All About Blogging in the Classroom

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					All About Blogging in the Classroom
  Step-By-Step Introductory Lessons for Grade 5 Students

                     By: Aloni Cahusac
              Grade 5 Teacher & Team Leader
       The Canadian International School of Hong Kong




      http://paintermommy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/royston_bloglink.jpg
                                       Blogs for Kids
                                              by Sharon Housley

Flush out the writer in children. Blogging could draw out a young writer and open doors to their future.
Consider encouraging your child to start blogging!
Children love having an audience. The instant recognition and approval that comes from a crowd just
can't be beat. Employing blogs to help develop good spelling habits, grammar skills, and develop a love
for writing at a young age is an innovative concept that has potential benefits:

Benefits

1.) Responsibility/Commitment - Daily Posts
Regular updates require children to be disciplined and responsible.

2.) Communication - Increased Communication with Friends and Relatives
Blogging or journaling gives children the opportunity to connect with relatives who might live some
distance away, communicating important timely issues.

3.) Technology - Exposure to Internet Technologies
Children are growing into technology-laden world. Exposure to innovative Internet technology will help
them with communication skills and résumé-building.

4.) Improved Writing Skills
When presented with an audience, children will want to present their "best" work.

5.) Improved Editing Skills
Proofreading is an important skill that is difficult to teach. Editing of daily entries will help children learn
how to present their ideas clearly and professionally.

6.) Improved Spelling
Automated spell-checking helps children be aware of spelling errors when they occur.

7.) Typing
Getting children acquainted with keyboards at a young age will help them become familiar with their
layout and function, quickly making them proficient typists.

Accessed (2010): http://www.rss-specifications.com/kids-blogging.htm




                                                       1
Introduction to Blogging with Grade 5 Students in a 1:1 MacBook Program


              PYP Unit of Inquiry: How We Express Ourselves
   Central Idea: Changes in communication technology create different types of
                 connections between people and their audience.


                        Table of Contents
Lessons
Lesson 1: What is a Blog?
Lesson 2: What Are Blogs Used For?
Lesson 3: Essential Elements of a Blog
Lesson 4: Creative and Clever Commenting!
Lesson 5: Introduction to the Class Blogs
Lesson 6: Privacy, Personal Information and Online Safety
Lesson 7: Blog Review
Lesson 8: Acceptable Use Policy and Classroom Essential Agreements
Lesson 9: Creating a Blog I – Dashboard Setup, Personal Settings
Lesson 10: All About Avatars!
Lesson 11: Creating a Blog II – The first post + uploading avatars
Lesson 12: Creating a Blog III – Widgets and sidebars
Lesson 13: Blog Review
Lesson 14: Creating a Blog IV – Links and blog roll
Lesson 15: Creating a Blog V – The second post
Lesson 16: Commenting on other blogs
Lesson 17: Blog Review – Becoming Better Bloggers
Lesson 18: Creating a Blog VI – Designing your pages & categories
Lesson 19: Creating a Blog VII – The third post
Lesson 20: Creating a Blog VIII – The forth post


Included Printouts
      Blog Review                                Parent Letter
      Label The Blog                             Blog Checklist




 The following lessons are designed as +/- 40 minute lesson plans intended to be
                            taught daily for ~ 4 weeks.




                                       2
Lesson # 1 – What is a Blog?

Part A: What is a Blog?
Introduce blogs by initiating a conversation about what they are.
Guiding questions:
   • Why do people write blogs?
   • Who writes blogs?
   • What does the word blog mean and where does it come from? Web + Log
   • What blogs have you seen in your life?
   • Why would you read someone else’s blog?
   • What kind of information can be inside a blog?

Watch the Common Craft video Blogging In Plain English and encourage a
discussion. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN2I1pWXjXI)
Guiding questions:
   • Where their first assumptions correct?
   • Did they learn anything new?
   • Is there something about blogs that still doesn’t really make sense to them?
   • Can they imagine what writing a blog would be like?
   • What kind of ‘news’ would they share with the world?

Part B: General Examples of Blogs
Show students how to search for Blogs on Google Search using search options.
Conduct multiple example searches using the projector and having students watch.
Allow students to search for and skim through blogs of their choice.

Explain that a blog URL can be found in the address bar at the top of the web
browser.

Part C: Student Reflection
Have students write a list (in a journal, as a letter or an email) about Blogs.
Suggested format:
   3 things I already knew about blogs
   2 new things I learned about blogs
   2 things I would like to learn about and/or try with my own blog
   1 blog (insert link) that I found which I think I would really enjoy reading




                            Amazing Teacher Resource:
          Classroom Blogging – The Definitive Site for Blogging with Children
                 http://www.adrianbruce.com/blogging/blogging.htm

                                          3
Lesson # 2 – What are Blogs Used For?

Part A: Blog Review – Kid Specific
Have 6-7 blogs ready for showing on different tabs inside your web browser. Show
the students the layout and design of each one and ask them to discuss what they
think about it.

Here are some examples of fantastic blogs written for/by students

1. Kids Blogs - National Geographic http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/
- Dog Eared - http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/dogeared/
- Global Bros - http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/globalbros/
- Green Scene - http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/greenscene/
- Hands-On Explorer - http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/handsonexplorer/
- News Bytes - http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/kidsnews/

2. Students of the World – An Open Window on World’s Cultures
http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/sites/pages.php

3. Scholastic - Kids Press Corps Blog http://blogs.scholastic.com/kidspress/

4. International School Bangkok – Student Blogs http://blogs.isb.ac.th/

5. Be Tween Talk – Kids Blogs http://www.betweentalk.com/blog.php

Guiding Questions:
Who do you think writes this blog? How could you find out?
Who do you think reads this blog? How could you find out?
Is this blog current or inactive?

Part B: Bookmarking Activity
Allow the students to cruise and read these blogs for themselves. Ask them to pick
one that will become their ‘reader’ and have them bookmark it onto their toolbar. At
this time, have students bookmark the your class blog, the CDNIS webpage and
library page.

                   Critical Vocabulary and/or spelling words
Blog                   Broadcast          Post                      Link
Blogger                Address/URL        Archive                   Bookmark
Browser                Internet           Comments                  Tool Bar



                             Amazing Teacher Resource
                                 Kids Learn to Blog
                             http://kidslearntoblog.com/

                                         4
Lesson # 3 – Essential Elements of a Blog

Part A – Structural Elements
Explain, using examples on the projector, the following structural features of a blog.

Header

Header Images

Blog Title

Blog Tagline

Menus/Pages

Post Column

Post Title

Post Author

Date Stamp

Embedded video

Side Bars

Widgets & Badges



Part B: Class discussion
Ask students what they think the purpose of the blog elements are.
- What is the title for? What makes a good/bad title?
- What is the tag line for? What makes it effective?
- What are the side columns for and what would you put in there?

Part C: Label The Blog
Have students demonstrate their understanding of the blog elements by labeling
the elements on different blog examples. This can also be a good vocabulary
reinforcement.


                            Amazing Teacher Resource
                                  Blogging Basics
       http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/techtorial/techtorial037print.shtml

                                          5
Lesson # 4 – Creative & Clever Commenting

Part A: Commenting Critique
Show a variety of comments from blogs of your choice. Using the blog examples
from lesson 2 would be fine. Highlight comments that have the following attributes:

Positive
   -   polite and courteous
   -   properly written and error-free
   -   helpful or useful in some way
   -   demonstrate to the post author that the comment author read the post
   -   perpetuate or begin the conversation (ask a question)
   -   is appropriate for global readers
   -   is a compliment or positive feedback about something effective
Negative
   -   rude or mean
   -   not proof read, checked and full of errors
   -   not helpful or useful in some way
   -   are not about or related to the author’s post
   -   do not encourage the author or other reader to respond
   -   incorrect grammar (ex. 10 exclamations marks)
   -   use of internet short-form and codes (because this excludes reader who don’t know
       the what you are saying)

Part B: Student’s Opinions
Ask students to go to blogs of their choice and find 3 examples of good comments
and 3 examples of poor comments. They can cut and paste them into a table using
Microsoft Word or Pages. Have them write a short explanation of why they are good
or bad comments. Have some students read out some of their examples or just
hand them in.

Commenting Guidelines
(modify to your liking and then post in your room and on your class blog)
Adapted from International School Bangkok http://blogs.isb.ac.th/blogging-guidelines/

As a blogger, you will be commenting on other people’s work regularly. Good comments:
How do you make a really good juicy comment? This list will remind us what makes a
comment worth leaving behind.
Characteristics of a good blog post comment:
   •   Be constructive, but not hurtful
   •   Think about the author and their purpose for their post before leaving a comment
   •   Comments are always related to the content of the post
   •   You can make personal connections to what the author wrote
   •   Answer a question, or add meaningful information to the content topic
   •   It follows the writing process – it’s like a mini piece of writing.
   •   Use a comment sandwich: start with a positive, add constructive feedback, and then finish
       with a positive.
   •   Make your comment sandwich thick and tasty! Lots of meaningful, meaty thoughts that relate
       directly the content of the post to keep the blogger satisfied!



                                                   6
Lesson # 5 – Introduction to the Class Blog

Part A: Explore!
Give the students 10 minutes to explore other classroom blogs.
Ask them:

  -   to look for similarities and differences
  -   who is the audience?
  -   who is the creator/author?
  -   what they are for?

Conduct a class discussion (with the Class Blogs showing on the projector) about
how they are all effective in their own ways and how not everyone needs to have an
identical blog. Encourage students to voice their opinions in front of the class and
look out for kids who have nothing to say – they may need reinforcement later.

Part B: Bookmarking the Class Blog
Have all students book mark your Classroom Blog. This will be essential when they
are able to start looking at each other’s student blogs because their links will be
listed as blog rolls in each class blog.
Optional Extension – this is a good time for a quick bookmarking lesson. Have
students organize their bookmarks and bookmark toolbars and add new items like
their favorite game sites or other class blogs. Possibly introduce social
bookmarking.

Part C: Student Reflection
Take this opportunity to have students reflect on all that they have learned about
blogs. Explain to students that they must show that they are responsible and
knowledgeable about blogs and the internet in order to maintain and manage their
own personal blog. Remind them that becoming a blogger takes time and
understanding and that teachers at CDNIS will not allow students to blog who are
not demonstrating the learner profile attributes and a sound knowledge and
understanding of the blogging process.

Part D: Writing Tasks
Ask student to begin to write down all the things they have learned and/or know
about blogging. This will be revisited later.




                               Amazing Teacher Resource
                 Safe Classroom Blogging to Improve Student Writing
                       http://teachdigital.pbworks.com/blogging

                                            7
Lesson # 6 – Privacy & Internet Safety

Part A: What is Real?
Ask your students if they have ever heard of the Tree Octopus. Encourage any
student who may already know about the Tree Octopus to let other students see
and investigate it for themselves.

Go to http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/ and show the students the website (keep a
straight face ). Have them comment or ask questions. Let them go to the website
also and explore the links, etc. Perpetuate the conversation for a while and see
what comes up.

Eventually you can explain that the Tree Octopus isn’t real. This leads into talking
about being critical online and not believing everything you see/read/hear.

Part B: Videos
Watch the following 3 videos with the class
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=393Mab4z95E
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gN84KW7RuU
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuaJcjxBK3U&feature=related

Optional extras (so-so quality – please watch them before showing students)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kx4bhdqt5nM
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ibtRZGsSKs&feature=related
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPxSm3lU6c8&feature=related

Follow-up with a group discussion: Ask students to share their experiences and
opinions on Internet and online safety. Post the following on the board or on the
projector and have students read them out loud.

4 Ways to protect yourself when blogging
   • If you’re new to blogging, start cautiously. Understand the features of the software you use and
     how the blogging community (the ‘blogosphere’) works.
   • Don’t post confidential information that might be used to steal your identity. For example: credit
     card numbers, passport details, home address.
   • Don’t say anything that might cause you embarrassment later. As a general rule, if you wouldn’t
     say it to your boss or your grandmother, don’t say it online.
   • Use the features built into your blogging software to restrict anonymous comments.

Part C: Writing Task
Have students add to their reflective writing piece from the day before.



                                Amazing Teacher Resource
                         Resources for Blogging in the Classroom
       http://futureofmath.misterteacher.com/Class%20Blogging%20Resources.html

                                                   8
Lesson # 7 – Blog Review

Part A: Explore!
Give the students 15 minutes to explore blogs online. Encourage them to read them
and not just browse.

Part B: Blog Review
Have students choose a favorite, preferably one they have been reading for a while
or at least looked at a few times. Have them investigate it thoroughly and complete
the Blog Review printout (in the back of this book).




Lesson # 8 – Acceptable Use Policy & Essential Agreements
Part A: CDNIS Acceptable Use Policy
Read the AUP as a class and show students where they can access it online
http://ltt.cdnis.edu.hk/content/acceptable-use-agreement. Remind them that they
signed this document on MacBook Rollout night with their parents.

Part B: Classroom Essential Agreement
Create a classroom essential agreement together and post it somewhere in the
classroom. Also show students that it will be posted online. A cool idea for them to
“sign” to the agreement is to have them write a comment which states something
like, “I agree to the classroom essential agreement and will do my best to work
within it at all times.”

Tips for Staying Safe Online:
1. Before you publish a post, re-read and check for appropriateness and politeness.
2. Ask your parents or an adult to check your work over before you publish
3. Be true to who you are-don’t pretend to be someone else.
4. When posting a picture, be sure it’s one that you don’t mind being “out there”,
or don’t post one at all.
5. Don’t post personal information such as last names, addresses, email, phone
number, etc.
6. Be cautious of chat rooms and people who may contact you.
7. If your parents were sitting next to you, what would they say before you posted
something?
8. Protect your passwords and change them every so often.
9. Be kind to everyone.
10. Only post things you would say or do to a person’s face.



                                          9
Here are some blogging guidelines, which I also like to post in the room and on our
classroom blog for reference.

Blogging Guidelines
(modify to your liking and then post in your room and on your class blog)
As a student blogger at CDNIS, it is expected that we will follow the blogging
guidelines below. Students should use the questions in italics to help them decide
what is appropriate to post on their blog.

1. Only post things that you would want everyone (in school, at
home, in other countries) to know
Ask yourself: Is this something I want everyone to see?
2. Do not share personal information
Ask yourself: Could someone find me (in real life) based on this
information?
3. Think before you post
Ask yourself: What could be the consequences of this post?
4. Know who you’re communicating with
Ask yourself: Who is going to look at this, and how are they going to
interpret my words?
5. Consider your audience and that you’re representing CDNIS
Ask yourself: Do I have a good reason/purpose to do this?
6. Know how to give constructive feedback
Ask yourself: What will I cause by writing this post?
7. Treat other people the way you want to be treated
Ask yourself: Would I want someone to say this to me?
8. Use appropriate language and proper grammar and spelling
Ask yourself: Would I want this post to be graded for proper grammar
and spelling?
9. Only post information that you can verify is true (no
gossiping)
Ask yourself: Is this inappropriate, immature or bullying?
10. Anytime you use media from another source, be sure to
properly cite the creator of the original work
Ask yourself: Who is the original creator of this work?

Adapted from International School Bangkok http://blogs.isb.ac.th/blogging-guidelines/


                                Amazing Teacher Resource
                        Edublogs: 10 Ways to Use Your Blog To Teach
                 http://edublogs.org/10-ways-to-use-your-edublog-to-teach/


                                                  10
Lesson # 9 – Creating a Blog Part I:
Dashboard & Personal Settings

This lesson could be supplemented by someone from the LTT team if you feel that
you will need a second set of hands-on-deck to assist kids as they go. You may
need to organize a time slot that works well for them and book it in advance.


Part A: Settings - General
Have students complete the following tasks by demonstrating the steps on the
projector and having them follow along. First go to the Settings menu on the left-
side menu and choose General.
1. Change Blog Title
2. Change Blog Tag Line
3. Change Time & Date Options

* Remind them to click on the big blue buttons every time they change something on their blog.



Part B: User – Your Profile
Have students complete the following tasks by demonstrating the steps on the
projector and having them follow along. First go to the User menu on the left-side
menu and choose Your Profile.
1. Students may change personal options
2. Students must only publish their first name
3. Students should not write a personal bio paragraph

* Remind them to click on the big blue buttons every time they change something on their blog.



Part : Widgets
Have students complete the following tasks by demonstrating the steps on the
projector and having them follow along. First go to the Appearance menu on the
left-side menu and choose Widgets.
1. Students can drag and drop any of the prescribed widgets into their sidebars.
Have them play with these features and view their site in order to become
comfortable with setting up widgets (they will do a lot of this in the future!).

* Remind them to click on the big blue buttons every time they change something on their blog.




                              Amazing Teacher Resource
                    Resourcing the Curriculum – Blogs in Education
          http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cmis/eval/curriculum/ict/weblogs/
                                                11
Lesson # 10 – All About Avatars

Part A: Avatar Critique
Have the students find avatars online and discuss what makes a good avatar.
Talk about the meaning of the word avatar

  “An avatar is a computer user's representation of himself/herself or alter ego whether in the
form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games, a two-dimensional icon (picture) or
         a one-dimensional username used on Internet forums and other communities”
                         - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_(computing)


                                         When they create their own avatar, it should embody
                                         their personality and physical characteristics in some
                                         way. Simply a picture of a beach doesn’t really make
                                         an effective avatar.


                           Part B: Avatar Creation
                           Here is a site for kids to begin making their own
                           avatar. I strongly suggest that you use #1 Portrait
                           Illustration Maker. It is the most user friendly and the
                           kids can figure most of it out by just playing. It will
                           help if you play with it a little bit before hand and
                           know how to do some of the super cool features!
http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/11-sites-to-create-cartoon-characters-of-yourself/

If you use Portrait Illustration Maker, the file will save
to the student’s downloads folder. They must look for
it there when they are ready to upload it to their blog.

Part C: Avatar Uploading
Students will need to go into their profile. This is
different from their dashboard. To get to their profile,
they must look for the drop-down menu titled My
Account from their CDNIS homepage. Here they will
find a selection to upload their avatar.


Avatar Image URLs:
http://www.myavatareditor.com/avatarcore/demo/maelite/maelite_render_test.jpg
http://www.betweentalk.com/avatars/awesome-kid.gif?dateline=1275427086



                               Amazing Teacher Resource
                         An Online e-Journey With Generation Y
      http://murcha.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/20-reasons-why-students-should-blog/

                                                        12
Lesson # 11 – Creating a Blog Part II: The 1st Post

                                                                  Part A: 7 Random Facts
                                                                  If you’re not yet familiar with the
                                                                  International School of Bangkok’s
                                                                  bloggers, now is the time to show
                                                                  your students what the Grade 5
                                                                  students are doing over there.

                                                                            Go to http://inside.isb.ac.th/elementary/
                                                                            and investigate the Grades listed on
                                                                            the right side bars. In the Grade 5
                                                                            section you will see 5th Grade EAL,
                                                                            Intensive Studies, Mr. Armitage, Mr.
                                                                            Lam, Mr. Perkins, Ms. Bulsza, Ms.
                                                                            Hahn, and Ms. McAloon. Most of
                                                                             these classroom blogs have
http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/original/04.11.06.BloggersDilem-X.gif  students blogs listed on a side bar
                                                                             menu. When you check out the
student blogs you will notice that many of them start off their blog with a post
titled, 7 Random Facts. Read a few and see if you get a ‘feel’ for what these
students are like.

Now that we all have blogs, let’s keep safety in mind as we create our first posts!
7 Random Facts has been used by many blogging classes around the world. It
gives us a chance to look for connections with other people. We each write a post
sharing 7 random facts about ourselves. As Mr. Crosby says, “It’s a fun way to learn
about appropriate, safe things to say about ourselves online, and how to leave good
comments with other classes around the world.”
Guidelines:
    Keep your facts safe                         Be sure to edit carefully
    Use clear language                           Have fun!

Students will need instructions on how to begin. The easiest way to make a new
post is to find the grey/blue button at the top of the dashboard, which says New
Post. Otherwise, they can always find the Posts menu on the right side bar and click
on Add New.

Once inside the posting window, demonstrate on the projector the kitchen sink and
all other formatting settings above the window. Students should be encouraged to
play with fonts and sizes, alignments etc. They can even investigate all the other
buttons and probably figure out all kinds of cool things on their own.

* Remind them to click on the big blue buttons every time they change something on their blog.



                                                         13
Lesson # 12 – Creating a Blog III: Widgets & Sidebars

Part A: Customization and Personalization
Sidebars can be managed from the Widgets menu, which is found in the
Appearance menu on the left side menu of the dashboard. The student blogs
already come with a few built-in widgets like a calendar and a search function.
These are not going to excite them for long! Besides, one of the most important
ways for a student to invest in their own blog writing is to be able to personalize
their space. Widgets will do that, while allowing the kids to have fun and be
creative. Trust me, this is not a waste of time and energy; it is critical that we let
them have some fun at this stage in order to inspire them and really hook them into
this ‘blogging’ thing.

Get Started with Cool Widgets. Show these widgets to your class before letting
them go crazy on their own. Also demonstrate the installation process with one or
two to help get them started.
Revolver Maps http://www.revolvermaps.com/
Flag Counters http://flagcounter.com/
Cluster Maps http://www.clustrmaps.com/ (requires an email + extra security step)
Blog Hit Counters http://www.free-counters.co.uk/
Weather Widgets http://www.widgetbox.com/tag/weather
Pet Widgets http://www.widgetbox.com/tag/pets

Part B: Widget Installation
Whenever you select a widget from the internet, you will be given an HTML code.
This is a bunch of computer programming language that initiates and will run the
widget program on your blog.
Step 1: Copy the embed HTML code
Step 2: Go to your widgets in the appearance menu of your blog
Step 3: Find, select and drag a Text (arbitrary text or HTML) widget into the sidebar
Step 4: Paste your code into the box
Step 5: Give your widget a title
Step 6: Click the Save button
Step 7: Move your text box around to the appropriate location on your side bar
Step 8: View your site to see if it appears properly


                                     Allow the students to embed a maximum
                                     number of widgets to help them choose the
                                     best ones. I suggest 5 to begin with. I do not
                                     allow game widgets at this time.




                                     http://theory.isthereason.com/wp-content/_76widgets2.5GBRAM.jpg


                                          14
Lesson # 13 – Blog Review

Part A: Explore!
Give the students 15 minutes to explore blogs online. Encourage them to read them
and not just browse.

Part B: Blog Review
Have students choose a favorite, preferably one they have been reading for a while
or at least looked at a few times. Have them investigate it thoroughly and complete
the Blog Review printout in the back of this book.




Lesson # 14 – Creating a Blog IV: Links & Blog Roll

Part A: Setting Up Link Categories
Links can be managed by clicking on the links menu on the left side menu of the
dashboard. It is important that students create link categories, which can also be
done in the links menu, in order to keep their links and blog rolls organized.

Suggested Link Categories:
  - Class Blogs (from their perspective classes)
  - Important CDNIS links
  - Educational sites of interest
  - Fun sites of interest
  - My Global Community

Other possible Link Categories:
   - News/Weather
   - Blogs I Read
   - My Favorite Blogs
   - Friend’s Sites

Part A: Creating Links
Students will need to practice copying and pasting the URLs of their selected
websites into the web address bar and labeling the link with a name. This is a good
time to teach students about keyboard short-cuts like command+c (copy) and
command+v (paste) and command+z (undo). It is important that students click the
appropriate category before and then remember to save their link.

Next, in the appearance menu under widgets, the students can choose the order of
their link categories by placing a links widget in a side bar and selecting which
category to show. By dragging another widget box into the side bar, another
category of links can be displayed. Alternatively, all links can be selected at once
(this is easier) by selecting all links from the drop-down menu.
                                             15
Lesson # 15 – Creating a Blog V: The 2nd post

Part A: 5 Steps to a Published Post

1.   Write your title in the title bar – use capitals where appropriate.
2.   Write and format your text in the post box.
3.   Decide if you want to use a picture.
4.   Re-read your writing; check for mistakes.
5.   Click Publish or Save Draft if you still need more time to work on it.

For the second post, students will practice uploading a picture with their post. First
choose a picture that promotes creative writing and display it on the projector. Also
make it available in your First Class Homeroom Conference so that all students
have access to it. Students will need to drag it, or save it onto their desktop. Have
the students write a mini-article about the picture as if they are reporters for a
magazine or newspaper.

When students are ready to upload their picture instruct them to click on the box
immediately to the right of where it read Add Media above the post drafting
window. They will have saved the file to their desktop or iPhoto and they can then
choose the file from it’s current location. Make adjustments to the picture if
necessary, like size and alignment, then click on Insert Into Post.




                     Critical Vocabulary and/or spelling words

Embed                    Tab                     Media                  Active Link
URL                      Window                  Widget                 Upload
Tag Line                 Bookmark                Avatar                 Category




                                Amazing Teacher Resource
                        Connect Safely – Smart Socializing Starts Here
                http://www.blogsafety.com/category/Connectsafely-Forums/3

                                            16
Lesson # 16 – Commenting Practice

Part A: Check Out The Other Students
Give the students 15 minutes to explore all the other CDNIS Grade 5 student blogs.

Part B: Commenting on Student Blogs!
Have students choose 5 blogs to comment on. They must make appropriate
comments with substance and forethought.

As they go, have them copy and paste the comments they are making into a First
Class email and send them to you for your evaluation and reference.
In the email it should clearly show:
   - The Blog’s URL
   - The Blog Title
   - Comment left by the student




Lesson # 17 – Blog Review: Becoming Better Bloggers

Part A: Check Out The Other Grade 5 Students
Give the students 15 minutes to explore all the other CDNIS Grade 5 student blogs.
Encourage them to look at students that they don’t know as well as students that
they do know.

Part B: Blog Review
Have students choose two favorites. Get them to investigate the blogs thoroughly
and complete a Blog Review printout found at the back of this book for each one.

Part C: Building a Global Community
When students connect with other students around the world, they feel a stronger
sense of pride in their blog writing and design and get to make virtual friends at the
same time. We have already established that there is so much to learn from other
bloggers and especially student bloggers. Now is a good time to recognize this
connection and the importance of positive feedback and acknowledgement of/from
your audience.

To set up a Global Community, create a links section on your classroom blog that
includes other classrooms that you enjoy (I have a huge list if you need pointers or
don’t feel like wasting time searching!). Let these other classes know that you’ve
included them in your class blog by posting a brief comment somewhere on their
blog. You can cut and paste this comment to everyone’s blog. You’ll notice that it
catches on, and before you know it, you’ll see your name in their links as part of
their Global Community. Share this with the students. Emphasize the importance of
learning from others and creating connections that are meaningful and fun.

                                          17
Lesson # 18 – Creating a Blog VI: Pages & Categories

Part A: Pages
Students will know what pages are by now and have had some experience seeing
what kinds of things pages are used for on other people’s blogs. It is suggested that
the following pages be made mandatory:
   - Profile page “About Me”
   - Me As A Learner

When students create a page using the Pages menu on the left side of their
dashboard, they can simply follow the steps and save their page. Please remember,
they must then go into their Thesis options and open the Navigation menu. Here
they will need to select pages to display in nav. menu, by clicking on the pages that
they want to appear on their blog and then hitting the big green button.

Part B: Categories
Categories will help the students to organize and label their posts as they write
them, and then file them away under categories for future reference. Categories
can be displayed in the Navigation Menu.
   - Unit of Inquiry
   - Chinese Studies
   - Numeracy
   - Literacy
   -
When students create a category they can do this from the posting window of a new
post or current post. They can simply follow the steps and save their category.
Please remember, they must then go into their Thesis options and open the
Navigation menu. Here they will need to select categories to appear in the nav.
menu by highlighting the categories that they want to appear on their blog
navigation menu and then hitting the big green save button.

This part may be especially hard for some students to grasp. One helpful option is
to figure out which students ‘get it’ and have them help the other students in the
class. Another idea is to have Blogging Buddies, either within your class or with
another Gr. 5 class, where students are encouraged to share their tips and tricks
with a buddy. This has been very fun in the past and helps integrate the Gr. 5
classes, letting them mingle and know more of their peer-group 




                             Amazing Teacher Resource
                                 Kid Blogger Society
                            http://kidbloggersociety.com/

                                         18
Lesson # 19 – Creating a Blog VII: The 3rd post

Part A: Poetry Showcase
Have the students choose their favorite piece of poetry and create a blog post with
it. Encourage font colour and design elements to play a significant role in their
personal artistic expression.

Lesson # 20 – Creating a Blog VIII: The 4th post

Part A: Embedding a video
This post will be a reflective piece about the Unit Of Inquiry. On the projector,
watch the following YouTube videos and discuss it as a class.

-   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILQrUrEWe8
-   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9zc47JVJ6s
-   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY7MyAg3mQI
-   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBNpQNWSHlY&feature=related
-   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-9FaJPhFxQ&feature=related
-   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuKu6PZXCIY&feature=related

Students will make a new post and title it Communication Technology and Me. The
students must choose one of the above videos to embed in their post. They must
also explain the video to their readers, as well as review/summarize everything
they’ve learned so far in this Unit of Inquiry.

Obviously they can insert a YouTube video using the big YouTube button  They
may also copy/paste the embed code from YouTube into the HTML editing sheet,
found as a tab behind the Visual sheet. These tabbed sheets are located in the top
right of the posting window.

Part B: Creating an Active Link in a Post
Students should also learn to create an active link within a post text, instead of
pasting long URLs for people to click on. For this activity have the students link the
words “How We Express Ourselves” somewhere in their blog post to the UOI
Programme Overview Page on the classroom blog. To do this, the students need to
highlight the text “How We Express Ourselves” in the body of their post and click on
the link button above the post window (it looks like a chain link). Then they need to
get the URL of their classroom UOI page (found in the drop down menu of the
Programme Overview page), by opening up another browser or tab, copy it and
paste it into the link bar on the post.



                             Amazing Teacher Resource
            Golson Blog – Social Media, Blogging and Tech Tips From a Kid
                            http://www.glosonblog.com/

                                          19
                                 Why Blog with Students?
                                              By: Adrian Bruce
               Accessed 2010 http://www.adrianbruce.com/blogging/why_blog/why_blog_with_students.htm


- Worldwide Audience - The beauty of computers in the classroom is they allow things to be done that could never
be done before. If you only use the computer to 'type up their stories' then get a typewriter. If you want your children
to take part in the 'Global Village' then set up a blog.

- Authentic Audience - Goes without saying really :) Parents, other students, teachers, grandparents, relatives
and people from all over the world.

- Engagement & Motivation - I have found that many of the students who were least likely to be engaged in the
traditional writing classroom are now some of the students who use their blog the most.

- Demonstrate How to Use - The social web is here and given that it can offer such a level of anonymity that much
of what goes on is unproductive, base and quite nasty, perhaps it is the role of teachers to provide a role model in
how to use these tools to enhance learning and not to just bully people or flirt.

- The Comments Function - The ability to comment on a friend's work, a classmate's work, the teacher's work and
an almost unknown person on the other side of the world provides instant feedback and is great motivation for the
students.

- Ethics, Netiquette & Digital Citizenship - Blogging gives you a real context for teaching all of these.

- Child Protection & Internet Safety - Blogging gives you a real context teaching it.

- Copyright and Academic Property - Blogging gives you a real context teaching it.

- Cooperation & Collaboration - open your class up to world wide projects.

- Writing Processes - There are many writing processes that you can teach for particular text types and products.
Blogging gives you a real context to teach these in. Writing is no longer something a child may need in their future.
It is something they need NOW.

- Creative Process - With so many people blogging how will you make yours stand out. Marco Torres says, 'Don't
do it better, do it different.' How will you do it different? I use the SCAMPER process a lot and this works for me.
What will you do?

- Blogging is Really Easy - Believe me, the mechanics are really easy. Just sign up for an account and start. It is
the production of content that many teacher find challenging.

- Spelling - I've put this one down the list a bit but blogging can be a motivator to using spelling conventions.

- Typing - I've put this one even further down the list but they do learn to type. Give them the occasional
demonstration of the value of putting your fingers in the right places. For those who choose to continue to 'hunt and
peck' bring in the school secretary and have the children watch in awe.

For Switched on Executives & Administrators who may stumble upon my humble little page - (he says with
his tongue firmly in his cheek) he he he …
- Blogging Cannot Thrive in Worksheet Culture! Use it to advocate change!
- Blogging is 'trendy' so use it to show you are a 'switched on', 'cutting edge' leader.
- Delegate blogging to your, 'star' or 'personal champion'. They will serve you well and you'll get most of the kudos if
you play your cards right.
- Provide some Professional Development time for the staff to explore the issues together and to identify the
'saboteurs'.
- Invite in a blogging 'expert' (if one really exists yet) to demonstrate the possibilities to the staff.


                                                          20
                                                     Student Name: _______________________

Blog Review!
Blog Title:

Blog Tag Line:

Who is the author of this blog?

                                                                                http://studenthacks.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/blogging.jpg

Blog URL:

3 Things you like about the blog
-
-
-


3 Things you don’t like about the blog
-
-
-

Who would you recommend this blog to?




                                 Exceeding                           Meeting                               Approaching
Blog Item
                                Expectations                       Expectations                            Expectations
                             very well organized using           organized and easy to                not organized or easy to
                              unique and interesting           navigate; things are in the           navigate; things are not in
Layout & Design               methods of design; the           correct places and can be             the correct places or can’t
how does it look?            author’s creativity shines        found easily; looks nice to            be found; does not look
                               throughout the blog                     the reader                        nice to the reader

                               the blog content has a
                                                                the information presented            the information presented
                                 specific topic and is
Posts & Content                dedicated to that topic;
                                                               is about a certain topic; the          is about no certain topic;
what is it about?                                               reader can recognize what            the reader can’t recognize
                             readers know exactly what
                                                                     the blog is about                  what the blog is about
                                  the blog is about

                                                                                                    there are a lot of errors or
                                                                there are almost no errors
                                                                                                    mistakes; it is obvious that
Accuracy & Quality           absolutely no mistakes or           or mistakes; it is obvious
                                                                                                     the author didn’t proof-
is it true and error-free?      errors can be found            that the author proof-reads
                                                                                                     reads and/or check their
                                                                  and checks their work
                                                                                                               work



                                                          21
                            BLOGGER CHECK LIST
 Name: ___________________________Student # _________

               BLOG FEATURE                                  ✔   COMMENT/QUESTION   teacher

Blog Title – Something that describes your blog with the
word BLOG included and your Student # (Settings)

Blog Tagline – Something that describes your blog
clearly. Like a mini-introduction (Settings)

POST # 1: Seven Random Things About Me

POST # 2: Photo Story

POST # 3: Poem Selection

POST # 4: How We Express Ourselves

POST # 5: My Thoughts on Comments/Commenting


POST # 6: FREE POST – Anything you want


Link Categories

Profile Page

Clustr Map or other Map

Avatar

Other Widgets (anything you like)

Comments on other people’s blogs

Comments on other Grade 5 students blogs

*Sample only: Please make modifications to fit your class.

                                                    22
                                                                      September 1st, 2010
Dear Parents,

In connection to the current Unit of Inquiry about how we express ourselves with
communication technologies, we will be researching, learning about and creating our own
blogs. This week we will begin by reviewing and evaluating online blogs from students
around the world to give us a better perspective of where to start, what to do and what not
to do.

In the Grade 5 we are ready for the responsibility of blogging in a public forum, but rest
assured that the teachers take this very seriously. Many steps come in sequence as we
embark on this journey together and we will work together with our classmates at a slow
pace. We will be using an online publisher provided by the school on a platform available to
the entire school. This is already a budding online community where parents, students,
teachers and administrators can all connect, communicate and collaborate. This service is
specialized for educators and students who are in pursuit of enriched learning experiences
made possible through publishing user-content online.

In the Grade 5 we will be blogging individually as well as collectively in our Classroom Blog,
both entirely under the supervision of the teacher.

It is important to me that you feel comfortable with our blogging practices. I am always
available to answer your questions and discuss the educational value of this activity. Please
don’t hesitate to contact me, Aloni Cahusac, at alonicahusac@cdnis.edu.hk or leave a
comment or question on our class blog.

What is a Blog?
A blog can be loosely defined as a journal which is published on the World Wide Web.
“In a classroom situation blogs are about communicating. You observe your experience,
reflect on it, and then write about it. Other people read your reflections, respond from their
perspectives by commenting or writing their own blog article. You read their perspectives,
often learn something through their eyes, and write some more.”

Purpose of the Blog
The students in Grade 5 will be participating in a class and personal blog for the purposes
of

• Encouraging the process of writing for an audience
• Practicing narrative, poetic, transactional and persuasive writing
• Sharing and evolving ideas that facilitate interaction and collaboration
• Engaging students in conversation and learning
• Sharing opinions, points of view on a topic
• Sharing classroom events and happenings with families and the wider community
• Fostering an understanding of global awareness, communication and collaboration
• Connecting with others both inside and outside the classroom and encouraging global
communication previously not possible
• Reflection, expression and evaluation of own learning

Our classroom blog is located at http://sites.cdnis.edu.hk/alonicahusac/

                                              23
Individual student blogs will be located here under the Blog Roll, listed by class #

Safety
In the interest of students’ safety, the following restrictions have been configured on the
blog.

       Initially Blog Posts will be written under direct supervision and guidance of the
        teacher
       No “free” posting will be allowed at first
       All blog content is subject to the teacher’s approval and/or deletion
       The teacher will be notified of any posts/comments to the blog
       All comments to any posts are monitored by the teacher and will be deleted if the
        he/she deems them inappropriate
       No individual or identifiable profiles are available on the blog
       At times, images of specific learning will be posted on the blog but will not clearly
        identify individual students

Blogging Terms and Conditions

All students contributing to Individual Blogs as well as the Class Blog must agree to the
Blogging Terms & Conditions.
• The use of blogs are considered an extension of our classroom. Therefore, any speech
that is considered inappropriate in the classroom is inappropriate on a blog. This includes,
but is not limited to, swearing; racist, sexist or discriminatory remarks; personal attacks.
We expect you to conduct yourself in a manner reflective of a representative of our school.
• Blogs are public. Whatever you post on a blog can be read by anyone and everyone on
the Internet. Even if you delete a post or comment, it has often already been archived
elsewhere on the web. Do not post anything that you wouldn’t want your parents, your
best friend, your worst enemy, or a future employer to read.
• Students using blogs are expected to act safely by keeping personal information out of
their posts. You agree to not post or give out your family name, password, email address,
home address, or other information that could help someone locate or contact you in
person. You may share your interests, ideas and opinions.
• Pictures may be inserted into a blog. Make sure that the image is appropriate for use in
a school document and copyright laws are followed.
• Always make sure you check over your post for spelling errors, grammar errors, and
your use of words.
• The class blog is to be a vehicle for sharing student writing with real audiences. Most
visitors to your blog who leave comments will leave respectful, helpful messages, but all
comments will be monitored. Any inappropriate comments will be deleted.

Students who do not abide by these terms and conditions may lose their opportunity to
take part in this classroom activity.


Guideline material adapted from:
http://inside.isb.ac.th/rm229/blogging-contract/
http://supportblogging.wikispaces.com/Educational+Blogging
http://ahsblogpolicy.pbwiki.com/
http://anne.teachesme.com/2007/01/17/rationale-for-educational-blogging/
Show parents how to access the student blogs by clearly depicting where they are!

                                              24
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