Summer is a great time to reflect on what worked well in your classroom, what worked OK, but needs work or adjustments, what didn't work, and what you just didn't get to, but would love to try.
Personally, I would love to see more blogging in classrooms at my school. The teachers who have blogged enjoy it and the parents and students love it. Just trying to find the logistics of working it into the day without having to schedule a trip to the computer lab is a big step forward. One suggestion is to have the teacher create the blog and the teacher can login and have students bring their editted work to the computer to type in the work. After typing, the student notifies the teacher to proof-read or has another student proof-read. Only the teacher can "publish post." If there is a concern for the computer "timing-out", simply instruct the students to click "save now" instead. The teacher can look at the drafts and publish and post when ready. For elementary students, I suggest not allowing comments or hiding the comments. Because some students do not have internet access at home, the teacher can print-out the blog and send it home to parents.
Another suggestion we have used at our school is to have the school technologist create a folder with the teacher's name in the shared folder on the school server. Rights are given so the students can drop items into their teacher's folder. I have used this technique with teachers when their students send email, but it would also work with blogging posts. The teacher has the students use classroom computers or lab computers and save the email (letter) or blog post into this folder. The students save the document as their name (example: JohnSmith.doc, JohnSmith2.doc, SusanFields3.doc). The teacher can open the folder and then send the documents as attachments or open and copy into email to send. I frequently help teachers with this process. We have sent email to England every two weeks using this process and also adding posts to blogs.
We have also used www.epals.com successfully for classes at school. There are many other sites that do student email. For young students I like to have teacher control access to email such as using the teacher name such as smithstudent1, smithstudent2, smithstudent3, etc. When the teacher sets up these student logins, she/he can also put in the passwords and make them similar, also, such as mascot1, mascot2, or room206, or smith1, etc. Keeping the passwords known only to the teacher helps student safety by only using email when it is checked by the teacher. When email is received, the students can print it out, write their reply on the bottom and exchange with a buddy to check before logging in to send. Or use the above technique of having the teacher send and receive from her/his email.
More to come on another day.
June 25, 2007