As part of my technology plans for the 2009-2010 s.y., I would like to start BLOGGING for the elementary students. Starting small is always a good idea. Starting perhaps with just one elementary teacher/class would make it simpler.

I would like to get ideas from teachers/tech coord./tech curriculum coord., etc. as to what would be the best way to go. I do have a few questions:

1. Which blogging platform would you recommend? Blogger? WordPress? EduBlogs?

2. Do you provide the students with their own email? Which email service?

3. How do the school administrator's feel about teacher blogging for the class? Need approval for postings from school administrator? Should there be a "disclaimer" on the teacher's blog site? Example "Opinions reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of school."
But what if the school website's is link to the teacher's blog?

These are just random thoughts that I have about blogging for elementary students. As part of my job, I need to conduct workshops about BLOGGING but to make it simpler, I believe I will start with one willing teacher and hoping it will create a ripple effect.

Tags: blog, blogging, elementary

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I'm doing the same thing next year. I will be blogging with my first graders. I am using edublog and instead of them blogging in the main part I set a page for each student. The pages still require an email so to get around this they will be blogging in the comments section. I know, it's not technically blogging but they're doing the same thing and it was the only way I could see to organize their blogs easily.

I'll be using the main part for stuff like voicethreads and videos and podcasts.

You can see how I've set it up. Go to my class website mrallen1.shutterfly.com and click on the "Our Blogs" link. We haven't started blogging yet because school doesn't start until August, but you can see how I've set it up.

Also, view the screencast and let me know if you think a first grader can follow it.

Thanks,

Matt
Wow! This looks amazing. I have lots of questions. Can your six year olds use the keyboard effectively enough to actually blog? Can they spell well enough for others to read it? You have pictures of kids on your site. Are there any safety or legal implications in doing that? I teach grade one and would like to try this but I'm hesitant. Need I be?
Our school requires family to sign a PUBLICITY RELEASE FORM that states something like:

I/We hereby grant permission for ____________(SCHOOL)_________to use
photography, quotations, artwork, and/or news stories regarding the student
named below to publicize the school and its activities. I/We understand that
such usage includes all school publications, promotional materials and websites;
and local media including newspapers, magazines, radio and television. The
aforementioned policy will be conducted with the full approval of the Pastor,
Principal and publicity representative.

Then the parents can check the YES or NO box.

I've seen parents immediately sign the NO box (not allowing) but when you explain to them that it will just be their kid's picture and no mention of anything else, then the parents ease up a bit and retract their signed document and thereby allowing their kid's photos to be published online. Though I understand parents who do not allow such.
As far as their keyboarding skills they do struggle some at the beginning of the year. However, I do begin using DanceMat Typing to teach keyboarding skills around December or January. You would be amazed at how fast they pick up on keyboarding. You should see a class full of six year olds typing correctly!! You do have to be patient with them for about three months, but they get the hang of it.

The spelling part is one reason I do blogging in first grade. Their progression is amazing. I may not be able to understand their first blog, but by the end they are spelling very well.

As far as posting their pictures, I have my parents sign a consent and I have never had a problem with this.
Matthew:
We are discussing whether or not to begin keyboarding below 3rd grade. Your comment suggests that is works well. I'll check into Dancemat Typing. Any chance it is an open source free application?
Hi Betsye

I teach kindergartners to type. We start with Type to Learn Jr. (not open source, unfortunately). I've tried the web-based sites, but they're a bit much for new readers. By third grade, my kids type up to 15 wpm. By then, we're on the regular Type to Learn, or web-based sites. I have a long list posted on my blog, Ask a Tech Teacher at a keyboard post I did.

Good luck. I think you'll find it's a hit with students!
Betsye, It is free, and IMHO the sooner the better for beginning keyboarding.
Hi Matt

I've actually had parents tell me that--the similarity to piano. When I mention it in class, the students understand. I'm a violinist so I never would have thought of it if not for parents.
Rhonda,
As a tech teacher for K-5, the one big concern I have it having the kids learn how to type correctly....once they develop the habit of typing by picking and pecking, it is nearly impossible to break. Maybe if you work on teaching them to keyboard first then blog with them. This would be the answer I would give to the teachers in my school.
You've got my gig, Rhonda. By fifth grade, my kids are typing approx. 30wpm, which is faster than hand-writing. That breaks the barrier to online blogging, wikis, etc. They no longer think it takes too long.
First of all, thanks for all your insights on this.

I love your class website. The pictures are awesome and the videos too!

As for the blog, my concern there is this: for example I happened to come across your blog and saw your instructions and knowing that I do not have to type in anything on the email and the URI fields then I can actually pretend that I am your student (since there is no way of verifying if I am truly student#something). Plus do you get notified when someone types a comment - comment with moderation? It seems that the comments get posted ASAP. Just some random thoughts.

Instruction-wise, I think your 1st graders would be able to follow and be able to navigate the blog with ease.
@Matt: Is your class website http://mrallen1.shutterfly.com/ linked to your school website at all? Just out of curiosity. How does your administrator feel about you having a class website outside the school webhosting server? I appreciate your reply.

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