Developing Blogging Skills: Simple Rubric

I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a blogging scope and sequence for a while. However, something about that idea makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like the thought of limiting blogging skills to certain age levels.

For example, a number of my grade two students were sourcing and attributing Creative Commons materials for blog posts, and using HTML in comments. These sorts of skills would probably not appear in the grade two section of any blogging scope and sequence.

I find blogging to be a fantastic avenue for students to work at their own pace, while developing their skills as far as their capabilities and interests allow.

A number of teachers who are introducing blogging into their classrooms have asked me what they should teach their students next. I decided a simple rubric might help blogging teachers and students to gain ideas on how skills can be developed. It could also be used to assess student or class blogs, however that is not the intention.

I have borrowed a couple of ideas from Kim Cofino’s Blogging Scope and Sequence (with permission), while incorporating many of the ideas I have developed through blogging with my students.

Educational Blogging Rubric

If you are having trouble viewing/downloading the rubric, you can access the PDF here K Morris Blogging Rubric November 2012

What would you add to the rubric?

How could you use this document?

Internet Safety Posters

I recently wrote three posts around the issues of internet use and cyber safety.

10 Internet Safety Tips for Students

10 Internet Use Tips for Teachers

10 Internet Safety Tips for Parents

I have transferred the information in these posts into a set of posters which might make a useful display or handout. Feel free to download or print them for your own educational use.

10 Internet SafetyTips for Students Poster November 2012


10 Internet Use Tips for Teachers Poster November 2012


10 Internet Safety Tips for Parents Poster November 2012

If you’re having trouble downloading the Scribd documents, you can find the PDF versions below.

10 Internet SafetyTips for Students Poster November 2012

10 Internet Use Tips for Teachers Poster November 2012

10 Internet Safety Tips for Parents Poster November 2012

Good luck!

10 Internet Use Tips for Teachers

Last week I attended a presentation by former police officer and cyber safety expert, Susan McLean. There was a lot to think about at this session and I wrote a post with 10 Internet Safety Tips for Students. 

I do have some concerns about the way some teachers conduct themselves online and promote internet safety in the classroom.

I think it’s important that internet safety is regularly discussed amongst staff in schools. Technology moves so quickly and trends can change dramatically in the space of months.

Teachers who are not regular users of the internet, and even some who do use the internet extensively, don’t know what they don’t know.

Issues such as cyber bullying, sexting and internet addiction are only going to become more prominent as children’s access to technology continues to increase. It’s so important that teachers are equipped to teach about these issues as a preventative, and follow-up issues as they occur.


Here are some key messages around internet safety and online conduct that I believe all teachers should be aware of.

Some of these ideas were gathered from Susan McLean’s session.

  1. Don’t allow possible problems with internet use stop you from making the most of technology both in your professional and personal life.
  2. If your employer has guidelines for internet use, be aware of them. DEECD employees should be familiar with Using Social Media: Guide for Department Employees. 
  3. Develop school internet use policies for your staff, students and families. Make sure all members of the school community are aware of your policies and guidelines.
  4. Teach your students about internet safety regularly and authentically. I have found blogging to be an excellent way to have an ongoing dialogue about these issues. Make the most of online resources such as the Australian government website, Cybersmart, and the US site, NetSmartz.
  5. Teach your students about basic internet safety tips. Students should also be taught about plagiarism, copyright, Creative Commons, search engines and effective research techniques. These are important areas for teachers and students to know about if they want to use the internet effectively and legally.
  6. Find out what your students do online when they’re outside of your classroom. If you’re not sure about the online spaces that your students and school community are using, take time to explore and find out how the various sites work.
  7. If students or parents approach you with issues regarding cyber bullying or safe internet use, it’s important to deal with them. Encourage your students to talk to you about any concerns they might be having with their internet use.
  8. Choose sensible names for your usernames, email addresses etc. Use strong passwords and change them a number of times a year. This Common Craft video provides an excellent explanation of secure passwords.
  9. Protect your digital reputation: don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your friends, family, colleagues and employers to see. Protect your personal social media or other internet accounts with privacy settings.
  10. Avoid adding students and parents as friends on personal social networks. I believe the exception would be if your account is purely professional. However, do not add children who are under 13 on social networks with age restrictions.

What other internet use tips for teachers would you add? I’m sure there are many more.

How does your school help equip teachers to deal with issues around internet safety?

10 Internet Safety Tips for Students

Last night I attended a presentation by former police officer and cyber safety expert, Susan McLean. She addressed many issues around internet safety, cyber bullying, sexting, problematic internet behaviour and digital reputation.

Attribution: non-commercial

Internet safety is something I try to address frequently and authentically with my students. I have found education around this issue to be so important.

When students develop internet behaviours without guidance, problems are sure to occur. My hope is that teaching students some key messages from a young age will help them navigate their way safely through the internet as they grow older.

I have found blogging to be an excellent way to teach students about being responsible digital citizens and members of online communities. I have seen other tools such as Edmodo used to promote positive internet behaviours too.

Here are some key messages around internet safety that I believe all students should be aware of.

Most of these are tips I share with my students with some ideas from Susan McLean.

  1. Always ask an adult if you’re unsure of anything when you are online.
  2. Don’t sign up for sites that are 13+ if you are not old enough (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc).
  3. Remember YAPPY (the personal information you should not share online) – Your full name, address, phone number, passwords, your plans. 
  4. Don’t add people as online friends unless you know them in real life or have parent permission. Never arrange to meet an online friend without talking to a parent.
  5. Remember that you cannot believe everything you read on the internet and you can’t trust everything online friends tell you.
  6. Choose sensible names for usernames, email addresses etc. 
  7. Talk to your parents about what you’re doing online and let them know when you’re going on the internet.
  8. Know what cyber bullying is and tell someone if you think it’s happening to you. Cyber bullying is when someone picks on you, annoys, embarrasses, or threatens you over and over again using technology, such as the internet or a phone.
  9. Protect your digital footprint: don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want all your friends, family, teachers and future employers to see.
  10. Treat others online the way you’d like to be treated.

Find more great information about internet safety on the government website, Cybersmart.

Here is a great video with tips for students from CommonSenseMedia. I found it via Jenny Luca’s wonderful post on digital footprints.

What other internet safety tips would you add?

How do you teach internet safety in your classroom?

I plan to write about tips for teachers and parents in my next posts.

Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog

I have revised the posts I have written in the past to create a nine page, five step guide to beginning a class blog. Feel free to view, print or download the document to help you get started on your blogging journey.

Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog

If you’re having trouble with the Scribd document, you can access the PDF here Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog

Good luck!

Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog in 2012

I revised this post in August 2012 to create a nine page, five step guide to beginning a class blog. Feel free to view, print or download the document to help you get started on your blogging journey.

Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog

If you’re having trouble with the Scribd document, you can access the PDF here Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog

Good luck!

Grade Two Students Blogging with Purpose in the Local Community

Last week, Kelly Jordan and I were approached by our local radio station, Bay FM. They were interested in the way our grade two students were blogging and wanted to talk to us about joining forces for a special project.

After meeting with Patrick from Bay FM, we decided that our students would be regular guest bloggers on the station website, and learn about professional writing and the media along the way.

Patrick presented our class with a “content agreement”, working as if our students were freelance bloggers in a paid position (of course, it is actually unpaid).

The content agreement stated the formatting requirements, topic guidelines and time frames.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the rest of the year, a different student from 2KM and 2KJ will write a guest post which we will post directly onto the BayFM website.

Their topic will be something that appeals to the Geelong community such as,

  • A recipe
  • Commentary on a current news event
  • History or an article celebrating the anniversary of something
  • Restaurant review
  • Travel information
  • How to guide

After nearly a year of blogging, Kelly and I know our students are up to the task and the parent support has been extremely positive.

We think this will be a fabulous way to conclude the year and we know our students will get a lot out of this authentic and purposeful activity.

Visit Bay FM to see our student posts!


How have you been able to link learning to the community?

Are You On Twitter Yet?

Earlier this year, Kelly Jordan and I gave a few presentations on using Twitter for educators at various events.

If you’re not yet on Twitter, read this post to find out some reasons why you should be.

Confused about the Twitter language? Hopefully this brief explanation will help.

Need more tips? Check out my post of 10 Twitter Tips.

Twitter has certainly had an impact on my grade two students. Discover one example of how Twitter has impacted a student, here.

Finally, click here if you want to learn more about hashtags, which seem to be popping up more and more in a wide range of media.


Blogging with Very Young Students

As most readers will know, blogging is a big part of my Grade Two classroom. Over the past few years I have worked out strategies and processes to make blogging work for my seven and eight year old students.

While my students are young, I have found with explicit instructions, high expectations, clear routines, parent involvement and peer tutoring they can achieve amazing things with blogging and ICT.

I have been asked a number of time whether blogging can work with students younger than Grade Two. The answer is yes.

In my class we follow this process throughout the year, starting with students learning about quality commenting before moving on to posts and finally earning their own blog.

blogging progression

While younger students might not move along this continuum as quickly, they too can do amazing things. There are so many students around the world as young as five who are gaining the benefits of being involved in educational blogging.

I thought I would include links to just a few Prep (aka Kindergarten/Reception) and Grade One blogs but as you can see, this list is quite long and definitely not exhaustive!

Prep and Grade One Blogs:

Learning Together – Mrs Kennedy’s Prep Class in Blackburn South Melbourne.

Discovery Den – Miss W’s Prep Class in Melbourne.

We Love Learning – Prep S’s Class in Blackburn South Melbourne.

Room 2 Rockets – Miss Revell’s Grade One/Two class in New Zealand.

A4 – Good Things Come in Small Packages – Prep/One class in Auckland, New Zealand.

A3 – All Things Great and Small – Year One class in Auckland, New Zealand.

Mrs Cassidy’s Classroom Blog – Mrs Cassidy’s Grade One class in Canada.

Open the Door to B4 – Mrs McKenzie’s Prep/One/Two class in New Zealand.

Grade 1B and 1C – Miss Hunichen and Mrs Hollands’ Grade One blog in New Gisborne, Victoria.

Grade 1/2’s Epsom – Mrs Davey’s Grade One/Two class in Epsom, Victoria.

Look What’s Happening in Room 102 – Mrs Lynch’s Grade One class in Quebec, Canada.

Mrs W and Prep/One/Two @ Harston Primary – A class in Harston, Victoria.

Prep Learning Unit – A Prep blog from Bellaire PS in Victoria.

A Peek Inside – Mrs Dowling’s Prep/One blog in New South Wales.

Miss Dunsiger’s Class – Links to Miss Dunsiger’s Grade One’s individual student blogs (2010).

Trish’s Troops 1TD – Grade One class in Ballarat, Victoria.

Many of these classes have found different ways to make blogging work for them. Some of these strategies include:

  • Getting parents involved – A blog is something that parents can sit down and comment on with their child at home. Blogs can create a bridge between home and school. There is numerous research which suggests that family participation in learning is one of the most accurate predictors of a child’s success in school and beyond. I have written more about getting parents involved in blogging here.
  • Using lots of visuals and multimedia – Emergent readers can connect and contribute to the blog with voice recordings, videos, slideshows, VoiceThreads etc.
  • Having student quotes in posts (typed by the teacher) – These comments are colour coded so beginner readers know which colour comment is theirs when they go home and show their parents. The example below is from the Prep Discovery Den blog.

RoomW comments

What other great class blogs do you know of with students in their first two years of school?

What other tips do you have for blogging with very young students?

Blogging and Students with Austism Spectrum Disorders

When I first started blogging with my class in 2008, I thought it would be a bit of fun and a good way to communicate with parents.

Over the years, I have come to realise that the benefits are much more than this and the more benefits I unravel, the more I am encouraged to make blogging a priority in my classroom.

I have written about the benefits of blogging here, but this diagram (which is not exhaustive) summarises just some of the key benefits.

benefits of blogging 2

I have recently been reflecting on another benefit for certain students, after a number of discussions with parents.

A parent’s perspective

Over the past few years I have taught a number of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and observed how much a number of them enjoyed blogging.

One parent recently explained to me why she thinks blogging works for her son who has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Social Skills

Blogging has helped with his social skills, as not only does he interact with me whilst writing comments, replies and now posts he also has to think of appropriate ways to respond to questions, comments and the post. He also has a structure that he follows starting off with complimenting, which he struggles with due to his ASD, but since blogging I have seen an improvement. He then looks at the information they have written and tries to think of a way to engage the other person, this is also hindered by ASD, but again I have seen an improvement.

Pragmatic Language Difficulties

Blogging allows him to be social without having to take pragmatic language into account, it also allows him to practice his skills in a non-threatening manner (not in front of others).


Blogging has given him a way to engage with others as they speak to him at school about what he has written and give him praise about being a good blogger which helps with his confidence.


He has also been able to put social skills into practice when assisting others with blogging.


In a similar way, I have seen students without ASD but who are simply shy, quiet or lacking confidence really blossom through having a blog or working on the class blog. Students who have previously gone somewhat “under the radar” have found their voice and developed confidence by being a blogger.

While some people may be quick to say that blogging and online social media can inhibit social skills, I see blogging as a terrific starting point. It can help certain individuals to practice their skills and transfer them into the “offline world”.


There is no denying that they way we approach blogging in our class is highly structured and I think this works well for many students with ASD (and many other students). One example of this is the way we teach and encourage quality commenting which I see as contributing to the high standard of literacy skills my students are demonstrating.

Note – I am not claiming to be an expert with ASDs or suggesting all individuals with ASD would respond to blogging but for a number of students I have taught, I have found it to be an effective tool that is well worth pursuing.

Have you had any experience working with students with ASD and technology?

What do you think about using online technologies to develop offline skills?