Utilizing Classroom Blogs @ 3 Different Levels

Elementary School Blog 

Ms. Hanna’s Room 202

Tracey Hanna teaches 5th grade in Harwich, Massachusetts. I really liked all of the information that was given about the class, the town, as well was Ms. Hanna. I like how there are many pictures taken throughout the year and information that is shared. I feel like it would definitely take a lot of time and dedication to keep up with this classroom blog.

I really liked the Blog Guidelines that were posted because it makes it clear and easy for everyone to see what is expected. I think that Ms. Hanna has really set a good example for her students by posting these and giving them the proper information about how to be safe on the internet. To go along with the Blog Guidelines, Ms. Hanna also posted Why We Blog, which I really enjoyed. I think that the benefits of blogging are great and Ms. Hanna lays them out very nicely. As cheesy as it might be, I thought that her Mr. Rogers post was great! I loved Mr. Rogers and this post really does have a great message for the students, but it is updated to keep their interest. I love that Ms. Hanna allows her students to post on the blog and then respond to each other as shown in this Softball post. The students are able to give information and then comment back and forth to each other. I think this is an effective way to blog in the classroom and I enjoyed this site a lot.

Middle School Blog

Science Fix

Darren Fix is a middle school 7th and 8th grade science teacher in Rocklin, California. He also is the lead technology teacher and has a masters in technology. I choose this blog because I loved all of the experiment videos. This blog is semi- interactive because at the end of each post Mr. Fix posts a question and asks the viewer to leave a comment if they have any ideas. I love the questions that are asked and I think that these ideas are great experiments to engage students.

The first post that I really liked was Sodium Acetate Crystallization. I don’t quite understand why this works and it’s a little over my head, but as I was watching the video I was thinking about my elementary students who learn about crystallization in our science units. It’s always hard to explain what a crystal looks like and sometime the experiments that we use don’t work, so this video of instant crystallization would really help them to visualize what a crystal is. What a cool experiment this is- Hydrogen Egg Bomb. Not only does the video help students to understand chemical reactions, but Mr. Fix also provides links to where he got the ideas for his experiments.

High School Blog

The Reading Zone

Sarah is a former 6th grade LA teacher and currently a high school English teacher. It is evident that Sarah loves to read and hopes to instill this love with her students. One think that I love is that Sarah tried to incorporate technology into her classroom and she says that “Reading and Technology do not have to be at odds!” Not only does this blog focus on Reading, but she also throws in some writing and writing workshop into the mix.

The first post that caught my eye was Taking a dip in the Nonfiction Pool. A lot of my elementary level students enjoy nonfiction but I was interested to see if this love continues into high school. Sarah also co-teaches a Humanities class and her and her co-teacher decided to bring in the NY Times into their daily 9th grade class routine. She noted that by doing this their discussions have increased incredibly and it has helped most students to increase their background knowledge. By doing this students are able to continue to follow the stories in the news and can write for bias or fact/opinion. I love the idea of bringing real information into the classroom and having open discussions. I also enjoyed this post Making time for Summer Reading or Audiobooks are Awesome. Audiobooks are new to me and during my Children’s Literature class I learned to love them. I frequently say I don’t have time to read or I am too busy and Audiobooks allow you to listen to a great story. In this post Sarah has linked to two great articles about Audiobooks and she has given a great site for students to get 2 free downloads.

Things I learned…

I do have a school/classroom blog, but definitely not an effective one compared to the 3 that I checked out this week. My blog was more used a place for students to practice their typing and answer BCR questions, whereas these blogs are more for the school community and the blogging community. I think that a blog is very useful and engaging for students.  I would like to try to keep up with my blog better and try to make it more kid friendly. I also think blogs are a great way to reach out to the community. I feel like you could set a time at the end of each day for students to take turns typing about what they did that day and post it to your classroom blog. That when students get home and their parents say, “What did you do today at school?” the student could say let’s check out our classroom blog. Also for students who do not have access to a computer at home this would give them practice during the school day to effectively use a computer. Overall I have learned a lot from all of the blogs that I have listed above and I would hope to keep checking out these blogs and gain some more knowledge about how to be an effective classroom blogger.

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