Tuesday, January 27, 2009

921-Session 2

Welcome back!

Let's start by reading a powerful blog entry on today's techsavy students. It can get a little heavy at times, but spend some time exploring the links there. It is eye-opening information (even if at two years old) that all educators should read.

I hope that after that you don't feel too overwhelmed with all of the references and links I included this week. Your first assignment, Deliverable #1, is due before next Tuesday morning (2/3/09). The details are in the syllabus and summarized here:

Deliverable #1 will be to sign up for your own blog (I see that some of you already have). You don't have to create anything fancy. (A person could lose track of time playing with all the details.) Save the 'add a gadget' part for later this semester.

Setting up a Blogger account will also change how you comment on our class blog. Instead of choosing 'anonymous' you will instead type in your Blogger user name. If you already have a Google account (either gmail, gdocs..... ) then you can use the same user name and password b/c the companies are interconnected.

You may access the wisdom of those that have taken this class before you here. And also from las Summer's participants here.

Also, some invaluable resources you should also start to check out are the tutorial links along the left side of this page. They'll walk you through a lot of what you need. Great for the visual learners out there. And lastly don't forget to tell us all your new blog address in your posting for this week. As they come in I'll post links to them in the margin with past participants.

By now, most of you are getting more comfortable navigating our class blog. You will spend the bulk of this session being exposed to the multitude of possibilities for using blogs in education. Unfortunately, it seems that some school systems use filtering systems that block access to many blogs, but where there is a will there is a way. You can't stop the evolution of technology, so for every blogging service that is blocked I'm sure there will be ten others to take its place. We are told that the rationale for blocking access is to protect the children, but I see examples every week of our students using inventiveness and ingenuity to circumvent filters. The kids are more savvy at this than us. I've seen students use proxy servers, foreign country websites, and different languages just to check out their MySpace and Facebook accounts at school. Also, every new cell phone now has the ability to access the Internet, so very soon the students won't even have filters to slow them down.

Blogs are popping up everywhere. Just check out the Providence Journal's website: http://www.projo.com/blogs/ and count how many different blogs are available there. I also have 29 high school students this semester taking 'virtual' classes at a vitual high school. They come to the library for their scheduled period and nearly every one of these classes has a blogging component. Check it out: http://www.govhs.org/

Tomorrow I'd like you to take an informal survey of your students and ask them about their online journal or blog use. (They may call it something different, but the most prevalent are MySpace or FaceBook) Obviously the older the students--the higher the percentage of use---but if your survey shows you results similar to mine, then you will be very surprised at the usage statistics. More then 95 % of my students here at the high school use some sort of online journal. The new trend is moving toward Facebook.com. And that number appears to be increasing all the time. Blogs won't always work for "every discipline--every day," but when you begin to grasp the versatility of their usage you will see that they can be a powerful communication tool. And if such a large percentage of our population is using a certain kind of technology then it is surely in our best interest as educators to become well versed in it. Watch this video on Web 2.0. It might be a little deeper than we, as educators, need to reach, but it gives us some perspective.

An example of how the power of participation can be harnessed within a single course comes from David Wiley at Utah State University. In the fall of 2004, Wiley taught a graduate seminar, “Understanding Online Interaction.” He describes what happened when his students were required to share their coursework publicly:
Because my goal as a teacher is to bring my students into full legitimate
participation in the community of instructional technologists as quickly as
possible, all student writing was done on public blogs. The writing students did
in the first few weeks was interesting but average. In the fourth week, however,
I posted a list of links to all the student blogs and mentioned the list on my
own blog. I also encouraged the students to start reading one another's writing.
The difference in the writing that next week was startling. Each student wrote
significantly more than they had previously. Each piece was more thoughtful.
Students commented on each other's writing and interlinked their pieces to show
related or contradicting thoughts. Then one of the student assignments was
commented on and linked to from a very prominent blogger. Many people read the
student blogs and subscribed to some of them. When these outside comments showed
up, indicating that the students really were plugging into the international
community's discourse, the quality of the writing improved again. The power of
peer review had been brought to bear on the assignments. Full Article

Now"blog away!!"
Dave Fontaine
PS--If you have trouble downloading this week's session from the link above then use this as a backup.  Once there just search for edc921 and find the appropriate session.


jim kaczynski said...

It is a snow day in RI! A great day to set up a blog (after sledding and hot chocolate of course). Although I already have a blog, I'm going to start another that I will eventually delete where I can try stuff (posting HW, lessons where students collaborate through comments, etc) with my classes. This will eventually lead to a third and better blog to carry forward.

I have already informally polled 7th and 8th grade students in my school and many 7th graders are not allowed to use facebook. 8th graders use IM/AIM and the more advanced ones are moving to facebook. My son (10th grade)and his friends have left IM behind (he told me to delete it from the computer) and are in the process of exiting Facebook. Among HS boys at his school X-BOX live is how they talk. They also text on cell phones constantly and at all hours. I polled one 8th grade class and 1/3 of them said they can text w/o looking and in their phone pocket.

Mrs. Colonnese said...

FYI. Slide 24 in session 2
"System Maintenance Alert
As part of our ongoing commitment to quality assurance, the lynda.com site will undergo maintenance this Saturday, January 31st 2009 and the Online Training Library® may be unavailable for part of the early morning. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience"
I am able to run parts of this video with IE, but it crashes with Mozilla Firefox. I have reinstalled Quicktime but still have plug-in errors. Any thoughts

Nickal said...

Working on my blog... Most of my students (7th and 8th graders) are using Facebook and texting... Wondering if anybody has any experience or can offer any help posting a recorded Smartboard lesson... Similar to www.mathtrain.com... Would like to utilize my blog as a resource to kids...

Amy Kalif said...

Exciting news! (For me anyway) I just informally surveyed my students about Facebook/My Space. All but 1 student had one or both. I then asked how many students had a computer at home, and many did not. They informed me that they mostly use their cell phones to update their pages. This is great news because I work in a school (Rogers High School, Newport) with a lot of poverty. Suprising I know. I was concerned about the access my students would have to my blog, and wiki, if they didn't have a computer at home. Since most students have a cell phone, I am relieved and excited to pursue my blogging potential. By the way, my blog can be found at: www.kalifcorner.blogspot.com.

Nickal said...

Figured out the Smartboard question... Check it out on my blog... more to come soon as the kids get thier midyear project completed! jtownmath.blogspace.com

Abbe said...

I found the students are using both facebook and myspace. I agree that schools are falling further behind, and that kids do need to “power down” when they’re in school. The readings really got me thinking about how little we currently offer to prepare students for a 21st century careers. I talked to an administrator at length about it this week. There may be some interest in doing an online course/blog with another neighboring school. ( I better figure all of this out quickly!) I think Joyce Valenza’s article regarding the emerging Technology for education is right on. We’re seeing more smart devices in school (even with Middle School students.) I started a blog just for staff. I don’t know what the prospects are for our school yet, so I thought I’d start off safe at this point. It’s a book blog (http://ourbooksite.blogspot.com/)I would like to run our book club with a blog too- this will help me figure out what works. I have been working on edublog too, but I really don’t like the ads in the middle of the blog.

Mr. Kaczynski said...

I actually made two new blogs. One that will work as an index or general info page and another for posting HW and other items. Here's the link to my page. There is also a poll on it about how the kids communicate that you can check out.Still some things to work out but fun to play with. Lots of possibilities.


Charlotte Lesser said...

Hi all-
so just a quick posting for right now regarding my blog(s). My official, work sponsored blog is: Charlotte's Web..log. I have this up and running since the beginning of the school year, but quite honestly haven't really paid much attention to it as you can tell by the lack of postings! It doesn't have a lot of bells & whistles, but it isn't blocked by our filters which is a start! I'm meeting with our IT coordinator on Monday to talk about setting up a student blog, and how to get student email addresses if possible so my students can start blogging. I'll let you know how that goes! In the mean time I created one to play with on Blogger, complete with bells and whistles. Great Stone Face Book. I LOVE gadgets/widgets, whatever you want to call them. We have Vista at home so I have played with them for a while and I love Blogger's ability to easily import & use them. Sorry Dave! I know you said not to play with them, but I couldn't resist. (bad student, bad...)
more later on my reflections on the week's assigned readings/viewings.

Charlotte Lesser said...

Charlotte Lesser's Comments and misc. musings on the week's readings/viewings...

Very interesting article on Tech Savvy Students. So why, I wondered, are the "Millenials" the 1st generation born & raised digital: because they were born in 2000?? or started school in 2000?!! ah-ha! I think that's why. My son, who is 13, started Kindergarten in 2000, so I guess he's a Millenial. He has a cell phone and an Itouch and between the two his fingers are never still. Plus he uses AIM either on our computer or on his Itouch when he can pick up wifi. He isn't on Facebook (I'm not really comfortable with social networking sites for his age). I have to agree with the comment that "school requires them to power down". I taught a student (now in 8th grade) who 3 years ago had her own blog and posted her poetry. Even then she felt that what we were doing with technology lessons was "old" tech. Can't imagine how she feels now.

I LOVE Friedman's the World is Flat - read the book when it came out. Boy, if we in public schools don't do some serious catching up, our students are in trouble. I really like the idea of involving students in developing your tech plan. Our SAU tech plan is awful and is up in 2 years I think - I'll suggest involving students when we get to the planning stages.

I enjoyed taking a look at the "Best of the Blogs" - some great design elements and insightful postings. I like Shelfari (used in the Best designed edublog) and have one, but can't imbed it in my blog at the moment, so I've just linked to it Charlotte's Shelfari. Joyce Valenza is one of my "gurus", so yeah for Joyce for winning! She is always on the cutting edge and trying new things out with her students. Joyce created a fascinating chart a couple of years ago comparing technology when she started working in libraries (2 yrs before me) and now - makes for fascinating reading. I agree with Bill Ferriter (best teacher blog) about professional development. Fortunately our district has an excellent professional development plan with lots of ways you can "do your hours" including all kinds of things that you can do on your own. It's been cited by the State of NH as an excellent plan. Our Curriuculum Director (who is my boss) has great vision that way.... and he's not paying me to say that! ;-)

I can't say that I cared for the RBG site - found it cluttered, distracting and confusing. I did like the way the snapshots enlarged - way cool!

Ok - can I go on a rant here?? I totally agree with the sentiments in Is it ok to be a technologically illiterate teacher?!! We have far too many of those in our district, including some administrators! It's time for them to become literate or retire in my opinion. How can we possibly be a model for our students and get their respect if we refuse to use email, won't turn on a computer, don't know how to use a cell phone, etc etc etc! sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now....

I took a look at the blog map, not much showing up for my area except "Hoarded ordinaries" - now I think that ordinaries means underwear, so I'm a big reluctant to look at that blog! LOL

Narraganset School was great except the principal hasn't updated since 2007 (hmm, what's up with that?)

I do like Will Richardson's book - I find him very readable. He explains things very clearly and lays things out logically. It will be a good handbook for me as I try to get student blogs going in our district. As I said in my last post, I'm meeting with our IT coordinator, who admits that he's not very knowledgable about blogs, and in particular about how the blog software that we have with Microsoft Outlook works. Does anyone have this in their school district?? if so, can you email
me? clesser@mrsd.org Thanks!

Amy Kalif said...

I feel like the article Tech Savvy Students article is expressing something I couldn't quite express. Of course students are "powering down" to fit in our model of a traditional high school. Not only are we not preparing our students for the "real world," I feel like we are doing them a disservice. I can't wait for the entire model to change, instead of trying to get kids to change to fit an antiquated model.

Mrs. Krause said...

My students have limited blogging experience. Several of them have posted to an authors website during library time but this is the extent of their experience. Since they are fourth graders, I was expecting this (although after reading some of the articles, wasn't sure). I am using blogger.com for my blog because it was already used widely by teachers in the district and therefore I didn't have to get IT involved. The readings this week were informative and eye-opening. I do know that the children are exposed to much more technology that I am. It took me almost a year to download new music to my iPod mainly due to the limited time I had to "read" the instructions. Little did I know no one reads the instructions anymore, they just play with it until it works. I do not download ringtones etc. So therefore, I am really out of touch. I am aware that some of the middle schools have the capability to have students blogging on a daily basis. I must say that I am wondering how I will be able to bring this technology into the classroom with only one computer in the room for all of us to use. Through the readings, I understand that the internet is realatively safe to use, however, my concern with allowing others to comment is if something inappopriate is posted to the blog by a student or a parent, who will be responsible for the content? Is there a way to filter comments before they get posted to the website?

Mrs. Patricia Colonnese said...

I surveyed the kids in school for the last few days in the library. I teach in a K-5. They do not use Facebook. 5th graders are starting to use AIM, but not all. They are playing games and may use email on a very limited basis. It is instant messaging. One 5th grader used a game (which I forgot) that has a chat component but she felt she was too old for it now.

My blog is located at
It started out for book reviews by students which was hard to manage because all I can do is publish or reject. I have now changed it to a general publishing of things occurring in the library.

vivrelelivre said...

I'm in a 1-5 building and while some of my students are older than the average 1st-5th grader, the majority has very little Internet access at home. I spoke to some of my 5th graders and while some of them know what Facebook is, none of those I talked to had an account. Some of them because they aren't allowed to use the computer at home, some because their parents wouldn't let them (too young) and the rest because they did not know what Facebook was.
I do have a lot of students with cell phones and texting is a large part of their chosen method of communication.
I currently have three blogs up and not quite running. I have vivrelelivre on blogger, but this site is blocked at school and therefore relatively useless for educational purposes. I have a blog called BookTalking through 21 Classes but I’m not too thrilled with it and, since we can’t book mark anything, it was difficult to get kids too. We did have some fun with it though.
I also have a library blog through School Center. I HATE it. School Center is slow, clunky and not exactly user friendly, but it is what I must use (various district related reasons). So I am going to try to spend more time focusing on this blog and pulling students into it. I haven’t made any posts since last year and unfortunately the server isn’t letting me in right at the moment so you can’t even take a peek. I’m hoping to fix this sometime today or first thing tomorrow. http://schoolcenter.brentwood.k12.ny.us/education/components/board/default.php?sectiondetailid=17815

vivrelelivre said...

In reading though the various comments I found some food for my own thought.
I have to agree with Charlotte and her little "rant" about non-tech teachers. The majority of my teachers can use a cell phone and they have been forced to put their in-school email to at least limited use.
My problem is with the teachers who wont use technology in school because it takes too much time or the kids wont get it. Of course they wont get it unless we take the time to try and teach it. (I had a 4th grade class last year creating their own smartboard lessons...and they were pretty good)
As far as the kids powering down, on my level it is the other way around. For many of my students the only online access they get is through the school. With all the filters this doesn't always mean anything too great but we do the best we can.
My district has spent a lot of money on new technologies so that they can make sure that the students are getting the exposure that they need to be able to function in a 21st century world. The problem being in finding the time to teach them how to use theses technologies properly. We'll get there, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Mrs. Cappadona said...

Hi everyone,
Carol Cappadona here again. I deleted my old blog and set up a new one. You can find it at http://RockwellLibrary.blogspot.com. I was very interested to see all your blogs and noticed all the differing styles and concepts. It would seem that blogging is as varied as, well, every single person. I did an informal survey of one of my fifth grade classes who were in the library working on some narrative writing. None of my students were allowed on Facebook or other blogging sites. They do not have cell phones either. However, some had seen the sites (my brother has a site, my sister blogs, my aunt has a site and she lets me talk to my cousin, etc.). I had to email my tech people just to get to the class blog site. So they allowed that one site and I couldn’t link to any of the readings or other blogs from school. I think it is time for a meeting but I am new to the district this year so I will have to tread carefully and plan my strategy beforehand. I think Will Richardson’s book will be very helpful with this – I thought the sample letter to parents was a great template to use to help sway parents and (possibly) the tech people. When I discussed the possibility of blogging with the 5th grade teacher and his student teacher and a military person who was teaching a workshop with this 5th grade class, they all thought blogging educationally was a great idea. The military guy (sorry, I can’t remember his name) stated that even the military uses blogs to communicate. One of the students working on the writing attempted to turn in his work, stating he was finished – one paragraph. His teacher and I told him that was insufficient and told him to expand on his ideas etc. When we mentioned the possibility of blogging this writing, he stated emphatically – I wouldn’t blog this. He said he didn’t want other parents, or students reading what he had written, the way he had originally done it. I told him to write it as if he was blogging it to the world. He got to work. The students seemed enthusiastic about using blogs. They are delighted to come to the library (I have 25 computers) and use the computers for anything.
I’ve been trying some of the gadgets – managed to get some pictures on the blog. I’ll have to play with it when I have some time. I also figured out how to link some of my favorite books to the “look inside” feature at Amazon.com. I think my students would enjoy looking inside some of my favorites to see if they like them. Then I added a link to my Catalog so they could search for good books right from the blog.
I was interested in the b2evolution software that Doug Noon was experimenting with. I feel that I need to learn lots more about how to organize and manage this blogging experience for children before I leap in. But it has exciting possibilities. I would like students to be able to read my blog and comment on it. In order to do that, they would need email addresses, correct? Is there any way to post without an email address? I wonder if there is a way to assign accounts to students to access a blog in school, so they could post but not give them general email privileges.
I am thinking that as a librarian I would use my blog to facilitate communication with students and parents about the library and about events happening at school. I have a reading incentive program that needs more talking about. Each month I give awards to students who participate, but not all are participating and not all are aware of how to (although I do talk about it). I’m going to post to my blog and add a link to the reading log sheet for parents to access from home. Can I get a word document or a pdf file linked? Where would it be saved? More things to learn. . .

Mrs. Cappadona said...

Carol Cappadona again! I finally caught up with some reading and answered one of my own I wonder questions. David Warlick's Blogmeister would enable me to blog with students using passwords instead of email. Wow! More to read . . .

Mrs. Cappadona said...

Carol Cappadona again! I found a way to create a picture for myself: stortroopers.com. You can create a picture, give it clothing and save it. How cool is that?

Mrs. Krause said...

I have started my blog and it can be found at Krausenewsblog.blogger.com - a little wordy but it wouldn't accept my other entries. It is very basic at this time. I plan on keeping it a read only blog until I can decide where I eventually want to go with it. I will include things such as weekly homework assignments, class schedule, school calendar, lunch menu, pictures, links to other blogs in the school/district, and games and websites to practice the skills we are learning in class. Initially it took some time for me to get through the first steps, play with the templates and think about what I wanted to do. The rest seemed to go smoothly. I haven't stopped thinking about the things that I want to add. I have already packed my camera in my work bag so I can get some pictures to add this week!

Mrs. Cappadona said...

Carol Cappadona
Deliverable #1

I have been thinking about blogs for the past couple of weeks and considering how to implement the use of them into the library. One possible use would be to use a blog for professional collaboration with the staff members. I would be able to share with them some ideas for using technology and integrating it into their classrooms. Since I have the computer lab in my library, we could collaborate on planning lessons together and share expertise and knowledge via a blog. It would help us plan together without actually being together. I could post links to websites for them to check into and they could suggest curriculum related ideas and topics for me to focus my research on.

Another way to use a blog would be to have the students respond to a newspaper article or blog or magazine article. The students would first be asked to read the article via a link from the blog. They would then be asked to respond. Initially a short answer with comments would be acceptable; just to get them blogging and familiar with the software. I set up a blog using Blogger and have been experimenting with the tools and toys that might interest elementary students. I think that creating their own avatar would excite and interest them – their own “on-line” personality. I then would have the students begin writing and posting their thoughts and ideas to share with others. I could have 5th grade students read an article about our new president and then give them a blogging prompt – an open ended question that would elicit their thoughts as well as comments.

I could also use a blog to tell students and parents about things happening in the school, like student of the month activities, upcoming author visits, PTO activities, etc. The PTO at my school has an active email list that I could send a link to my blog. Then parents would be able to communicate directly with me.

A blog would help with my reading incentive program. My students are asked to write down the names of all the books they read and bring in the paper. Not all students remember to log their reading – with a blog, they could not only list what they read, but comment on it and I would be able to respond. At the youngest grade levels K-2, my reading program is very parent driven. How wonderful for those students who have computer savvy parents – they could blog with their children about the stories they read! And for the older students, perhaps they would be more interested in reading what others in their classes are reading and commenting on. I could also (I think) have a link on the blog to the form to print out and send in or they could submit it electronically. As I am writing this, I think I’d really like to try this as a first attempt at blogging. I could announce it to parents (providing I can get the blogging software unblocked) and respond both to students and parents and we could create a community of readers! Years ago when I researched reading incentive programs, the biggest indicator of belonging to a reading incentive program was a common goal – reading a quantity of books to belong to our reading community. What an incentive for sharing – not just listing what you read (as I do now) but sharing and discussing it for all the community to participate in. This is the way I think I’m going to go with my blog.

Maura McGill said...

I've successfully set up my first blog and feel pretty proud of myself! Although, I've had a really difficult time trying to download pictures. My principal even spent Friday afternoon trying to upload some student pictures to my blog. What a great principal! We were unsuccessful, but I think I've solved the problem and can upload pictures from my computer at home.[old computer at school] I'm excited to try it tomorrow by taking some new pictures of my students.
As a third grade teacher, I've decided to use my blog as a way to communicate to parents and students. It is a wonderful way of getting rid of that monthly newsletter. Some of my students have seen it up on the computer and are excited about when they can view it. It does build that enthusiasm!!I've decided for now to post reminders to parents/school events/classroom activities/homework/projects etc. I haven't figured out how I am going to set it up as a learning tool,yet. I realize there is still a lot I have to learn about blogs and I'm still at the basic level, but I feel good about what I've learned so far. I found an explanation on the Learning Blogger[end of Session 2] about how to moderate comments that will get posted on your blog. This was a concern me, so it answered that question for me. I was impressed by the many blogs I visited from your links. Mrs. Ris's Blog was set up in a way I wanted to set mine up. I liked the comment on one of your slides that said, "Parents felt like they were looking through a window into their child's day" when they looked at their child's classroom blog. What a great connection with your students' parents.
I found Session 2 informative and enlightening. The Learning Blogger is very clear cut and easy to use. This will be a resource I may need to use when I have other questions about my blog.
Honesty, I've ordered the book through Amazon and it has not arrived yet. I will read the assigned pages and leave comments as soon as it arrives. This post is from Maura McGill...last time I was posted as anonymous.

Charlotte Lesser said...

Deliverable #1:

After looking at Edublogs, Blogger & Live Journal and creating a sample blog on each one, I chose Blogger Great Stone Face Books as the easiest one to use for several reasons. The ease of setting up the blog, the ability to choose from a wide variety of templates, and the gadgets/widgets available to choose from, plus the very easy way to organize everything (drag and drop) convinced me that Blogger would work best for my purposes which is to get the students to write about the books nominated for the Great Stone Face Book Award.

I am a library media specialist and I currently teach grades K-6 in two smalls schools. In New Hampshire, we have a children’s book award called the Great Stone Face award. Awarded yearly, students in grades 4-6 read from a list of 25 titles and vote on their favorite title in May. This is a huge focus in my classes with students; I start the year with an overview (yes I read all 25 ahead of time) and continue to promote the titles through a variety of ways all through the year. Currently I have a permanent display area, a key ring with 3x5 cards, links in our OPAC, and a mini-book review poster (each book has instructions in a pocket in the front). I envision that the blog that I have set up would be a way for students to share their opinions about the books that they have read. My students really enjoy working on the computers and I am fortunate to have a small lab (12 computers) located in the library itself. I am planning on teaching them how to use the blog and then giving them some class time to blog. Since not all students read the books, I need to think about how to involve the other students.

The more significant piece of my job is that I supervise 4 other paraprofessionals that provide library service and instruction in four of the larger elementary schools in my district. In the past I have communicated with my staff primarily through 3 media: my web pages, a newsletter published 4x a year, and email. I decided this year to dispense with my newsletter and to move to a blog where I could include what was in my newsletter but be both paperless and more current. I have found that I need to think about posting to my blog in a different way than I created my newsletter. My goal is to be more active in my blog this spring than I was last fall. In addition my district has moved to using Microsoft Outlook and we have an option called “public folders” which allow us to share documents and post things of interest. I have moved parts of what I included in my newsletter into our library folder.

The other way that I could see using blogs is for professional development across our rural school district. I could see doing book discussion groups, some PLC work, and possibly other workshops using a blog format. It is my plan to offer a professional development workshop next fall in my district to teachers to encourage them to blog with their students. (that is provided that I pass this class!)

Mrs. Patricia Colonnese said...

Follow up comments on my blog.


I now have a vehicle to communicate to students, parents and staff on what is happening in the library. I send a lot of emails out to staff to keep them updated, but this blog can reach parents as well as students. This blog will be an alternative to our library newsletter. I will have to make sure it gets posted in the school newsletter, so everyone knows about it. I can see where adding the gadgets, links and favorite blogs can keep us busy.

I use the Big 6 for research in the library. I plan to document what I am doing at each grade level on either this blog or another. We have technology assured experiences for all grades throughout the year. Parents are very interested in learning more about the process. We get parent volunteers to help us out, and they may come for one week and not the entire research project which could take six weeks to complete. It is difficult to stop and explain what we are doing, so maybe this blog would be a good place to set it up. If not, a separate blog on research projects at FES.
Another possibility for a blog is setting up a teacher blog book review. We can do a book club online and post to it which may be easier than working with the kids book reviews. I started this blogs with grades 3-5 book reviews and found I was rejecting most of their work and that doesn't feel good as a student.

I have ordered the class books and I am still waiting, so I have a bit of reading to catch up. There is a "Library Blogging" book that looked interesting, so I ordered that too.

I was not able to access Mrs. Krause's blog. It could be me. I tried it twice. Is the name correct?

Suzanne said...


I thought I used blogger.com but I just tried to login myself and it goes through krausenewsblog.blogspot.com?? I am sure they must be connected in some way because I was definitely working in blogger.com!

Suzanne said...

Suzanne Krause
February 2, 2009

Deliverable 1 –Integrating Blogs into the Classroom

I chose to use blogger.com due to the fact that it was already approved by our IT department and because of it’s ease of use. Initially, I plan to use the blog that I create and modify this week as a read-only, informational tool for the parents and students. I will post pictures of the children at work, links to the school, PTO and district websites, class schedules, upcoming events and various links with information pertinent to what we are doing in class.

Eventually I would like the students to participate in posting to the blog. I envision each child having a separate “folder” where they can post their information. Currently, the students are creating PowerPoint presentations in social studies. I would love to be able to get these on the blog. Some of the students have posted responses to books on various blogs during library skills class. I think I would like to have all of my students post their opinions on their independent reading books. Maybe a short I would/would not recommend this book because _____ would be a good start.

I will use the blog to post assignments, spelling lists and links to readings, authors and online textbooks. I could use the blog to replace my bi-weekly (lately monthly) newsletter, although I am shying away from this because not all of my students have access to computers at home.

In two short weeks, this class has opened my eyes to the limitless possibilities of blogging. I am hoping to have my blog open to the “public” within the next week. I am sure I will be going in many directions with it over the next few days. It is so hard to decide what to put in and what to leave out for now. I have told the kids about the blog and they are very excited. They are looking forward to seeing the “final product”.

juliep said...

Julie P here, I have been polling the kids at school, I am the librarian at a k-5 building about blogging, e-mail, IM and anything else they might know of. Not too many. 3rd graders e-mail because of a site that we pay for BrainPOP, it has an e-mail component and they can e-mail friends in their class if they want to recommend a game or article to read on their site. Some 5th graders have their own e-mail accounts, don't know if Mom & Dad know about this, I don't allow them to e-mail in the library unless they are logged into BrainPOP and that is only the 3rd graders.

A few kids did say that they play online games where they play against other kids from other states.

juliep said...

Deliverable #1:

Ok, now I have 3 blogs going, I hope I can keep all my accounts and passwords straight. I have a blog posted with Edublogs at http://alveylibrary.edublogs.org/, one with Blogger at http://alveylibrary.blogspot.com/, and my elementary school recently updated their individual websites using School Fusion and I have a blog at Alvey Library. Now I am definitely ready to try this blogging stuff out with my kids at school.

As I browsed through the blogs that were in session 2, I was a little disappointed in what I found for elementary and middle schools. I found that it was mainly a newsletter avenue for the teachers or librarians. This is helpful for the parents and school community; however I don’t really think this is the goal of what a blog really is meant to be or at least what I thought a blog is. When I viewed the link from the slide a blog about blogs it only told me that a blog is “a web page containing brief, chronologically arranged items of information” http://blogdefinitions.blogspot.com/. I guess what I am saying is I would like mine to be a little different, an active discussion for the students. How this will happen still needs to be determined.

How will I use a blog for my library?

First, I plan to have students post book reviews on my library blog about books that they have read either for a class or for pleasure and after a brief summary of the book, tell whether they would recommend the book to another student or not and why. While browsing a principal’s blog I found this link http://www.shelfari.com/o1518120957. It looked very interesting because of the actual shelf design, pictures of the front covers of books and the star rating. I plan to investigate if this site can be linked to my school site and the students can do some of their book review postings using this format.

Secondly, I generally house 2 book fairs a year as a much needed fund raiser for the library. I would like to at the completion of the fair have kids, parents and staff post their thoughts of how they thought the book fair went. Did the children leave with books that they were satisfied with? Did the parents find the evening events convenient? Was the staff happy with the schedule I used during the school day?

Also I would like the students to feel like they can recommend a book through a separate section of the blog as well. They currently fill out a paper form in the library and hand it in at the circulation desk, but if I could have a place where students could simply do it on my blog, I think they would be very interested and that way they could see what other students are requesting as well. Maybe this would give those hard to please readers some other suggestions for “Good Books.” I don’t know how many times a day I hear “Mrs. Ponn, where are your really good books?” like I keep them hidden from all the kids or something.

Finally I would like to use my blogging ability or lack there of to educate fellow teachers in my building and in my library field. At my school I have some really tech savvy teachers who love to collaborate with me on different ideas that I have. I am pretty good at seeing the big picture, but it takes me sometime to get the details working the way I want them. A few of my staff are not scared to try new things with me, even in front of the class. I tell the kids “I am a student too, could they help teach me as we create together?” Usually the students are all for being the guinea pigs, but it is wonderful to have a teacher there to trouble shoot ideas with as well. As a librarian part of our role is to demonstrate to our staff how and the best practice for various tools, wither that is a book, encyclopedia or a blog.

juliep said...

Ok, how do I create a live link in my blog posting here? I see my previous post and before I cut and pasted them, they had a link, underlined and blue, now they are just simple text! UGH! HELP!!!

Mrs. K said...

Stacy L Kennefick
Deliverable #1

I have to say that I don’t know where the time went as I was looking through all the different blogs.

I really enjoyed The Tempered Radical by Bill Ferriter. I have to say that I absolutely agree with him on Professional Development. I find that my district offers mandatory PD at the beginning of the school year and an optional day in March. I go every year because I have to go but what do I ever get out of it? I honestly can say that I feel they waste a lot of money paying the “experts” to come in and teach us “new techniques”. I would rather use the time to collaborate with other teachers in my building or at the same grade level. We all have great and innovative ideas that we can share with our colleagues to help our students or our school – This thought reminded me of the teacher from Narragansett Pubic Schools who took EDC 920 and was able to motivate other teachers and her Principal to use blogs. The whole school benefited from her knowledge and was successful. I feel that if the administrators would listen to the ideas of their own teachers they would see that we all have a lot to offer and we don’t necessarily need the “experts”. The Butlerville Blog – was very easy to navigate and I’m sure it is very easy to update. We (Warwick Public Schools) are in a budget crisis as I’m sure that many of your districts are as well – If my principal were to use a blog to communicate with parents about upcoming events and highlight the outcome of them through a blog instead of sending home a notice to every student – I believe that she would be more efficient and might be able to save our district money. (Paper is expensive.)

I also liked Joyce Valenza’s blog. It was great to read about advice for teens and parents about Digital Bullying. Now that the world is becoming more and more tech savvy there are more and more ways not only for teens to communicate, but more ways for them to be mean. I see it every year, the longer I teach – it blows my mind how cruel kids can be and unfortunately this gives those students another avenue to get into the mind of another.

Lastly, I enjoyed Fischbowl. He had such a great quote that got me thinking. He says, “If a teacher today is not technologically literate and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more – it’s equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn’t know how to read and write.” I have to absolutely agree with him. I know that my students (11 & 12 years old) are so technologically literate that I feel the need and I want to learn so that I can communicate with them. If one is not willing to learn than what are they doing promoting on - going education. One should practice what they preach.

I set up a blog last semester when I took EDC920. I began the blog to communicate with my students about books that we were reading as a class. As we read I post questions about the book – characters, problems, and possible solutions. I have the students answer my questions and comment on the questions and comments of others in the class. It started off really great. The book we are reading now seems to get pushed to the side with the snow days and the placement tests for the Jr. High. I need to get back on track with posting my questions and comments and get my students excited about it again. I also feel that another obstacle is that all of my students don’t have computers and we don’t have a computer lab in the school. I want everyone to feel apart of the book that we are reading so I have been doing more discussion of the questions that I would post instead of actually posting them. Please visit my blog and let me know what you think!

Maura McGill said...

Hi, again! I just finished posting pictures to my blog, so I'm ready to share my link. It is very exciting to feel that sense of accomplishment!!

I've enjoyed looking at everyone's blogs. It's given me so many ideas!

Anonymous said...

Jim Tasso
Deliverable #1

First of all, I felt a sense of accomplishment in the ease I had in setting up a blog. Well, at least I think it's set up. The only issue I came across was setting up the title and address. My first two names were rejected because they are already being used. The address is
There are definate advantages to using blogs in the classroom. Communication and research are just two aspects that can benefit the students and parents through blogs. Although I feel there are some drawbacks, the positive aspects out number the negative aspects.
As I was reading the chapters this week and after visiting the blogs, I started to see how a blog could be utilized in my classes. I could also see how we, as a cluster, could use a blog as a group, and be able to have better communication with parents. Currently our Grade Leader sends home an e-mail each week with updates from all of the teachers in the grade. This could be eliminated if we set up a cluster blog. Parents would be able to ask questions through this format, if they had any. Also, I'm sure some parents would have the same or similar questions, which could be answered in this manner as opposed to individual phone calls.
Work and research is another area that can be passed along or shared in a blog. Research sites and links can be listed on the blog to aid the student and parents who wish to help their students. Parents always say they want to help their students but don't know how. This would help them. It would also help them with the irresponsible students who "left their planner in school", or who "forgot they had homework". Research could also be shared between teachers and other students in this format.
I think it was pretty cool to read how a teacher had a blog set up to read and discuss a book, and how the author made comments to what the students were reading writing.
Two possible hinderances to blogs could be finances and accessability to computers. First I will discuss the financial issue. For this to be implemented in a school or cluster, there needs to be professional development and training for teachers. With the tight budgets in this state and others, this is an issue which needs to be addressed to implement cluster or school wide blogs. Also, I'm not sure if there are a lot of districts set up to use blogs district wide. The other issue is not all students have access to computers or internet access at home. This creates a problem for some families. Accessability in my school is not much better. At times it seems like you need an act of Congress to get into the computer lab.
So, I think the positive aspects of interaciton, communication, and research are strong reasons why and how blogs can influence the classroom. They definately out weigh the negative aspects.

Mrs. Wright said...

Yesterday, I started a very rudimentary blog for my reading groups and their parents- although I haven't really done any of the reading part. But I hope it eventually could be used by our whole school community. My initial ideas did seem more like a website, but I definitely want it to be a blog now, and I agree with Juliep some of the blogs we viewed did seem like you were reading a newsletter. I could really identify with hour delays and school-closed postings due to snow though, but there wasn't enough other things going on to warrant a return visit.
The oldest grade that I instruct is 3rd, and I asked them if they ever blog -- and by the way, when will spell check recognize it as a word--and they innocently said "what's a blog" but they do use their computers for games, etc. Our school has ten computers in the library and 1 or 2 in each classroom, not a great set-up, but the principal, librarian and most staff are all eager to try new technologies. Still any of us could become one of the "illiterate" if we don't try to keep up-- or in my case catch up. Mrs. K mentioned about learning to download music to her Ipod and how she found out kids didn't read the directions to do it-- they just keep trying till they figured it out. Watching my kids in college and beyond I am amazed at the things they can do --or will try on their various "toys". I guess that's what we need to do too. Now I can relate to a child who struggles to decode a word, and then a few minutes later when the word appears again in the text has to start all over to figure it out. Well, that how I feel--sometimes it's easy and it comes quickly, and then another time it could be written in a foreign language, just like the child reading, some find braking the code easier then others. I tried to write a comment on a teacher's new blog at our school and when I tried to post it, it sent back a message that something wasn't correct and when I tried to figure out what was wrong, I lost it. Reminded me of how my struggling studets must feel.

This brings me to the text, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts. When it first arrived this past Saturday, I looked for the pictures -- using my first grade picture walk routine--how else could I activate my limited prior knowledge, but there were none--just some websites. To my surprise, I found a book that was simple, direct and easy to read and understand. I also liked the Tempered Radical, and although I don't really
know what "readicide" is, I assume the killing of reading, I found I wanted to read more about it and perhaps join in---the test of a good blog?
I have lots of I wonders. Like checking out BrainPop, and finding out how Mrs.C does her reading incentive program on her blog, and will this posting work- because my last one didn't. Lots to think about -- and try.

HerMom said...

Rebecca Gordon

I am reading all of your comments and it is 11:45 before the assignment is due. I have set up a blog, if you can call it that. It has a title and that is about it. I am at a loss with creating the blog - like writers block. It kind of makes no sense to me since I teach web page design. I want to use the blog for my History students, maybe later I can make another for the business students. I will have to figure more of it out tomorrow.

Denice said...

I have been working with blogs for committees. I find that the blogs provide a quick way for us to be brought up to date quickly. However, I am having difficulty with our school system's filtering system. Blogger is blocked as is edublogs.org. I am trying out 21classes.com with 2 teachers because that site is not blocked. I will provide an update when I finally have something posted on that server.
Meanwhile, I have my basic "PR blog" for teachers to access from home: http://norwalkhighlibrary.blogspot.com

As for the reading information and the other comments posted here, I have to agree with the statements regarding non-tech teachers and how our current state of lack of technology integration is "holding" our students back.
I remember being told by a professor of education back in the late 60's that we would be preparing our students for THEIR FUTURES, not OUR PASTS. I am sure that he was quoting someone but the essence of the comment has stayed with me over the years. I have been working with computers since 1984 and the Internet since Mosiac. I am now the Tech Liaison for my school --a very senior educator with 37 years of experience. I do not understand my peers who put their heads in the proverbial sand when technology entered the scene. How could they not recognize the importance of the explosive access to information and additional forms of communication!

Mrs. Wright said...

I forgot to mention my blog address. It's www.mrswrightsreading.blogspot.com