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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In the past, I've had first- through fifth-graders blogging using classblogmeister.com -- I think it's one of the most simple sites for younger students and for their teachers to master. With the editing feature, I always called the kids up to my desk and we edited their work together before posting it. Often, though, I'd post it with little editing and other students would comment with suggested corrections (it helped teach constructive criticism, and also gave students and audience to write for).

Before blogging, I'd start kids on Dance Mat typing, a free program through the BBC that teaches them at their own pace -- the kids loved it and IT WORKED GREAT! They were all typing within a month (with an hour a week on the site). But you will need headphones for them to all use it at once. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/
Hi Katy

Did you have kindergartners on Dance Mat? Or when did you start them? I teach K-5 and have K,1 on Type to Learn Jr, but I want an alternative that parents can reinforce at home. Dance Mat has been mentioned several times on this site, so I'm wondering how youngers do with it.

Thanks.
I've done Dance Mat with 2nd semester 1st graders but usually use it starting in 2nd grade. With Kindergarten & 1st, I concentrate more on letter awareness, trying to get them to use 2 hands, using the thumb for the space bar & use of backspace key.

In Kindergarten & 1st semester of 1st Grade, I use Key Seeker and I do alphabet related activities and I have activities using "mascots" - A Silly Dancing Frog, Giggles & Harry (the) Jazzy Koala (with a) Little Semi - to teach the homerow keys.

I also have some games I use with them: Big Brown Bear Keyboarding, Keyboard Climber & Super Hyper Spider Typer The last one has a tendency to freeze the spiders sometimes (I think it might be after so many errors?) and not let them type any letters which can frustrate the students.
Those all look great. Thanks for the links.
I had a few first-graders on it (I didn't have a full class of them -- just a few in an afterschool program) and it went really well. I haven't ever tried it with Kindergarteners, but you might try to grab one or two average kids and throw them on in one of your planning periods or after school to see how it goes. Depending on your population of students (I had almost all non-English speakers in Kinder at my school), I would bet they could master it.
Hi Katy,

I started using Dance Mat typing last year and this year my third and fourth graders will be using class blogmeister after going through Dance Mat again. I'm glad to hear you liked it for your students.

How did you come up with topics for your students to write about?
I started a classroom blog with 5th graders. My thought was I'd post a questions relating to reading assignments from Time for Kids magazines and let them respond. I think I would have to set up email accounts for them because in order to make comments and send you have to have an email address. I have the site set up in Edublogs which is pretty simple to get started. I thought about getting the permission from parents and maybe using pen name for their email names so their responses would be anonymous to everyone but me. I see so many useful ways blogs could be used in the classroom but it does require planning to be effective.
Does anyone know how to nest pages in wikispaces? I want to have each student create a page to use as a journal/blog, but don't want that long list of 75 pages to show. I have a free Education account. Here's what I have so far. ('zz sample student' is my effort to date. No subpages, but at least they're all at the end.)

Thanks!
Do you mean that you want all of the pages to show on a single wikispaces page? This is an example of that. Each of the time chart entries is a separate page in wikispaces but I show them all together.

To do this create your page which will be holder for all of the other pages. You can put regular content on it as well as the included pages. Then use the Wikispaces Embed the Contents of a Wiki Page widget to add the contents of another page. You can allow editing of the pages withing your "container" page or not depending on how you want your students to be able to get to their page for editing.
Hi Vicky

Took me a while to get back to this. Well, I embedded the page nicely, but it still shows up on the navigation on the left. For example, I embedded 'homework--third' under 'third grade'. I'd like for that page not to show under 'navigation'. I don't see any way to hide it.

You seemed to do that, but I can't figure out how. Any ideas to help?

Thanks!
I manually maintain my Navigation menu so that I can put pages in any order I want.

If you like the order of pages but just want to leave some off, you can change the option on the Embed a List of Pages in the navigation bar (double click the media box) to only include pages with a certain tag (for example, menu) and then add the tag "menu" to the pages you want shown in the navigation.
That's funny you suggest manual maintenance. That's where I ended up today after spending over an hour trying to automate it. When I was reading the help files, it turns out they just automated the nav bar about a year ago and a lot of people didn't like it, just because of the problems I was having.

I'm good. Thanks for holding my hand.

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