Classroom Blogs: Welcoming Everyone into the Class

I visited multiple classroom blogs to see what types of information teachers post on their classroom blogs and whether I would benefit from starting my own classroom blog. In order to fully explore the differences in blogs, I visited and reviewed one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school level blog.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BLOG: MR. AVERY’S CLASS ( http://mravery.edublogs.org/ )

Mr. Avery is a teacher at Dennett Elementary School in Plympton, Massachusetts. His blog posts primarily focus on what is going on in his classroom. I believe it is a helpful way for students and parents to keep updated on what is going on in the classroom. Mr. Avery even includes a link to a page containing photographs of the classroom and special class events. (http://mravery.edublogs.org/pictures/)

Mr. Avery also has links to a homework page, where students and parents can see all of the homework assignments for his class.  (http://mravery.edublogs.org/homework/)

One really creative way that Mr. Avery also uses his classroom blog is he worked with four other teachers to develop a project called The Tale Trail, which connects the five classes together. Each teacher’s blog contains a portion of the assignment. (http://mravery.edublogs.org/2012/05/22/taletrail4/)  I thought that this was an innovative way to encourage students to visit other classroom blogs.

I enjoyed visiting Mr. Avery’s blog because I believe that I could also use his idea of linking classroom blogs through one assignment.  In particular, I think it would be neat to gather teachers together who were working on a similar unit that could be connected.  For instance, when my English 9 students read the book “Night,” which is about the Holocaust, it would be interesting for me to work with the World History teacher on the history of the Holocaust and then perhaps an art teacher on photography from the Holocaust.  If our curriculums could overlap at the same time, that would be a perfect opportunity for a cross-curricular project through our blogs.

MIDDLE SCHOOL BLOG: MR. MILLER’S CLASSROOM (http://mrmillersblog.com/ )

Mr. Miller is a 7th grade History teacher at Chalone Peaks Middle School in King City, California.  Similar to Mr. Avery’s blog, Mr. Miller’s posts primarily focus on keeping students and parents updated on what is happening in his classroom.  One special type of post that Mr. Miller’s blog features is called Student Showcase.  His Student Showcase posts share excellent examples of student work.  I like this idea because it gives students something to strive for as they work on assignments.

I also noticed that Mr. Miller’s blog follows classroom blogs from other states and countries, which is a great way for students to expand their knowledge of other geographic regions.  Following classroom blogs from other countries provides students with an opportunity to see what students around the world are studying and notice the similarities.

I am slightly disappointed that Mr. Miller’s blog does not contain many pages to keep it organized and user-friendly.  In fact, there are only two pages to his blog: an “About” page (http://mrmillersblog.com/about/), which introduces Mr. Miller, and a “Home” page (http://mrmillersblog.com/ ), which contains all of his blog posts in one place.  I prefer blogs that have more tabs so that searching for certain information is much faster.

When creating a classroom blog of my own, I would use Mr. Miller’s idea of following classroom blogs from other states and countries.  I think that linking my classroom blog to such a variety of other classroom blogs would benefit my students by opening them up to what is going on in other parts of the world.  I would really love to follow the classroom blogs of other English 9 teachers so students could even compare curriculums.  This would also be a wonderful way for me to encourage other teachers to blog.

HIGH SCHOOL BLOG: MS. RAKER’S BLOG (http://maquoketa.k12.ia.us/aurbain/)

Ms. Raker is an English 9 and Creative Writing teacher at Maquoketa High School in Maquoketa, Iowa.  One of the biggest differences I found with this classroom blog compared to the first two is that Ms. Raker has very little information on her blog.  She has a link for each of her courses, but the only information posted on these pages is the course syllabus. (http://maquoketa.k12.ia.us/aurbain/classes/english-9-syllabus/)

One aspect of Ms. Raker’s blog that I did really like is that she includes information for more than just her classes.  Many high school teachers are involved in the school beyond teaching classes  by coaching sports or advising clubs. For instance, she is also the tennis coach, so she has a link for tennis that includes important dates for upcoming matches. (http://maquoketa.k12.ia.us/aurbain/tennis/2011-schedule/)

I would also do this if I create a classroom blog.  As a high school teacher, I believe that it is important to become involved within the school in multiple ways.  For this reason, I am not only an English teacher, but also the Yearbook Advisor and Cheerleading Assistant Coach.  I think it is a great idea to include links to pages for the other activities I am involved with for the school.  This would help students easily access the information and it would also be a way for parents to see the other ways I am involved with the high school.

REFLECTION

After visiting multiple classroom blogs, it is easy for me to see how I could create a classroom blog for my own classes.  I think that using blogs in an educational setting is a great idea.  These days, students are so enthralled with technology and the internet that communicating information through a blog makes perfect sense.  Also, many of the classroom blogs I looked at are providing excellent resources for the parents.  For instance, if a student is absent from my class and I regularly post homework assignments to my blog, that parent and/or student could see what needs to be done at home so the student does not fall behind in my class.  Also, as I stated before, by following blogs from around the world, my blog would connect students to so many new places.  The educational community can easily be brought together through classroom blogs!

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4 thoughts on “Classroom Blogs: Welcoming Everyone into the Class

  1. Thank you for your review of blogs by librarians. As a classroom teacher, I haven’t spent much time viewing this category and I enjoyed checking out your suggested sites. I agree with you that classroom blogs seem to be an excellent way to connect classrooms around the world. Through this digiatl media, we are not only teaching our students how to use technology responsibly, we are also teaching them cultural awareness, diversity, and even tolerance.

  2. I love the idea about posting assignments and homework on the blog. Now when a child comes home and says the usual, “I don’t have homework tonight”, the parent/s can really check and see what is going on.

  3. The classroom blogs you found were fantastic and very inspiring. I feel like this is something I really could do with my students. I loved some of the projects Mr. Avery’s students were doing and sharing with other classes all over the world. Having students share their work online is really helping them prepare for the 21st century where they will be communicating and working with people all over the world. I also enjoyed Mr. Miller’s blog because his middle school students were actually writing posts themselves. Mr. Miller’s blog has given them a truly authentic audience to write to. I am curious how they were able to get parents on board with using a classroom blog. I think it is a great way to communicate, but I know I would have some parents who would be more resistant. Did you read anything about how they got started?

  4. I love the way that you have structured your blog post into sub-headings! It made it easy to follow and I feel like it suits the “blog style.” The blogs you explored were quite similar to some of the ones that I had looked at, and I’m starting to see that there are several ways for blogs to be really sucessful. Mostly, I think it’s about setting a clear purpose for the blog.

    I also found the high school blog to be more sparse and quite different from classroom blogs at the lower levels. The one that I chose to review did not include many posts, but instead pages for each class with resources and links to other discussion forums that the students would actually use. At the high school level, I think classroom blogs are trying to encourage student independence. Teachers seem to be puching students to really use the blog to learn, instead of just using it to document classroom activities for parents to see.

    -Taryn

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