Using KidBlog with 2nd Grade

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Last year our 2nd grade teachers collaborated with me on a blogging project using KidBlog.  Our blog was  a way to connect our students with students in Van Meter, Iowa while at the same time showcasing different kinds of writing.  This year, the teachers wanted to start blogging much earlier in the year.

kidblog (3)Each teacher setup her students on KidBlog by uploading a simple excel spreadsheet with names and passwords.  In class, students wrote out their first “post”.  This post was very simple.  Students have been studying important people from Georgia’s history so each student wrote one sentence about one of these Georgians on an index card.  They brought these cards with them to the library to learn about blogging and do their first post.

During our mini lesson, I asked students how many had heard of a blog, and all hands went up.  Then, I ask them who could define what a blog is, and almost all hands went down.  Our first question of exploration was “What is a blog?”  We watched a common craft video on blogging.  I paused along the way and asked students what news they might report on as a 2nd graders.  They mentioned things like:

  • what we do in our classroom
  • math problems that people could solve
  • what we did on vacation
  • books that we are reading
  • and more

Next, I showed them the media center blog.  We looked at the map of readers, tags, how posts are from most recent to oldest, and talked about my audience.

Finally, I showed them Kidblog and how they would login to do their posts.  I stressed the idea that once you click “publish”, your work is instantly connected with an audience.  Students brainstormed what they might need to do before clicking publish.  They said things like:

  • triple check your work
  • check spelling
  • revise and edit
  • read for understanding
  • ask an adult to check your work
  • make sure you said things the way you wanted to say them
  • check that it’s appropriate

Students dispersed to iPads and laptops and began logging in.  Adults circulated and helped students as needed, but students also helped one another to find buttons, login, and any other technical questions they had.  In about an hour, most students were able to learn about blogs & their purpose, make their first post, and go back to class very eager to write more.  The report back from the teachers was that these students are already asking when they will be able to post again.

You can see the beginnings of their work at the following links:

http://kidblog.org/MrsYawnsClassBlog/

http://kidblog.org/MrsRamseyersClassBlog/

http://kidblog.org/MrsWrightsClassBlog/

http://kidblog.org/MrsBrinksClassBlog/

2nd Grade Bloggers

FireShot Screen Capture #017 - 'Barrow Media Center 2nd Graders' - kidblog_org_BarrowMediaCenter2ndGraders - CopyTwo 2nd grade classes have embarked on a blogging project with Shannon Miller’s students in Van Meter, Iowa.  We’ve connected with one another via skype and read the book Same Same but Different.  Our students have been working on writing their first blog posts on KidBlog to introduce themselves.  My students did this on paper, but Shannon’s students did their work in Google Docs.

IMG_0073 - CopyFor the past 2 days, my students have been busy typing their first “About Me” blog post.  While they typed, the teachers and I conferenced with students on their posts to check for details, spelling, and punctuation.  Then, we gave them the thumbs up to publish their post.  After publishing, students could personalize their blog with one of the KidBlog themes.  Both days, the teachers and I were amazed by the students’ focus.  They worked diligently for 45 minutes each day and were very willing to go back and check spelling and edit their punctuation.  Again, I think that the idea of having an authentic audience is very motivating to the students.

Our next step will be to mail our rough drafts to Iowa where Shannon will have her students practice commenting on post-it notes before commenting online.  Her students will mail paper copies of their posts as well so that we can practice too.  From there, we will continue to post a variety of posts and comment on one another’s writing.  IMG_0069 - Copy

The students and teachers are fully of energy for this project, and we are excited to see the work that they are eager to produce.

Their blogs are located at Barrow Media Center 2nd Grade KidBlog.  We invite you to read and comment on their posts.

Our very first blogger posted his "About Me" post

Our very first blogger posted his “About Me” post

“Same, Same but Different”: Making Connections through Blogging with 2nd Grade

983 miles to Van Meter

983 miles to Van Meter

I’m so excited about the project that two 2nd grade classes are working on right now.  Mrs. Ramseyer and Mrs. Wright’s classes are connecting with Shannon Miller’s 2nd grade students in Van Meter, Iowa.  Right now, our 2nd graders are working on opinion writing.  The idea for this project started there, but it has grown into so much more through email and face-to-face conversations with the teachers and tweets, emails, and Google Docs with Shannon Miller.

 

Yesterday, the 2 second grade classes came to the library to kickoff the project.  We looked at Google Earth and mapped the distance from our school to Van Meter Elementary in Van Meter, Iowa.  It is 983 miles and would take over 15 hours to drive there.  Students were also curious about how long it would take to walk there, so Google Earth showed us it would take about 304 hours!  With the approaching snow storm, I’m not sure I want to try that one!

Next we talked about what it means to blog.  I showed them the library blog and how it is read by people all around the world.  We even looked at the Clustr map showing where our blog readers come from.  I was trying to build their understanding of how large your audience is when you publish your writing online.

The students will use Kid Blog to create their blogs.  This tool allows you to quickly create multiple accounts through an Excel spreadsheet upload.  No email addresses are required.  Then, all students have to do is go to the blog, select their name, and type in their password to type their posts.  We took a look at this, and you should have heard the excitement when they saw that their names were already on the screen.

Writing our paper blogs

Writing our paper blogs

IMG_0016Finally, we had the kids brainstorm with a partner what they might write about in a first post.  We wanted the focus to be “About Me”.  Before we sent them to tables to write, I reminded them of the importance of not including personal information such as full names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.  At tables, each student wrote a paper blog post about themselves.  Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Ramseyer, and I all walked around and conferenced with students on their posts.  We were impressed with how much students were willing to write.  I was reminded of the importance of kids having an authentic audience for their work and how motivating that audience can be to even the most reluctant of writers.

Same, Same but Different will be a theme for our conversations

Same, Same but Different will be a theme for our conversations

Today, we connected via Skype with Shannon and her students.  We read the book Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw.   It was such a perfect book because it pushes the notion that all over the world we do things that are the same but they might look a little different.  During our Skype, we paused and let the kids talk about Iowa and Georgia.  They stepped up to the camera and asked questions about one another about the weather, activities, and school population.  They made several connections to the story.  For example, in Iowa it is about to snow a lot.  It takes a major snow for them to get out of school.  We get snow here in GA, too, but we get out of school if there is just a dusting.  Same, same but different!  As we blog with one anther, it is our hope to share our favorite books and opinions as well as continue to explore the idea of how connected we are in the world even though things might look and sound a little different.  I have a feeling students will continue to say “Same, same but different”.IMG_0028

On Monday and Tuesday, our 2nd graders will type and post their blogs.  We will mail our paper versions of our writing to Iowa so that Shannon’s students can practice commenting on them before they actually comment online.  She will do the same with her students’ writing so that we can practice commenting, too.

IMG_0025From there, we hope to connect some more through Skype and through the continued writing of our blogs.

This is going to be a very rich experience for these students, teachers, and librarians!

Students stepped up to ask one another about living in Iowa and Georgia

Students stepped up to ask one another about living in Iowa and Georgia