Final Reflection of Student Blogging experience

I started my class blog as a major assignment in my EC&I 831 class but it have evolved to more than just an assignment.  I am thankful we had a lot of freedom when choosing this what we wanted to focus on this semester because I was always interested in blogging with students but I hadn’t yet had the push that was needed to get me started.  Even though this class has concluded, my Grade 2 students will be continuing with their blogs for the remainder of the school year.  It feels like we are just getting started!

Last week my class was asked to blog a short post about spring. Their prompt were “what do you like about spring?” “what do you do in spring” “What does spring look and feel like?”  Many of them also had time to insert a picture on their post that I had previously saved on a file in our school’s global drive.  I am SO happy to announce that this was the most stress free hour of blogging we have had yet! This tells me that students are becoming more independent bloggers and I have two “blogging experts” trained to help out as well.

I am happy that I learned about blogging with young students over this semester and happy that I involved my students and their families in this project.  Not only did I increase my knowledge but I increased 21 seven and eight year olds knowledge about blogging, typing and digital citizenship as well!

I feel I chose a topic directly related to social media, open education and networked learning but I also want to reflect upon “What I learned about learning online”.  I connected with Kathy Cassidy early in the semester to ask for some tips and help with setting up my student edublogs.  I was very thankful for the free upgrade to the Plus account on Edublogs, it would definitely be worth the $40 next year though.  I also used Twitter to connect with two other teachers using classroom blogs (edublogs and seesaw) and I tweeted to Edublogs to see if they had any great hashtags I should follow.

I am not nervous to use Twitter any more which I think is a huge accomplishment!  Next year I hope to get my students tweeting more, once I create a classroom account!

Last week I created a short video about blogging with my students.  It is quite candid, as a I did not give them any prompting. I think it is easy to see that they have really enjoyed this experience as well!

 

Advertisements

Student blogging update

Things are continuing to go well with my learning project of creating a class blog with my students.  My goals for this project were to create a class blog, post class updates and pictures on the main page, have my students write individual posts, have students post a picture and/or video and connect with another classroom.  I am happy to report that we have accomplished all of these goals!

I hoped to connect to another class who uses edublogs and have my students pair up with another student and become blogging buddies.  It took me a lot longer than anticipated to get my students comfortable with logging on and writing their own post that I haven’t yet had them comment on an outside blog.  I encourage my students to comment on my main post and leave comments for each other.  I taught my student to leave positive comments to their peers that might include a though provoking question or a question to encourage a conversation.   We were SO lucky to have one of my fellow classmates, Erin Benjamin’s Grade 2 class from Regina check out our blog.  Mrs. Benjamin and her class commented on each of my students blogs.  My students were over the moon excited! They were excited to have someone other than myself and their parents read and react to their posts! The next day we checked out Mrs. Benjamin’s class blog on SeeSaw and wrote a comment back to them.  I would like to try to write back to each student as well, but it would be easier to do so as a class.

I have about five students who are posting outside of class time to their blFullSizeRenderog.  When we are at school, I usually give my students a topic to post about that is school related. When my students are at home and choose to blog, they are mostly writing about a personal
experience such as a birthday party they attended or last nights hockey game. I love to see them so engaged that they are writing from home!  I even had a few students blog over the Easter break, one student even blogged from Phoenix, Arizona!

 

 

This week, a fellow colleague from down the hall shared a recent blog post he wrote about his students using Edmodo.  I connected a lot to what Alan said in his post, Edmodo for Authentic Writing.  Alan explains that he uses his students edmodo writing for a lot of assessment. He states “I catch them at their most eloquent, when they are engaged, and independent. Personal voice shines through.” Although my Grade 2’s have not been blogging as long as Alan’s Grade 4 and 5 students, I still believe that I am seeing very authentic writing with some of my students.  Alan also comments that he promotes his students writing on Edmodo because of parent engagement.  I am always excited when my students receive parent comments on their blogs, this week we even had an aunt from a different city comment on two of my students blogs (they are twin brothers).  It is great to see students and parents share our class blog with other family members. 

 

Successful week of blogging in Grade 2

This past week was a great week in my Grade 2 classroom!  We had a much more successful week learning how to add more to our individual student blogs.   This week I taught my students how to upload a saved image onto their blog.   We are using Edublogs and I found it quite easy to teach my students, step by step how to insert their saved image.  Now, since this was a very new territory, I had to do the first few steps on my own.   I took a picture of each student reading one of their books from their book bags. Then I saved each image into a file on our school’s “Global” network.  My students then only had to log in to their blogs, click “Add Media”, find their image, and upload.  I asked them to write 3-5 sentences about the book they are reading.  This might sound extremely simple to some of you up there but the student part of this process took almost an hour.  If we had no laptop log in complications it would have been less time!  I have lucky to have a 3rd year University of Regina pre-intern in my classroom right now doing her three week teaching block, it was extremely helpful to have  helping had with this task!

Check out some of my students posts about their books:

Liliya

Ashlyn 

Tylan

I just finished a round of Student Led Conferences with my Grade 2’s and their parents.  I am a little embarrassed to state that my students are still using paper portfolios to share their work with their family.  George Couros, blogged this week about “The (Nearly) Invisible Portfolio”. George discusses how many portfolios being created in schools are made to be shared with the school, home and teacher – the sharing stops beyond that. He also mentions that when using open digital portfolios, that he believes the student should have the power to decide what work will be shared with the world, not the only teacher.  I love this quote that George found by Rushton Hurley.

I would love to try to using digital portfolios in the near future with one of my future classes. I would like to use SeeSaw as my platform instead of Edublogs. SeeSaw seems to be better set up for students to share photos, videos and drawings.  This year, with this learning project, I am more focussed on having my students learn to love writing and write for a larger audience and Edublogs has been fine for such.  

I love reading about how a fellow classmate, Erin Benjamin, is using SeeSaw with her Grade 2’s to create student blogs and digital portfolios. From the reading I have done, I believe SeeSaw would be more kid friendly than what my class is currently using.  SeeSaw has several twitter hashtags started for teachers to follow and learn more from each other about using SeeSaw (#SeeSawchat) This would have been a great way to network with other users.  Today I tweeted to @edublogs and @Suewaters asking them if they knew of any great Edublog hashtags I could follow to learn more about using their service and find other teachers to connect with.  I have not heard anything yet, but hope to soon! 

 I enjoyed checking out another ECI831 classmates, Nathan Bromm’s  blog this week because he is also using Edublogs to blog with his students. I enjoyed looking at some of his students blogs to see what older elementary students could do using Edublogs. I will show my Grade 2’s this week what they could do on Edublogs once they become better writers! 

As a pondered this week whether I chose the best blogging platform for my students, I came across a great comparison chart made by Richard Bryne- Free Technology for Teachers .  In his post, 7 Blogging Platforms for Teachers Compared and Ranked, he shares a great chart which compares the features of many popular blogging and digital portfolio platforms.  He also summarizes each platform at the end of his post and ranks them. He ranked Edublog #4 and SeeSaw #5.  I look forward to becoming more comfortable with Edublog this year and possibly trying out SeeSew next year!

What are your preferences for student blogging platforms?

 

 

 

Well that was interesting..

This week was a slight disaster in the Grade 2 blogging world.

I will begin with some positives.

  • All of my students are able to get on our class blog successfully. They can log in and write a short post.
  • My students are also commenting on each other’s posts. The comments continue to be very positive (or else I would not approve) and some are also constructive example: “that is good, write more please”
  • Parents are accessing our blog!  We have had a few parent comments on student’s individual posts. This is great to see!
  • I found and paid for a great app called “Draw and Tell” The can be used to create an addition and subtraction story while the students record their voice. My students have seen examples of this on Mrs. Cassidy’s class blog and they were excited to create their own!

My goal this week was to have my students post something beyond just writing about a personal experience or sharing something we have learned about.  I wanted my students to use an app to share their learning by posting a quick video of themselves creating and solving a math story problem. Of course things do not always go as planned.

I have three desktop computers in my room (plus my own computer) and two ipads. Once  a week I have our laptop cart booked.  For about one hour we bring in the laptops and I teach them a new skill on the computers or recently we have been writing a blog post.  This week I needed my students to work independently on the laptops while I worked in small groups on the ipads.  I took this time to teach two students at a time how to create their word problem on the ipad using the app “Draw and Tell”. This app came recommended by Mrs. Cassidy.  We had about 1 hour and 10 minutes and I only got 5 kids through on the ipads!  I was so disappointed! We do have a class set of ipads but I really thought we needed to do this in small groups so I could show them step by step how to create this video.3986997574
I was already feeling frustrated that I did not get to work with enough students but then I realized I was mostly going to have to post the video to the blog by myself. I tried to get the students to help but I was frustrated and knew it would be quicker if I just did the clicking on my own 😦

THEN the videos did not even upload correctly.  See some examples here and here.  I hoped the video would show right on the blog instead of directing viewers to a separate link. I will work on this to figure it out! In the second link I shared, his audio worked but the video did not 😦

Although I am frustrated, we will try this again! I suppose it wasn’t a huge disaster, but I had it in my mind that it would go one way and nothing seemed to go right  I have a pre-intern in my room now for the next three weeks so it will be helpful to have another set of hands when we bring in the laptops and computers!

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!  Does anyone know any other ways I can have my students post a video? Maybe I should have just started smaller and had them post a picture of their work from an ipad first.

Oh well, you live and learn!