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Resources and ideas for creating engaging classrooms.
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Great Resources for
Summer School!

Learn to identify common birds plus ideas for attracting backyard birds.

Flower Power: Learn parts of a flower.
Includes a fun craft idea.
Inside Seeds: Learn parts of a seed.
 
An active simulation to
teach about why some
animals may become endangered.
Practice making change using math story problems.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 
Blogging With Students

Why Blog with Students?
 
The last few years I have used blogging with my 5th grade students. My experience was that some students who were reluctant writers became more motivated toward writing.  My preteen students saw their older siblings engaged in social networks and using blogging can gave my 5th graders a sense of being a part of a social network but in a safe online environment. Here are some of the reasons I liked using blogging with students.
- Students write to a real audience. - Students tend to write better when they have a defined audience. They will think more about their writing if they know other people will read what they write. (Parents, other students, teachers, grandparents, relatives and people from all over the world.)
- Students become more engaged and motivated. - I have found that many of the students who were least likely to be engaged in the traditional writing classroom are now some of the students who use their blog the most. I had several students who chose to write extra blogs beyond what was expected for class.
- Students enjoy writing comments on classmates' blogs. They also love reading the comment left on their blogs by their classmates. - The ability to comment on a friend's work, a classmate's work, the teacher's work and an almost unknown person on the other side of the world provides instant feedback and is great motivation for the students. Students develop a greater sense of community in the classroom when they comment on each others work.
- Provides opportunities to teach real lessons on netiquette and digital citizenship. - Blogging gives you a real context for teaching all of these digital literacy standards. During the process of developing our blogs there were many "teachable moments".
- Teachers can reinforce lessons about Internet safety.  Our blogging experiences were preceded by some Internet Safety lessons.
-Students learn about copyright. - As students learn to add media to their blogs you will have opportunities to teach about copyright.
- Students have a chance to practice cooperation and collaboration - Blogging can open your class up to world wide projects. Student can work together on blogs or collaborate with classrooms across the world through key pal relationships.
- Blogging provides another means for teaching writing. - There are many writing processes that you can teach for particular text types and products. There are many types of writing assignments that can be given through blogging. 
- Blogging is really easy - Blogging tools are easy to use and familiar to students who are used to word processing programs.
- Blogging provides a real or authentic application of what they are learning in word study. - Blogging can be a motivator to using spelling conventions. Students are more aware of conventions when they know others will see their work.
- Students will have opportunities for authentic practice of their keyboarding skills.- Blogging gives students "real world" practice to develop their keyboarding skills.
- Students get immediate feedback on their writing.- Students can get immediate feedback from me about their writing. We can skip the time it takes to collect papers, read through them, comment and give suggestions for improvement, and then return them.
- Blogging give the teacher an opportunity to model good writing. -Blogging gives the teacher a chance to model good writing.
- Students will get practice reading.- Students need to read the classmate's and teacher's blogs in order to comment on them. Blogging will help reinforce the important connection between reading and writing.
- Blogging can provide opportunities for differentiated instruction.- The blog gives some of our more verbally reserved students a forum for their thoughts. Blogging provides opportunities for using visual or audio media in their posts.
 
Visit my Teach With Technology Blog/Blogging With Students post to read about my experience with classroom blogging.
 





Blogging Resources
 

Kidblog.org :Teachers register and set up accounts for their students. What I like about this service (besides that it's free) is that the teacher monitors all posts and comments and must approve them before they are posted. You can also make your posts private and visible only to members of the class. The teacher also has the option to make private comments on students' posts. My 5th grade students found Kidblog very easy to use and enjoyed posting and commenting on their peers' posts. It also gave me an opportunity to model writing skills as I posted blogs along with my students.
 
Glogster:Another website where teachers set up accounts for their students. Students create interactive posters. The account is free but you can purchase a premium account for very little which will allow you to create assignments and templates for students. My 5th grade students also found this fairly easy to figure out and enjoyed creating projects.
 
Downloads
 
 
A good resource to help you get started is:Blogging in the Classroom
Great Resources
 
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Last Update on 4/15/13