Over the last few weeks, I’ve been speaking to many teachers about educational blogging. Sometimes I feel like I live, breathe and dream blogging, so talking on this topic isn’t hard!
Kelly Jordan and I were so pleased with the feedback from our DEECD Innovations Showcase and ICTEV Conference presentations. This has led to many follow up conversations and even a presentation via Skype to staff at Edna Sackson’s school.
A question we have been asked and addressed many times is:
“How do you integrate blogging into your curriculum?”
This is the fourth year I have been blogging with my students. For the first couple of years, I just fit blogging in wherever I could find time. This might have been a few minutes squeezed in during transition times or while the kids were eating their lunches.
I soon realised this was not the best way to unleash the full benefits of blogging.
Like all new ways of working, blogging needs to be prioritised and planned for. It then becomes a habit and the true benefits are realised.
Kelly Jordan and I team teach in an open classroom with 43 students and 10 computers. We don’t have the luxury of a 1:1 program or bank of laptops. We use whole class, small group and rotation structures to make blogging work for us.
This is what blogging looks like in our classroom.
Start the day with blogging
After marking the roll, we spend the first 20 minutes of each day on blogging. Our focus changes each day but we might
- read our latest blog post together
- have students read out the comments they left overnight (great way to motivate students to keep commenting at home!)
- look at one of our blogging buddies’ blogs. We never know what we’re going to learn!
- compose a “quality comment” together as a class
- look at our ClustrMap and discuss place value and geography.
This is the lead in to our Literacy Block so we draw in elements of literacy. If we’re focussing on paragraphs, capital letters, full stops, adjectives or whatever, we’ll talk about this while looking at blog comments.
Blogging in the Literacy Block
Like all junior primary classes here in Victoria, we have a two hour Literacy Block each day. Read more about it here. Every week, one of the activities students complete is blogging on the computers. We call this “working on writing” as it is an authentic way for the students to be practicing their writing.
Blogging in the Computer Lab
We’re at a big school where, due to timetable restraints, our Grade Two students only have specialist ICT classes for the second half of the year. Luckily there are some hours in the computer lab free each week so Kelly and I take our students there once a week. With 43 students it is generally one computer between two but it is a great way to have a focussed blogging session and the students get a lot out of working with a friend.
We have a different focus each week but it often involves responding to a certain post on our blog or our blogging buddies’ blogs.
Whenever we get the chance…
Because blogging is so ingrained in the daily routine in our classroom, our students often ask us if they can blog when they finish their work.
One teacher recently asked us “how do you get to the point where your students are wanting to work on blogging?”. I think it is about creating that culture in your classroom where it is a regular way of working and not an add-on. Blogging for the sake of it or trying to blog on top of the regular classroom curriculum just isn’t going to work. We have a crowded curriculum! Find ways to embed it into what you are already doing. The first place to start is your Literacy Block as blogging is all about literacy. I’d love to hear how you do it!
Check out Henrietta Miller’s post here to find more advice on this topic!