Saturday, October 25, 2014

Blogging in the Classroom: Engaging Students in Discussion

What I Love About KidBlog

Contributing to our learning community in a positive way

Kidblog is available as an app on smartphones and tablets and as a webpage online, so students can access the blog at school and at home with ease.  Another great thing about kidblog is that students don't need an email account to access the blog and setting up student accounts is quick and easy.  I had my class set up their accounts in the computer lab and it took about 5 min to get everyone started.  I used the blog as a way to get students to explore online content related to our work in class and to get them engaged in learning conversations.  I posted a prompt and students were graded for participation in the discussion by responding to my prompt as well as posting comments on five posts left by classmates.

A sample blog post with a sample comment (see below):

Percy Jackson is a demi-god and the son of Poseidon.  Study the list of Greek gods and their characteristics and decide which of the Greek gods you would be a son/daughter of if you were a member of Camp Half-Blood.  Click here to go to the Camp Half-Blood web page and see a list of the gods and goddesses.  Click here to go to a page on the twelve major Greek Gods to check the facts from the Camp Half-Blood page.  Respond to this post with your name and son of, or daughter of _________ and give a brief explanation of your reasoning for your decision.
  • I would be the daughter of Athena because she is the goddess of wisdom and arts and crafts. I can be very crafty and I get pretty average grades. I like playing strategy board games too. I am very competitive like Athena, when she went up against Poseidon and when she challenged Arakhne in a weaving contest. These are some reasons why I would be a daughter of Athena.
The text that is highlighted in red contains a link that takes them to the web page that I want them to go to.  It isn't set up to work here because I just copied and pasted the text so it was readable, but on the class blog I have the links set up.

Blog Post 1

Another sample blog post with a comment:

*These are actual student responses with mistakes

Read more about Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey and reply to this post. Discuss:  What events do these two epic poems convey?  Why were Homer’s epic poems part of a schoolboy’s education? And finally, how did stories about heroes and heroines influence civilization?

There is also an essay about Greek Life as depicted by Homer on this page, check it out.

  • The Illiad is about the Trojan war, and the Odyssey is about a guy who was in the trojan war and then it spoke how his life was when it was over. These poems teach people about ancient civilizations.
    • I like your comment,but I wish you could have add more about how the poems have influenced civilization.
  • The Lliad is an epic poem that tells of thh war between the Greeks and the Trojans.The Odyssey tells of the adventures of a hero and the Greeks on their return home from Troy.The school boys learned these poems because they tell of heroes in the community.The poems could have influenced important people in history to commit acts that have changed civilization.

Sample Blog Post 2
I did a lot of coaching on how to speak in a scholarly way when posting and commenting on others posts.
My Mini-Computer Lab
Here is a better photo of the anchor chart posted in my in class computer station as a reminder of proper etiquette when posting on the blog.
Blogging Checklist Anchor Chart
This is a great way to get students engaging in discussions about learning topics and/or text and there are so many ways that it can be used.  I'd love to hear about how you use blogging in the classroom.

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