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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My principal actually encourages us to have a website. I am one of the few the have a seperate class site. It's not linked because my system recently changed servers and I just haven't linked it yet.

I actually haven't thought about the fact that I would not be able to tell if it was the correct person blogging. Edublogs does allow passwords for the page so I may set a password.

However, I am notified when a comment is posted so I can review the comment and delete quickly if necessary.

Also, my parents sign a consent form saying the photos and voice of their child is okay to be posted.

Thank you for the help. I am going to try to fix the problem you brought to my attention.
Matt,
Your setup is well-designed and well thought out. I like your e-portfolios too. I'm curious to see how your 1st graders respond to blogging. I've found that the kids don't feel frustrated by not knowing the keys, they learn them along the way. I used to use a typing program called Kid Keys which I loved, but it's not set up for our Intel Macs. I teach k-4 and I'm planning to try Edublogs also. I'll try it with 3rd and 4th graders and work my way down. Just out of curiosity, why did you choose Edublogs over Classblogmeister?
Thanx,
Faith
I piloted a blogging program in my school last year with fourth graders using blogger.com. I really liked that site. It was very easy to use and students/parents did not have to have email addresses to post comments. The district decided to make blogging guidelines this year and they don't want anyone using blogger.com because of the "next blog" button at the top. The rumor is if you press it enough times you will come across something inappropriate. I have never pushed the button but it is probably true. I heard through the blogger.com network that you can get rid of that bar, which is something I need to investigate. The district then, toward the end of the school year, blocked blogger.com on all student logins. I can access it with my two teacher logins but the students can't, which made blogging at the end of the year cumbersome. If I want to continue blogging this year I have to use edublog. Our IT coach started playing around with it to create a school blog and it is riddled with advertising links within the text of the blog (words are hyperlinked to advertising such as glade and sylvan learning center). I really have a problem with that because it looks like the school is endorsing these products, when really we have no control over it.

I have been blogging with a teacher who uses edublog and she said you can become an edublog supporter for a year and pay $40 and that takes care of the advertising. The district will not pay the money so if I want to blog with students next year I will need to pay the $40 (which I probably will if that is the only way I can keep blogging with my students). Another downside to edublogger is that you have to have an email address to post a comment. Most of my fourth graders do not have email accounts but I know how to assign one through my gmail account to all students but what a pain (and the students have to memorize that email account in order to leave any comments....if you saw how easy it was to do with blogger.com you would understand my feelings toward this new system).

I have a teacher blog site where parents can subscribe and get a little more in depth with what we are doing in the classroom with pictures. I usually update that once a week. I don't write a disclaimer but I am careful about what I put in it knowing that I am representing the school and school district (and I don't want to get fired :)

My game plan this next year is to keep my two blogger.com sites (my teacher one and my student one). I am going to get rid of the "next blog" button at the top of both so that will eliminate any district issues. I am going to use my teacher one (www.mrsheatonsblog.blogspot.com) as I am currently using it now...a little more in depth with what we doing in class if parents are interested in checking it out. I am going to keep my student one (www.mrsheatonsclass1.blogspot.com) but use that as as my online portfolio and post student work to it. I am going to pay the $40 and get an edublog account and use that with students this coming year - most likely it will be a combined fourth grade blog (I am on a team with three other teachers and I would want the other teachers to get involved with blogging as well. They want to as well but have no experience. I am sad that the edublog is going to be more cumbersome to learn...which might make it unattractive to these teachers to implement in their classroom, i.e. assigning everyone email accounts and managing...I think it would have been easier with blogger.com).

Eve
You can remove the NEXT BLOG navbar at the top of the screen. The people at Blogger don't love that people do it, but they have to realize that if elementary students are going to be blogging they can't accidentally fumble upon inappropriate bloggers.

Follow this link to find the widget to remove the navbar. Good luck.

http://apnerve.blogspot.com/2009/02/new-apnerves-hide-blogger-navba...
Hey Eve,

You can "turn off" that Next Blog button, in fact get rid of that top navigation bar altogether
How do you get rid of the top navigation bar altogether in Blogger? I appreciate your help.
I found the solution to removing Blogger's nav bar altogether from eblogtemplates and it worked. Try it.
If you're starting over, Eve, try Wordpress (Mine's called Ask a Tech Teacher ). There are no ads and it's quite easy to use.
I am moving from a class website to a blog with my 3rd graders next year. I'm still trying to decide between edublogs and blogger, but am leaning towards edublogs. Blogger is easier to use and there are tons on web resources for it. Edublogs has a slightly greater learning curve (for teachers - they are both easy for students to learn), but is generally considered safer and more kid friendly. And I really like how edublogs has a page menu on the top, giving it some of the features of a website. I plan on having one class blog in the beginning, and possibly adding student blogs to the class blog as the year progresses. We'll see.

The "next blog" button in blogger is easy to disable - you just need to add a "powered by Blogger" badge in your blog to fulfill the terms of service. Here's a link with steps for removing the button.

@Eve: You don't have to have an email account to leave a comment in edublogs. It is part of the form, but if you leave it blank, the comment will go through without a problem. (btw, I have enjoyed following your blog this year!)

I wouldn't worry too much about the content of your blog reflecting negatively on the school/district. If you follow the school's terms of acceptable use and moderate all comments, you'll be fine. One of the best things about blogging is giving the students an authentic audience for their words and ideas.

finally, here are some links to great resources about implementing blogs in the elementary grades, with emphasis on curriculum integration, blog etiquette, and internet safety:

Blogging tips for teachers - This is from Mrs. Yollis's 3rd grade blog in California. She has been teaching for over 20 years and started a class blog last year. It is a very useful guide.

Blogging with elementary students - a great resource from the "langwitches" blog with a brief discussion about the reasons to blog and then links to a unit on how to start a blog and teach the students how to use it.

Blogging is Elementary - from "always learning" by Kim Cofino. Another good resource about the benefits and challenges of blogging, with more tips for how to implement it in the classroom.
Thank you for your links! These are very helpful. I teach First grade and will be using blogger this year. I am planning to start out slow and then hope to pick up when our reading and writing skills improve! I see it as a huge motivator to practice our new skills!
I was not entirely correct about not needing to enter an email address to leave a comment on edublogs. If the blog asks for an email address, you need to enter something, but you could come up with a token address for the class to use.

But more importantly, as the admin of an edublog, you can set it so your readers don't have to enter a name or email. Just go to dashboard > settings > discusssion and you can set up the commenting settings however you like. Of course, for elementary school blogs I think you should always set it so every comment has to be approved by the administrator before appearing on the blog.
Hi Jonah,
Thanks for mentioning me here in your comment! I appreciate that! :-)

The discussion you are having about the "next blog" button on Blogger is new to me. I never thought about it before. Thanks for the great link you provided for removing the nav bar. I might use it. However, then no one can search the blog using the tags that I entered...although I don't think many people use that feature. Hmmm....

How is your new blog coming along?

Linda

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