All of our 4th grade classes are starting blogs. After meeting with the teachers and discussing their goals for blogging, we chose to use Kid Blog as our tool of choice. We chose this tool because it gives teachers the options to set several privacy settings, monitor posts & comments, and also simultaneously creates a class blog as well as individual blogs for all students. I showed the teachers how to quickly import their students into KidBlog and setup accounts. They each setup their own class.
Our 4th grade classrooms are all trying out a special time in their day called Heart Time. During this time, each student has a specified amount of time to work on something that truly matters to them. Some construct masks. Others explore drum making. Some spend time writing. The possibilities for this time are endless. There are many pieces to this time. One piece is for students to begin to learn about what matters to one another and spend time sharing and connecting with one another. The teachers’ hope is that these classroom discussions can be documented through blogging so that they document the process but also impact a larger audience than just the classroom. Other classrooms could learn from what these students are exploring. Also, members of the community might make a connection with a student and be able to share their own expertise with a student if they know what that student is exploring.
We held a kickoff to the blogging project. During the kickoff, all of the 4th grade classes rotated through 3 centers. With me, students learned a bit of history about blogging. We learned that in 1999 there was less than 100 blogs and today there’s well over 100 million blogs. We looked at this blog, and I explained how blogging has a purpose. Students were wowed when they saw the map of where people are reading the media center blog.
With Vicki Michaelis, a parent, students learned about how blogging is used in careers. Vicki does sports blogging through her career at UGA, so she was able to show students how she uses blogs to reach her audience.
With Heather Carlson, 4th grade gifted teacher, students explored blogging ethics and the importance of proofreading and deciding what to post or not post online.
Next, students will begin exploring their blogs in class and using this new tool to document their learning throughout the year. I can’t wait to read what they write!