Tuesday, June 26, 2012

3 Easy Integration Ideas for Your Blog

I talked in an earlier post about the evolution of the use of blogging in my classroom. Whenever I mention starting a classroom blog to teachers, or do professional development sessions that involve blogs, there are a few ways to use blogs in the classroom that I seem to always mention. Here's a list of a few ways you can use a classroom or student blogs in the classroom.

  1. Blogging is writing, so it's pretty obvious that the go-to use of blogs is to have students write. A blog is a perfect place for students to keep a learning journal, reflection log, or writing notebook! For this, a service such as Kidblog is perfect for creating and managing blogs for younger students. Older students or adult learners could use Google's Blogger easily for this. This is a blogger blog !
  2. When I was in the elementary classroom, I loved using my class blog as a center activity. Students rotated through the blogging station through-out the week. Each week there was a discussion question for them to answer or reply to. I posted the topic or question, and they replied back through comments. There were quite a few reasons that I loved using blogging as a center. Let's be honest- as a teacher time is the one thing you never have enough of! Each week, the only setup I had to worry about for this center was posting a question or topic. Also, depending on the need, the question or topic could be from any content area or subject! Finally, it was great seeing students answer the question and then be excited to reply back to others in the class!
  3. Another thing that my students always loved was looking at the stats from our class blog. In blogger, you can view your page views broken down by country. It didn't take too long to get page views from countries around the world...and students were so excited about that! So not only were students motivated to make sure their writing was up to par with being seen around the world, but I could also use the stats as a way to engage students in learning about other cultures, countries, geography, and more. We could even pull mathematics in by using the measurement tools in Google Earth to measure distances between different places, or in upper grades by using the page view numbers and converting them into the fractional or decimal parts.

So those are 3 pretty simple ways to use a classroom blog. How do you use yours?

Friday, June 22, 2012

New URL and Domain!

Good morning! I'm still finding ways to procrastinate from working on my dissertation proposal, I've FINALLY starting setting up the domain that my brother and sister-in-law gifted me for CHRISTMAS.  That's taken long enough, huh? Anyway...for now at least this blog will still redirect, so it should be okay if you leave your reader feed set as it is. However, you can actually set your reader to the new URL at if you'd like!  Once I actually make some progress on the dissertation front, I'll be working on my site more!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Social Studies Fun with QR Codes

I don't know about any of you, but it has been a whirlwind summer so far! This week our county has started summer hours for 12 month employees, which are Monday - Thursday 7am - 6pm. It makes for long days, but I am really looking forward to having Fridays off for the next few weeks!

I'm just now getting the chance to sit down and reflect on a few things from the school year, and I wanted to share one of the fun things I had the opportunity to do during the last couple weeks of school. I got spend some time doing one of my favorite things- working with 3rd graders! Mrs. Bare at Carr Elementary contacted me about collaborating on a social studies lesson focusing on inventors. We had the best time!

Once Mrs. Bare told me which inventors to focus on, I created a QR code for each inventor that took students to a biography page, video, or other resource for that inventor. I printed each QR code out on a single sheet of paper and posted them around the school (making sure to post in places where there was a wireless signal). Students were paired up, and each pair was given an i-Pod touch. To complete the activity, students searched for the QR codes, scanned them using i-nigma, and filled in the requested information on their handout. The QR codes were also on the handout, since I wasn't sure they would be able to travel around the school that day. The activity took over an hour- and it was great to see students intent on reading the information on each site! They even asked for more time so they could watch the accompanying videos on each site. After the research portion was done, students could then take their information and use it to create presentations to share with each other. I loved doing this activity with this great group of 3rd graders!

If you'd like the QR code printouts, student handouts, and lesson plan for this lesson just leave a comment and I'll be glad to send it out or post it!

Below you can enjoy some pictures of students hard at work.