Monday, October 22, 2012

What a problem!

One of the most successful ways I have tried to motivate writers is to give them an authentic audience. This can be achieved many ways, but the one I like most is blogging! Last year I used Blogger.com with my students. They had to be guest writers on our class blog. It was okay, but not great. I had to use a separate gmail because our school doesn't have Blogger enabled. I don't like my school and personal accounts to be linked because most of my colleagues don't know I blog. (I'm not sure I want the administration knowing it either, although I know they could find this blog by a Google Search if they wanted.)

This year I am using Kidblog.org for student blogging. I love it! Although my first post was October 14, most students already have two or three blog posts. Two that I said were mandatory, and the third is just because they love blogging. (See comments in the yellow above.)

With Kidblog, you sign up for the free account. You add students. You can assign user names and passwords. This makes it easy if you are using several online programs with logins. Students find the class site and then login.

The program works much like Blogger, as the screen shot shows. When I student completes their post, they have to Submit for Review. The teacher then approves or disapproves of the posting. Students can also post comments on other student's posts. This is where my problem developed. Faster than I could approve a post, students were posting comments. Comments also have to be approved by the teacher. Several students post several comments daily. I have told them that at this point, I will not approve posts or comments that are not proof read and spell checked.

On Friday, I showed students how to used Word to do the word processing (spell check included) and to copy and paste to the blog. We also added photographs.

My students are quite techy. Many changed their avatar (from a list) and switched blog backgrounds without saying anything. I was surprised. They love when we have the iPads. This lets them all blog at once. This regular Kidblogging has quickly become a problem that I can live with.

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