Action!

            This week I was able to review my GAME plan (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009) and get started on the A (Action) piece.  I was specifically looking for a blogging site that had high level of security, but was also age appropriate for 3rd graders.  Finding and utilizing a blogging site with my students will help me reach my professional goal of developing learning experiences that incorporate digital tools to promote student learning.

            I have had several colleagues, both from Walden and from my school site, suggest that I take a look at the blogging site kidblog.org to see if it would meet my needs.  I did that this week and was impressed with the security features:

  • Teachers have complete control over all student blogs and accounts.
  • Students’ blogs are private- viewable only by classmates and the teacher.  I can moderate all content.
  • The site is fully COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) and does not require personal information from parents

            I was also impressed with the ease and efficiency in the setting up of student user accounts.  It only took me about 15 minutes to enter student user names and passwords and I was able to use previously allotted district login information so that my students don’t have to remember several codes.  This will save us much time when logging on and getting started on the blogging site!

            So far, this experience has been a positive one, but the true test of its usefulness will be when my students actually experiment with the site.  I will need to plan a few tutorials on the use of blogs and explain my expectations of language usage (correct conventions, grammar) and respectful, thoughtful comments.  I am thinking of having my first lesson be a general discussion question (What did you do this weekend?) and just have students practice replying.  I am also thinking of incorporating poetry analysis into one of my first blogging activities, as I need to meet content standards in that area and it will also give students practice in thinking, analyzing, communication via writing, and collaboration skills.  Before that lesson, I will need to find a good piece of poetry that I think all of my students will be able to gain access to (I have a diverse group in terms of reading ability) and yet be meaningful on different levels so that it elicits good conversation and dialogue.  Any suggestions?

 Cennamo, K., Ross, J. D., & Ertmer, P. A. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: a standards-based approach. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth.

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8 Responses to Action!

  1. ehovest says:

    Great Idea! I think having the students first blog about their weekend is a great idea. That is a topic they all can talk about with ease. It will also motivate them for the following lessons because they will enjoy using the blog. It is also important to explain the importance of correct grammar and sentence structure due to the fact that their discussions will be public, meaning they will be online for all their classmates to see and respond to. In addition, I like how your are incorporating poetry into this lesson. This can be a boring topic for some students. Hopefully the use of the blog will excite them enough to keep they interest and motivation high.

    • butkusfamily says:

      Thank you for the comments! I know that explaining, expecting and working through correctly written sentences will take some practice and modeling! I am hoping that kidblog will have a feature that allows me to comment on a student’s discussion post (make editing suggestions) before I post it publicly. I haven’t found a good poetry discussion lesson yet, but I will post it on here when I do. Typically, my 3rd graders have enjoyed poetry, especially when it has a dash of humor in it!

  2. Sharon Coldren says:

    Roxanna,
    Poetry is one of my passions. It is one of my favorite units to teach each year. I teach Language Arts to fifth through eighth graders. When I introduce poetry to my fifth grade students, I typically get I cannot write poetry response. The following year the same students eagerly anticipate the beginning of this unit so they can read classic poetry and create original works of their own. I thought you might be interested in some of the resources I use.
    My unit is based on a book by Kenneth Koch called, Rose Where Did You Get That Red: Teaching Great Poetry to Children (1990). This book is now available as a ebook for the Kindle on Amazon. It contains a wide variety of poems and examples of ways to make poetry reading and writing fun. I emphasize the fun. Students are not bored with the lessons he created. Our textbook resource (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009) states that authentic instruction increases motivation. Reading poetry as a platform for developing writing skills is authentic when students write to share their work with a real audience. I do this by having my students submit their poetry for publication. Here are two legitimate contest publications where my students have been published. The do offer their book for sale but students do not have to purchase the book to get published. The books are also organized around grade levels so student’s age and experience are taken into account when choosing works for publication. I a percentage of your class is chosen for publication, your school receives a free copy of the book. Our school has six years of students work in these two books in the permanent. I begin the poetry unit by going to the school library and sharing poetry written by students that they know. Here are the two places I use to get my students poetry published:
    Creative Communications- Poetic Power: A Celebration of Today’s Writers. http://www.poeticpower.com/entry_form.php?type=essay
    This publication requires that the child must be in school. The student can enter on their own or have a parent or teacher enter for them. It does require that parents sign a permission to publish form
    Anthology of Poetry: http://www.anthologyofpoetry.com/
    This publication allows students or teachers to submit poetry for consideration to be published. It requires that parents sign a consent form if chosen for publication. I currently have four students working independently on poetry to publish in this publication even though we have moved on to another unit in class.
    This website provides information on different publications that publish amateur poetry. It list publishers and links to information on how to determine the authenticity of a poetry contest. It also provides tips on how to identify questionable contest.
    Armature Poetry Anthology: A Guide to Finding Your Published Poems
    http://www.anthologyofpoetry.com/
    I have used all of these sources in developing poetry units for my students.

    As you click through the resources
    May your heart find a store
    Of beauty and elegance
    And delight galore
    Sharon Coldren

    Reference

    Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom
    use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.).
    Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning
    Koch, K. (1990). Rose where did you get that red: Teaching great poetry to children. New
    York, NY.: Random House

  3. butkusfamily says:

    Sharon,
    Thank you so much for your insightful comments and suggested resources! I believe, as you do, that authentic meaningful instruction takes place when students can craft their own work to share with a participating audience. To that end, I think my first lessons will use the discussion blog where students will comment on a published poem that I have chosen (I will read through your suggestions- thank you!) and then perhaps they will publish their own work on their individual blogs. Student can then offer feedback to each other.

  4. Julie Budd says:

    Sharon,

    You are off to a great start in your blogging adventure and I commend you on doing this with your third grade classroom. I have taught third grade for seventeen years and I am hopeful to do a classroom blog in the next few years. Your ideas are helping me understand some ways to easily incorporate blogging with my students.

    One suggestion I have would be to level your questions and or your poems. If you choose a low, medium, high type of questions for the same poem, or three different poems, this may be a way you can manage the diverse groups of reading abilities in your classroom.

    I feel that your first lesson is a great choice. Teaching blogging etiquette is important and something third graders do not understand naturally. In addition, I might suggest teaming up with an older class when the students actually respond to the blog. Having taught third grade, a lot of time is spent just getting all of my students on a website and following the directions. Sometimes I spend twenty minutes rotating around the room and trouble-shooting tech issues such as logins, correct URL etc. At times I feel, “The period is almost over and all of my students took so long finding where they need to be on the internet, they never had enough time to complete their task” If you can even have five students from an older class come help you trouble shoot, this may make the lesson go smoother.

    Good luck in the next week of your blogging adventure.
    Julie Budd

  5. Nicole Fouty says:

    I agree with you the idea of starting your blog with a free write for the students is a great idea. I have not worked much with poetry yet in my teaching experiences. As a student I remember using Shel Silverstein books and really enjoying them. They kept the students interests and were enjoyed by all. Most are meaningful and are at an easy enough readibitly level. Here is a website that list his books:

    http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/bookwizard/books-by/shel-silverstein

    Happy Reading, Nicole

  6. Lisa LeBlanc says:

    Hi Sharon,.
    I hadn’t heard of http://www.kidblog.org before. Thanks for the resource. I am always looking for safety features in kindergarten. I will have to explore this site and its features.
    Thanks!
    Lisa LeBlanc

  7. Bob Amses says:

    Hey Roxanna,

    Congratulations on getting your blogs up and going! I think you made a great choice in kidblog.org. I went through much the same process as you did in choosing a blog hosting site, and I finally decided that kidblog.org was the most secure. I really wanted to use Edublogs.org because I liked the idea of having my students publish “for the world,” but there was one little sticking point regarding moderation of posts…probably minor, but not worth the risk, especially this early in the game.

    My students are working on their second blog postings this week. Week 1 was an informational post on a point of interest somewhere in the world. Week 2 is a comparison between the short story “All Summer in a Day,” and a film of the same of story. As the posts begin coming in, I am seeing that each student’s blog gives me an instantly accessible portfolio of their writing, and I am realizing that this is going to make grading a lot more accurate when it comes time to gauge progress generally and across various genres. I also like that parents can view their child’s assignments “in real time” and also as a complete body of work. I think this will help support parents inquiries into how their kids are doing and identify strengths and opportunities for improvement.

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