Kid Blogging

I’ve been helping at a local Primary School, introducing some of the kids to blogging. I have two groups – six children in each. Year 4 are all boys, and have The Mathematicians blog, and Yr5/6 are three of each, with their Millie’s Secret blog. We had some problems at first with using the kidblog platform on our netbooks – they couldn’t reply to comments, but the support company came in and fixed something and we’re probably now in business again.

The kids love it. Part of their enthusiasm is perhaps due to them being treated as something special – they can escape the regular classwork and do something fun with an old guy who doesn’t shout at them too much!

We started by making avatars of the teachers and then of themselves, which are now part of their blogging identity. We’ve written a few things to get an idea of how blogs work … but now what? I can start giving them blogging challenges but I wonder if I can squeeze them in. You see, by the time they’ve come in and got connected, they only have access to their blogs for, at most, 35 minutes each Friday, and we need to use that time as effectively as we can. The normal thing to do would be to get them to comment on others’ blogs and to refine the skill of commenting, but by the time they’ve written a couple of comments it’s time to go!

I’d welcome any thoughts or suggestions on how to maximise the fun and learning we get out of these short slots.

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6 comments

  1. Mrs Neale Team 100WC

    I have a similar time slot with Year 4’s. I give them a grid on Monday 10 x 10 on A3 – 1 word per square. They then draft a story using the 100 Word Challenge prompt http://100wc.net/ :they can write ANYTHING as long as it includes the prompt or you can direct their learning eg adjectives, similes, adverbs, punctuation etc easy to target with comments each week. In the time allowed they can add their story/paragraph/introduction to your blog. (It doesn’t have to be a complete story!) You then have to link it to the 100 WC, it’s easypeasy.
    Then, each week a member of the 100WC team adds a comment to their post.
    This is the improvement in writing that I have seen from this child in 4 weeks http://www.stnicholasstlaurence.dorset.sch.uk/100-word-challenge-week-15-corey/http://www.stnicholasstlaurence.dorset.sch.uk/100-word-challenge-week-19-by-corey/

  2. wmchamberlain

    Can you have the students bring in what they have already written in their regular classes to type in to their blogs? It takes some kids a lot of time to compose and some are not comfortable composing at the keyboard.

    Another thing you could do is have them bring some of their artwork and you could take pictures of it and upload it. The students could write about their art as well as comment on each other’s work.

    A third thing you can try is using the Kidblog app to take videos of the students. You can easily upload those straight from your iPhone or iPad (if you have access to either). If you are worried about privacy, you can change the privacy settings so that others can’t see what they are doing.

    Wm Chamberlain
    NoelTigers.com
    Comments4Kids.com

    • clivesir

      Great suggestions – many thanks, William! You are right about needing time to compose and not being comfortable at the keyboard. Some are clearly struggling to find their way around and some have bad habits that need to be undone (like using Caps Lock instead of Shift and forgetting to tun it off when entering passwords!).
      Yes, preparing writing/images in advance would make the time use more efficient. We don’t have any i-things but I’m sure I can improvise or upload after.
      Thanks again!

  3. clivesir

    From my friend @JoHart via Twitter:
    Teach them to add images to their blogs, write abt & then comment on others – can bring in CC & copyright. Wordles good also ..
    My last yr students much older but same principles – see some of the course blog posts bit.ly/HGN34q
    … also comments from other students & teachers globally are very motivating – have u seen bit.ly/bZnQom next start March
    If they have tech access at home/outside sessions then taking pics or making images to blog about – drawing to scan in perhaps
    Drafting posts, recording events to blog abt.
    Have u looked at Global Classroom bit.ly/YwmEvW ?

  4. Diana Gross

    I agree that commenting is a large part of the blogging process and so much can be learned from that. Can you split the class: one week, 1/2 of the students the students write comments, while the other 1/2 composes a new post? The next week, flip the groups?

    • CliveSir

      Hi Diana, thanks for dropping by and commenting! And suggesting! I’ll have to think about that one – it’s definitely possible but I’m not sure what the benefits would be – perhaps it would get them to focus more on the task in hand – either commenting OR posting…. hmmm!

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