Friday, April 12, 2013

A New Reason for Student Blogs

I love blogging.  But my eyes were opened when I recently attended the CUE Conference in Palm Springs.  In the very last session of the conference I could hardly contain my excitement when I heard how Dawn-Monique Elkin uses a class blog for a rich Common Core Reader's Workshop Character unit. Whether you have a class set of iPads or just a few computers, students can use blogs to extend the comprehension, increase engagement, motivation, and collaboration.

Students in Mrs. Elkin's 3rd grade use the blog to respond to her posts, and digitally communicate with their peers.  By doing so they deepen their exploration and understanding of various texts and strengthen their overall reading skills.

There are many places to create a blog - Blogger, Wordpress, and Kidblog are a few to start with.  For my class blog, I use Kidblog.  It is free, easy to set up, and the students have no problem learning how to use it.  That is the site that Mrs. Elkin uses as well.  For those with iPads and iPods, there is an app for Kidblog that can be downloaded at the Apple App Store.

If you would like help setting up your class blog, here are a few tips for using Kidblog.  First of all, you will need to set up your classroom account.  Go to the Kidblog homepage, and select Create a Class!

The following pictures will show you how I set up my class blog.  You may want your settings to be different, so make it work for you.  Give your blog a title then choose your theme from the list of themes.  Keep the URL short, and something the students will remember.  You might want to have a QR code for easy navigation to the site.  I didn't use the class signup code.  I just added each student myself to get them all set up.  Put in your timezone by selecting a city near you. 

I make sure that I look at the comments before they get approved.  That way I an talk to students about using academic language, and supporting their ideas with evidence.  I often call students to work with me on editing their conventions in their writing. 

I had my students draw a picture of their face to use for their avatar.  I would never put a student's picture with their name on the Internet.
 I am excited to use blogs with my Universal Access (UA) group in Language Arts.  I know they will do a great job responding to literature while collaborating and communicating with each other.  Do you have a class blog?  How do you use it?


  1. You are welcome Barbara. I first heard about KidBlog at the CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference. I like using it for a class blog because it is easy to set up a separate account for each student. Plus the teacher can approve all their comments or posts before they go live on the web.