Bring Online Communication into the Classroom with Kidblog

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Let's face it. We all love blogging! It is addicting, fascinating, and just plain fun to do!Why not let our students blog!? I found a site through working on my Action Research project for my classes that is just AMAZING! (If you don't feel like reading it all, their is a YouTube video at the bottom that I have made!)

Kidblog is a safe, secure site where students, teachers, and parents can blog. Everyone has their own individual password and the teacher is the one who sets everything up. Kidblog also gives your blog a unique URL so you can make it easily accessible. (You could just have it as a QR code!  It is a very similar set up to Blogger. When you make your account, you can add your students and print off parent codes. The teacher also controls what kind of access each person has. You can also control the comments that can be viewed. 

When each person logs in,they choose from a list which name they want to log in as. This was something I wasn't all too sure about because younger students are not as careful when choosing and the mouse tends to slip too. Usually on the sites we use, the students have an individual user name, but all the passwords are the same. Since they do not have to remember a username, I thought about using the generic password we often use at my school along with their mailbox number. This way if they do slip and accidentally hit the wrong name, they won't be able to log in because the mailbox number will still be different!
Once  you are logged in, the screen will show a list of all the posts available. The ones that are new are marked, I just don't have any new right now! A post I wanted to add to this list( and will add when I begin
to use it in my classroom) is a Help post. This would explain what to do when students are not
sure or they forget which button to push. The posts are actually student blogs of their own! Each student can also make comments on each others blogs. This is a great way to get students to talk about their story with more than one word answers, and everyone has the chance to get a say!
When students make their posts, the page is very plain. There are not a lot of distractions and absolutely no ads that will get them off the topic! I really like that the publish button is the only colored one. This way students will easily remember which one they will finish with! Before the post goes live, the teacher has the ability to approve it. This is a great way to make sure students are staying on topic. When I begin in my room, I am going to not approve posts that are not on topic. This way students will want to stick to the main idea so they get posted!


The teacher can add media files for students to use in their posts! They have three options when adding media: computer file, URL, or media library. Everyone can access the media library. This is a super fun way to get students introduced to adding pictures or videos to their work.
There are also several different themes you can you to make your blog a little cuter! KidBlog does not allow you to insert your own theme, you have to use the ones they have created, unless you wanted to upgrade to the paying version.

So why would you want your students to blog?
I was hoping you would ask! ( I have been working really hard on my AR project!) Blogging will not only create a meaningful learning experience for your students, but they will also be super engaged in the task! Students always want to get on Facebook like their older siblings or parents to talk to their friends. This gives them a safe way to do so! Students will want to do well on their blog posts because their friends will be seeing them. They will increase their writing skills, vocabulary, and get more familiar with using a computer keyboard. 
*Gonna get professional for a sec!*
Let's face it, technology is not going away. Students are going to have to know how to communicate properly online. They will have to be able to e-mail their boss, fill out resumes, and prove that they can be professional. I want to start forming those good communication habits early. When students are posting that they have graduated, their post should NOT look like this...

Does that make you cringe as much as it does me!?!
I have created a letter explaining blogging to parents! All you have to do is stick your name at the bottom! 
Want to know how to get started?! Well, I have that ready for you too! I'm super into this blogging in the classroom:)




Click here for the parent letter!!
I also had to make a video about blogging for my class, so here it is! It was my first one ever, so I was pretty excited about it!




10 comments:

  1. I am so happy I found your blog! I discovered Kidblog this past year and fell in LOVE! :) I even blogged about if as my Tried it Tuesday one week.
    I too was worried about their individual passwords, so used their library check out/lunch number as their password because they use it twice a day already. Thanks so much for creating the Youtube video! I am hoping to get my team on board with it next year, and that video will hopefully do the trick! :) Also…thanks so much for the parent letter! I am definitely using it next year! :)

    Amber
    PeppyZestyTeacherista

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  2. How did your kiddos do with blogging?! Did they love it? I'm so glad you liked the parent letter! I hope the YouTube video does the trick! Thanks for stopping by:)

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  3. My fourth graders were obsessed with blogging this past year. Love your video and parent letter. Great idea! Thanks for linking up.

    Kristin
    iTeach 1:1

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    1. I found Kidblog through my technology classes for my masters! I can't wait to try it with my second graders! I love your blog by the way! There are some awesome resources I can use in my class!
      Aimee:)

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  4. Love Kidblog! I used it with my 1st graders for reading response activities a few years ago! This was a super informative post- thanks for linking up!
    Aylin
    Learning to the Core

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    1. Knowing that you used it with first graders makes me feel more excited about introducing it to my second graders! I usually only have heard about older students using it!

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  5. EXCELLENT Post!!! Thanks for all the great information and pictures....plus the video is pretty cool. Everyone I know raves about kidblog too! I'll be sharing this with a few of my teacher friends that have been asking who to use it.

    Thanks Aimee,
    Matt
    Digital: Divide & Conquer

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    1. Thanks:) I love finding new technology tools for my room. The kids love it and it is going to really help them prepare for the future!
      Aimee

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  6. Great post! I know so many people that just adore Kidblog! I'm curoius, how much of a time commitment is it in your class?
    Erin
    Short and Sassy Teacher

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    1. I just found it over this summer, so I haven't had a chance to use it in my room yet. My plan is to make it part of Math groups or Daily 5 groups(writing about reading or listening to reading response) after the kids get the hang of it! That will be about 15-20 minutes a day, but not all students will get to it each day. It will be more of a weekly assignment.

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