Thanks Katie for the inspiration to write this blog post. Katie has written about setting up a class blog for her prac class, so thought I would share my own experience while getting to know my year 1 class. I have been sitting in on the morning sessions every Tuesday (while my son is in daycare) to familiarise myself with the class and get to know their routines, strengths and limitations. I asked my mentor teacher if it was OK to set up a class blog so that it would be up and running by the time I embarked on prac. I tweeted about my intentions and got some great responses, but decided to go with kidblog as the platform to set it up. The first thing I did was sent a note home to parents introducing myself and the course requirements for EDC3100, along with directions on how to post a blog and respond to a blog. Each week I would post something, revealing a little bit about myself and my family and we would read the posts during class. I have since taken photos of each of the students (with permission) and set up their own profile. I have uploaded photos, games and links to different websites which the students always get excited about when we read the weekly post. Although slow to start, several students have now blogged about what they are doing during the school holidays and different highlights (Ethan lost a tooth on the weekend). It is extremely rewarding to see students get excited about writing, especially for those whose penmanship is not all that great. I am hoping to use the class blog as a learning platform during my prac experience as a way to introduce ICT general capabilities and digital citizenship in addition to promoting writing and specific ICT skills such as uploading photos and keyboard dexterity.
Like Katie I believe this is a great way to establish and maintain a relationship with parents and showing them the positive benefits of classroom blogging and the online community. Homework tasks and additional activities can also be uploaded, so that parents and students can share the experience together. For the time being I have left the privacy settings of the class blog restricted to members but eventually I think the students would feel a sense of achievement at getting a response from outside the classroom, as I know we all do with our EDC3100 blog requirement. Click on the screenshot below to visit our site, so far we have had 307 visitors and the kids are really excited!
Smartblog on Education has also provided some persuasive reasons for blogging with your students, and worth the read. I would also like to endorse the following blog page set up for a senior class in the USA and they are looking for feedback. After reading the posts of these seniors, and they cover a variety of interests from global warming to basketball, you can see how effective this learning activity is as it gives students a voice and ownership of their work. If you have a spare moment, and I know your time is precious I think these students would love the feedback