So I stumbled upon this site called KidBlog.org while looking for something totally unrelated and now after using it for about 2 days in the classroom, it has totally changed my life!
KidBlog is a basic blogging site that can be set up to be controlled by the teacher. You don’t need emails to set up student accounts, only the teacher account. Then when each student logs in they can add to their blog or comment on someone else from the class blog list. The platform is set up on a WordPress type blog so many of the functions are the same, only very stripped down.
We have a classroom set up and I can put all of the students in with their own account. So far in two days the kids have posted about lots of little things like being new to the school or summer vacation stuff. The nice part is not carrying around writing journals to grade or comment. I have the permissions set to email me when a new post is made so that I can approve it before it goes up. I spend about 5 minutes when I check my email, clicking through to their posts, checking for decency and then making a quick comment.
Today during “Fun Friday” I had students that choose to write on the blog instead of play games, and we are not talking about my gifted students, we are talking about my high needs students that won’t write during regular class time! I think this addition to our station routines is going to make a huge difference in our writing.
Another high point is the versatility, because they are typing through an Internet program, their work is autosaved and accessible from any computer. So I don’t have to save files on flash drives or our district system, which is super complicated for 2nd graders. I’m also thinking that when we do our NaNoWriMo in November, we will be able to type and save our work like real novelists plus keep track of our word count!
This is exciting, and if you are a teacher there is no reason why you should not have a KidBlog for your class. This is a huge step in helping to teach students to be digital natives and responsible users of technology as a TOOL and not a TOY! Ok, mini-rant over!