Blogging in the Classroom
Report on a field trip or virtual field trip
Have students act as reporters talking about a field trip or special event. They can pretend to have interviewed a cow at the farm they visited or be straightforward in reporting the real events of the trip. Students could also write up a virtual field trip they took online in class.
Share a Photo of your Classroom
Encourage children from your class to leave comments about what they like about it or even suggestions for changes they would like to see.
Publish Children’s Work
Don’t just post work that is flawless but also invite comments and suggestions on work that can be improved.
Write a sports story
Have students write a newspaper-style sports account of their own soccer/tennis match or swimming lesson. Encourage them to read and comment to each other or to invite parents to comment (younger students).
Report on a holiday or long weekend
When returning from a break, ask students to write a blog entry from the point of view of the family dog on their weekend trip or even as the bag/suitcase they packed and took along. Always encourage commenting on other’s stories.
Role-play a point of view
Have students write a blog entry from a different angle. Have them write as an inanimate object, such as an igneous rock when you are studying types of rock. Choose curriculum-related people of objects and assign a specific thing they must talk about, preferably something that will prompt a heated opinion and require that they demonstrate understanding of curriculum, as well. Example – You are an astronaut, and you just found out that you are going to live on the International Space Station
Write a community tour with pictures
As part of an SPHE or SESE community or local history lesson create a community tour blog. Each student (pair or group) can take and upload a picture and tell about it. Then invite others in the school or parents to make comments about their favourite locations.
Use free websites like wordle.net or tagxedo.com to create a word cloud. The content could include the names in the class, a collaborative list of words made by a class on a new topic, language relevant to a strand or topic.
Embed a Voki Talking Avatar
Have students use voki.com to create and then embed a talking avatar onto a blog post. This can be an effective way for students to narrate a piece of work, enhance language skills agus is féidir leo a chuid Gaeilge a chleachtadh.
Bounce around a hot topic
Children always have an exaggerated sense of what is “fair.” Use their strong opinions to spark dialog on your blog. Should mobile phines be allowed in class? Are uniforms needes?
Make a “suggestion box” blog
Invite students to contribute ideas to make our classroom a better place.
Invite students to submit a question about school content, related ideas, or “I have always wondered” in advance of starting a new unit. So you could post an image, title or question and ask everyone in the class to post one comment/question before starting the unit will give you a place to focus and make the content more meaningful to them. This idea is sort of an electronic KWL Chart!
Encourage students to post ideas for healthy eating and exercise. They can tell how far they ran or what healthy options they could have in their lunchboxes.
Recipes for success
At the end of a term or even the school year, have students write “recipes for success” in that class. These can remain for others to try in the future. Encourage actual recipe format, including ingredients and procedure.
As you study fractions, world languages, or different cultures, nothing is more popular than using recipes. Have your students share one on the class blog then comment if they try one that another student posted.
Create screencast tutorials, or still image shots for things that you want your students to know. (i.e. how to log into specific sites, or how to play a math game). If your students are older, have them create the tutorials or screenshots. (Download free software like Jing from TechSmith).
Ask an Interesting Maths Question
Give the children a chance to ask their questions. Before someone tries to answer it, value the question and stick it on the blog. Then the whole world can have a go. When the answers come in use them as a discussion point for more maths.
Blog Ice Breaker
This is especially effective near the start of the school year. Use student-selected pseudonyms to register your student users (they must tell only you what their secret identity is) and allow them to comment outside of class on hot topics from class discussion for a few weeks. After a few weeks, ask in class if anyone thinks they know who each f the pseudonyms REALLY is and if they can match all pseudonyms to actual classmates. This is a great way to allow even the shyest people to comment without fear to start the year and to find out which quiet, non-participants in class are quite vocal at a computer. Your students will know each other far better, creating a greater sense of classroom community.
Again a good one for the beginning of the year or a first blog entry to allow students to get to know both each other and the blogging tool. Ask each student to use four images (edited at will) to tell each other about himself/herself. Your techno-savvy students will go to town, and you will not only learn about how your students view themselves, but also about who has the best tech skills to help others when you need it.
Lab research collaboration
In science classes, encourage students to share data they found and collaborate in writing up lab reports on the class blog.
Create a List
Crowd source the class for the top reasons for, e.g. lists of ..
· Reasons my homework is not done
· Best things about my school
· Reasons the government did/didn’t
· Criteria for good video
Start a blog story (set up the setting, characters, and initial situation in an opening paragraph) and let each student who visits comment by adding a sentence or two. If someone goes off topic the other authors will quickly comment to that effect! You can make the story support curriculum, too. For example, the story could be “historical fiction” about a family during the Civil War or baby geese who are migrating. Another way of doing this is to start the story and let each student finish it in their copies for homework. This ensures a visit to the blog that evening.
Start a blog story at the beginning of the year as you begin vocabulary in your English class. Each week, require students to add to the story, using a LOGICAL sentence that both fits the story and uses one of that week’s vocab words. The stories will become lengthy and outrageous as the year goes in, but the kids will be re-reading the words over and over to reinforce them — and laughing as they do! They will NEVER forget those words!
Post a Quiz
Use websites like quizbox.com to create and embed a quiz for children to take at home. Allow the class to work in co-operative groups to write the quiz. Children will begin to create their own quizzes at home and post a link to them in comment boxes.
Family Blogging Month
Students encourage their families to interact with the school blog through leaving comments, etc. Ask a family member living outside of Ireland, a great grand parent, etc to write a guest blog. This could be structured as an interview, a story, the options are endless as to what they could share.
Class groups write and post word problems for others in their class or for younger class groups
Find a “Community”
Your class blog can set up a direct link with another class blog reading the same novel or studying the same topic at the same time. Imagine the view points and opinions on a novel from Dublin and from Sydney.
Share your Classroom Agreement
This can be done at the beginning of the year and is a good way to share your class agreement with the wider community.
Share a Photo of a Classroom Display
Invite the public to ask questions, leave comments, etc.
Post a Math Video from the IWB
For example the written methods for multiplication are included, the children can use it as a revision aid. The parents get to see how the school wants it set out and the children get to comment on their favoured method.
Post Images from your Digital Microscope or Visualiser
Take a screenshot of “What is under our microscope?” asking for people to guess what the image is and to comment on the suggestions.
Create and use a Free Online Poll
Allow students, parents, teachers and followers to have an opinion on something. Use free online polls (or a form in Google drive) to post a question in the form of a poll. Use the results in class as an opening for a discussion.
Share a Poem or Song
Use the blog to share the poetry and songs that the students are learning. Give the students a chance to see the lyrics, listen to the audio, watch a video or see their own performance. You could inspire someone else to learn the poem or song too!
Summarise a visit from a Guest Speaker
Use the blog to summarise information learned from guest speakers. Record information learned from guest speakers so it can be reviewed by the class later.
In any content area: (This works super well after a book/novel) Teacher posts a question. First student answers it and poses a new question. Second student answers that question and poses a third. And so on. Questions cannot be repeated. A great activity for the computer room or in class.
Invite Parents to Share
Have a sharing week/day/month with parents bringing something to your blog, with art work, writing, poetry and encouraging stories. Students will love seeing their parents as co-contributors and part of the learning community.