a link to this resource on my new class webpage.  Since most of my students are used to looking up images from Google, I felt that it was really important that this LiveBinder included places that they can go to for copyright compliant images.  For most of them, this is the first year that they are learning that it is not okay to use any image that they find on the internet.

The other thing that I like about my binder is that I have links to things like: blog topic ideas & the BrainPop page about blogs.  Since my students will have watched the BrainPop video in class, having the link in my LiveBinder will be a familiar resource for that they will be comfortable watching and learning from on their own.

This is a sample of the image that will pop-up when you click the button "LiveBinder it".

As I work more and more with the LiveBinders site, I am very impressed with its capabilities.  When you set up an account, it will recommend that you add the LiveBinder It link onto your Internet browser’s Bookmarks Bar.  This makes it especially easy to add any link to a binder that you’ve created. So, any time I come across a great site about blogs, all I have to do is click the button LiveBinder It, and once I select my Kidblog Resources binder, I can automatically add the link as either a tab, or a sub-tab.  This makes expanding the binder as easy as a few clicks of a button!

I recommend that you go and explore the LiveBinder site & you just might be inspired to create your own.

BrainPop Teaches about Blogs

Are you looking for fun and engaging lessons that your students will love?  Well, look no further because BrainPop has created an educational site full of entertaining videos with content in the subject areas: Art & Music, English, Health, Math, Science, Social Studies, & Technology.

BrainPop Educator

If you’re a teacher, you can register for a free BrainPop Educator account. With this account, you will have access to the BrainPop Educator’s Blog, and Lesson Plans created by teachers, for teachers.  Unfortunately, if you wish to have access to all of the amazing videos that the site has to offer, you will need to get a subscription & I will tell you more about that later.  They do offer a free trial that you can sign up for.  I haven’t signed up yet, so I’m not quite sure how long the free trial is.

Features of BrainPop Educator

  • Access to Educator’s Blog
  • Access to Lesson Plans
    • Search by subject and grade
    • Search standards by state, subject, and grade (I love this feature!)
  • Free webinars and tutorials available to watch
  • Resources, planning tools, and ideas for integration available
  • Information about upcoming conferences and BrainPop news

The other option would be for you to look through their “free stuff” page.  There you can find videos and lessons in all of the different content areas.  This page will give you a glimpse of the amazing learning that can be happening in your classroom.

Watch my YouTube video as I navigate my way through a free BrainPop lesson on blogs.  This is a lesson that I will use with my class as an introduction lesson about blogging.  Once they have all of the essential information, they will be ready to start writing their own blog posts.

Freebies:

Cost

  • Some free content available
  • Free educator account (as mentioned above)
  • There are 1-5 year subscriptions for all of their different resources: BrainPop, BrainPop Jr. (K-3), BrainPop Espanol, & BrainPop ESL
  • Combo Packs are available if you would like to have access to more than 1 resource
  • Pricing varies for: school, district, media lab, classroom, public library, homeschool, family, and virtual classroom (check out the subscription page)
  • Classroom subscription for 1 year of BrainPop is $195
  • Classroom subscription for 1 year of BrainPop Jr. is $135
  • Classroom BrainPop & BrainPop Jr. 1 year subscription is $275
  • Classroom BrainPop ESL 1 year subscription is $115
  • Classroom BrainPop Espanol 1 year subscription is $150

Final Thoughts

I was so impressed with the organization of all of the content material within this site.  All of the BrainPop videos that I’ve watched (about 8 of them) have been interesting and engaging.  The quiz at the end of each video really get me to pay attention because I always want the robot character Moby to give me a beep for the correct answer.  I am seriously thinking about subscribing to BrainPop next school year.  I know that the creativity that is involved with this site can bring out great work from my students.  I already have a few students who watch BrainPop videos on their iPads & I know that they absolutely love it.  I hope that you find this site as fun and helpful as I do.