Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Let's Get Blogging!

What is a blog?
This year I am happy to introduce a very exciting learning tool in our classroom; our very own student written blog.  A weblog, or blog for short, will function much as in class discussions and work, except through posting and creating work online, we will be able to engage in conversations with across the globe on our work, as well as classmates. This new writing opportunity affords us the chance to help students develop their writing while exposing it to a potentially global audience, thus leading to in-depth discovery, reflection, and redirection in their literacy skills.

This week will serve as an introduction to this tool as we create paper blogs, discuss safety, as well as the overarching purpose of our blogs.  The blog will provide the students with a safe way to communicate with people around the world and will be used extensively thought out the year.  All posts and comments are approved by me, which ensures the safety of the students, as well as the appropriateness of what they post and the comments they get.  This should be a very positive experience for the students and is something that something I value greatly.

Time Expectations

While class time will be provided for blogging, students are able to blog outside of school.  Many students want to blog about their interests and I encourage them to do so.  Our blog is used is a model for student blogging globally so we will discuss how to best represent ourselves to the world.  Spelling, conventions, as well as the ideas we present matter, and they will used to shape our continued writing journey.  Therefore, students are expected to only put their best out there.

Staying Safe

Safe internet behavior is something I take very seriously and something we discuss throughout the year, but particularly here in the beginning of our new adventure.  This week we will discuss the rules for staying safe on the internet using the analogy of how the internet is like the mall.  We will also discuss how a public blog is different from a private journal and the types of posts someone may write.

Throughout the entire year as we blog, I am also a line of defense.  All posts have to be approved by me (there is no way around this) and all comments have to be approved by me (also with no way around it).  All links that get to a student through a post have been clicked on by me and viewed.  In the 4 years of blogging with students, I have never had an unsafe situation, nor any type of cyber-bullying.  The most we have ever gotten are spam comments, which I simply delete before they reach students.  I feel that Kidblog is an incredibly safe way for students to write for an authentic audience and engage in a  global conversation.

If a child does not have permission to have their blog open to the public, they will still blog.  Their posts will only be seen by their classmates and not widely published.  That way no one sticks out and everyone still has the same chance at reflecting.  If you do not want your child’s blog to be shared with people outside the classroom, please let me know so I can setup their account accordingly.

If you would like to see students blogs from previous years and where your child will be blogging this year, please go to www.kidblog.org/mrsrippsclass/

Our first posts will be up by the end of next week.

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact me.

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