15 Awesome Ways To Use Blogs in Your Classrooms
Ever thought of using a blog to enhance your classroom?
Or perhaps you have one and are looking for some awesome ideas to bring your blog (and classroom!) to life.
Here are 15 examples that come out of just ONE of the 100's of digital teacher workbooks inside of our Teacher Learning Community.
Meet the Author
When reading a work written by a contemporary author, invite the writer to interact with your students using a blog. Ask students to brainstorm and post questions and comments about the text for the author to respond to. Depending on interest and the author's availability, this can range from a one-time week-long Q&A to an activity that extends throughout the time you're reading the text in class.
Create a Class Compendium
A compendium is a summary or abridgment of a more extensive topic. Have students work in small groups to write and post summaries of content covered in class to build a compendium for content covered over a semester. Entries may be reviewed and edited by all class members. When finished, students will have study guides for exam review.
Enlist a teacher at another school who is willing to have students blog with your class. Identify an instructional unit or activity you'll be teaching at the same time such as a weather study or reading a specific book. Take turns posting activities that students from both classes respond to online. Encourage students to comment on posts from other students.
Web Site Links
In addition to the static and dynamic information you post on the blog, adding links to content areas or research Web sites can be helpful. Make a list of the sites you want substitutes to use and add them to the links area of your blog.
Create a Departmental or Grade Level Blog for Substitute Teachers
You've decided to create a blog for substitute teachers, but you would like to collaborate with one or more other teachers on staff while building the blog. Propose creating a grade level or departmental substitute teacher blog. Not only will this increase collaboration with your peers, but will also support consistency in grade level or departmental expectations for those days when teachers are absent.
Test Drive your Blog
Once you've created your substitute teacher blog, avoid potential problems by sharing the URL with colleagues or one or more substitute teachers you know. Ask for feedback about ease of use, organization, and clarity of directions. Review comments and make appropriate changes.
Blog Daily Language and Math Activities
Teachers frequently ask students to keep a personal journal where they complete short, daily activities such as proofreading several sentences or solving review math problems. These activities can be taken online by posting them as prompts in a group blog and then having students post their work as replies.
Collaborate to Create an Online Study Guide
Students can work collaboratively to build an online study guide using a group dialectical blog journal. Frequent posts to the blog build documentation that serves as a reference when it's time to prepare for a quiz or exam. As you cover material, post prompts that ask students to explore important concepts. Then redirect students to earlier prompts and group comments when it's time to review material.
Challenge Students to Write Prompts
Once students have journaled for a period of time and are familiar with the kinds of prompts you provide, invite them to create prompts for the class and use these prompts whenever possible.
Outline Online Etiquette
Invite parents and students to help you develop a list of guidelines for online etiquette when using a blog. Compile the top 10 ideas and post them on your blog.
Create a Blog Tutorial
Challenge your students to write, record, and post an online tutorial explaining to their parents how to use the blog. Use free tools such as Wink (www.debugmode.com/wink/) or VoiceThread.com to create the tutorial.
Conduct an Online Survey
The next time you need to survey parents, use a free online survey such as SurveyMonkey.com or Polls (zoho.com) to create the survey and link it to your blog. This encourages parents to visit the blog and allows you to collect, tabulate, and report survey results online.
Collaborate to Create a Classroom News Blog
Create a blog for communicating general classroom news. Work with students to identify the kinds of information they'd like to share with parents, then engage them in writing and posting daily or weekly news updates.
Create a Blog for Problem Solving
Assess and monitor your upper elementary students' problem-solving skills using a special blog you create for this purpose. Post a weekly challenge, like a riddle or brainteaser, that requires your students to think creatively in order to find a solution. Ask students to post their solutions on the blog, then discuss the solutions with the whole class at the end of the week. Each week's post and comments will be saved in the blog archive for later reference. Expand this activity by inviting students to find and share challenges with the rest of the class. This special purpose blog can be linked to your general classroom blog for easy access.
Illustrate an Activity
Parents of younger children are often at a loss at how to help their child with hands-on projects or activities. Use a blog to post written directions and illustrations parents can use as a guide. For example, folding an origami bat is easy--if you know the steps. Take and post digital photos that show how to fold a bat. When it's time to complete the assignment, send home the paper to fold and the Web address for the directions you've posted on the blog. Encourage parents and students to post questions or comments as they work at home.
Love these ideas? There's so much more to learn about blogging...and 100's of other topics. Join us inside the Teacher Learning Community!