blogging

Stand out Tech Tools for the Classroom

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A typical week entails working with a wide variety of age groups ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade.  Emphasis is placed on creating standards aligned technology experiences that foster collaboration and creativity while cultivating important digital literacy skills. Listed below are stand out tools that I commonly use in the classroom. Not only do these tools represent multiple modes of learning, they have been student approved as engaging ways to demonstrate knowledge.

Productivity/organization

Microsoft Teams, a new interactive, chat based workspace for streamlined digital learning and teaching.

Assessment

Formative– Online tool allowing you to deliver assessments. Student assessment data is displayed in real time and feedback can be provided immediately.

Edpuzzle– Assess students using online videos. Select a video that aligns with your content, annotate the video using text or voiceover, and add a question set. Edpuzzle generates reports based on usage.

Presentation

Sway- Housed in our Office 365 set of applications, Sway allows students to create multimedia presentations.  Using simple drag and drop functions, Sway is appropriate for students in grades 1 and up.

Digital Storytelling

Story Bird– Create online storybooks using Story bird’s library of artwork. Students can collaborate on stories, share them via email, and provide feedback to their peers. Teachers can easily create assignments using Story bird’s planning tools.

Math

Prodigy Game– A curriculum aligned math game geared for students in grades 1-8.  Prodigy provides real time reporting along with embedded in-game formative, diagnostic, and summative assessments.

Cross Curricular

Kidblog– Blogging is being used across the district in all subject areas. Provide students with a platform to communicate, provide and receive feedback from peers, and connect with other classrooms.

Code.org– A full coding curriculum allowing students to practice computer science, math, reading, and science skills. Easy to implement and engaging for students.

Scratch.mit.edu- Allows students to create their own interactive stories, games, and animations. Creations can be easily shared with an online community.

Smart board

Smart Exchange– Ready to use lesson plans and resources for your Smart board.

Digital Skills

Email Exchange- Teach students how to tailor their writing to a target audience.

  • Students are writing to an authentic audience.
  • Students can practice focused writing skills.
  • Students are practicing a real word skill.

 

How To Blog with your Students

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Students love to communicate. Allowing students to share what they are passionate about, reflecting on what they have learned, and what sparks their curiosity  benefits their learning on many levels. Students have come a long way from journaling in a spiral bound notebook or a lock and key diary.

If you are searching for an implementation of technology in your classroom, blogging should be at the top of your list.  Aside from being cross curricular, blogging facilitates meaningful learning and provides students with an authentic audience.

Why should your students be blogging?

  • They can write about what the want to write about. Consider adults in the “real world” who blog and blog successfully. They are not given writing prompts or topics, but simply write from personal inspiration.
  • They develop their writing voice. Many students do not know what strong voice sounds like and often student writing lacks voice. Not only can blog writing develop voice, reading blogs can allow students experience in identifying personality and emotion.
  • Blogging promotes reflection. Students should have the time to reflect on what they have learned. Reflective thinking is critical thinking.
  • With blogging, learning is archived. Blogging over a school year(or longer) allows students to see growth and change in their learning.
  • Blogging allows students to develop a positive digital footprint. Stress the importance developing a positive internet presence.
  • Blogging creates engagement. Students enjoy using this non traditional writing format.

Blogging tips:

  • Determine your district policy on blogging.  Keep in mind that there are blogging platforms that are secure, private, and specifically for classroom use.
  • Allow students ample time to read and comment on blogs. A large part of blogging is being participatory.
  •  Whether it be from classmates, parents, or teachers, students need regular feedback on their posts.
  • Stress the importance of a polished entry. Proofread, proofread, and proofread again.
  • Consider starting with one classroom blog where students can contribute. Allowing each student their own blog from the beginning will prove overwhelming.
  • Utilize safe, secure blogging platforms such as Kidblog or Edublogs.

For younger students:

  • Start a class blog in your k-3 classroom and make it a collaborative effort. Solicit content from your students and write a weekly blog post.
  • Invite older students or parents as guest bloggers on your blog.
  • Blog posts with younger children  should include visuals. The post can be based on a visual accompanied by smaller amounts of text.
  • Promote commenting. Younger students can be guided through the commenting process.

If you are considering implementing blogs in your classroom, there are a host of resources and tools to ensure it is a smooth process. Kidblog offers students an excellent platform to begin the blogging process while allowing them a secure writing environment.  Launching blogging lessons in the classrooms will motivate students to write while fostering authentic learning experiences.