Do You Have a Class or School Blog?

When I first started blogging in 2006 I was teaching a Year 6 class. As part of my own learning process I ran a class blog too and started others across the school. We used Learnerblogs, which sadly is no more, but had some great experiences giving the class a real audience and purpose to their writing.

After Christmas I am going to get back to it with my current class and make a concerted effort to make blogging part of the curriculum we deliver and not a bolt on.

With lots of different platforms for class blogs and so many great examples I want to learn from you and hear your experiences. I hope your contributions will prove useful to everyone thinking of starting blogging at their school and provide an opportunity to find out about other class blogs around the world.

Please leave a comment:

  • Showcasing your class or school blog (don’t forget a link).
  • Explaining why you chose the platform you did (Blogger, Edublogs etc).
  • And what the most positive impact is (or anything else you want to say about it really!).

  1. I think we need to bring more ideas for this purpose. Involvement of
    young people can be handy in this regard. I am happy to find a good post
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  2. I used to do class blogging. I just had to stop because some of my students are not coming to my class instead they just go online and read about our current lesson. What I do now is online online proofreading and editing at topguntermpapers.com, its what I do during my free time.

    please do visit this site : http://topguntermpapers.com/index.html

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences and the link to your blogs which look
    great- I just did a tweet about them using #classblogs hashtag too to help
    promote them to the wider world. Thanks again for sharing.

  4. I started my students blogging last year when the students were in 1st grade. We began in January. We discussed what a blog is, how to create posts, how to leave comments etc. We even created pictures and posted them on their blogs. My intention is that every year we will add to them, creating a portfolio of their work and thoughts for the time that they are at our school. The students are now in second grade and we began with posting about 2nd grade and how it is different from first. My second blogging lesson was a review on inserting pictures from Halloween. My focus this year will be to add voice (podcast) to their blogs and to expand our audience to include other 2nd grade students outside of our school. I have seen such an excitement from these kids to do a task they normally detest…..writing. They post when they go home, on the weekends, on holidays and even during the summer. They are very excited to receive comments. It is still a work in progress but it is going well so far. We use Kidblogs to contain the blogs and found this simple for the youngest child but also allows more advanced possibilities as well.
    Here is the sit of their blogs:
    http://kidblog.org/Allens1stGraders/

  5. hello again, I left a message on here about 8 months ago telling you about my class blog. Thanks to all of those that left great comments and linked to us over the past two terms.

    Anyway my class blog has moved and is now at wellington4point0.blogspot.com
    please leave link to us and leave comments and we will do the same in return.

    Thanks

  6. why do we even have school? its just another way to make people that dont care look real stupid or to make smart people a use for others to get slightly motivated to use stuff they will probly never use after collage. Even though im speakin outta slight anger and frustation, im just lookin at the tecnicalities of the whole school situation. Im not sayin that we shouldnt have some form of learning, im just saying that we should have a form of learning that doesnt make people stressed or pressured to do something they want because of others. But also, ask yourself, are you going to school bacause you want to or your expected to.

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  13. Hi,
    I teach first grade in Shanghai, China at an international school. I use my blog as a communication tool with parents, as a way of showcasing student work and what we are doing in our classroom. I really enjoy it and am always looking for ways to make it better. Blogger is blocked in China, so my school uses WordPress, I use WordPress for my personal blog too.
    Thanks,
    Amy

  14. I've started my first class blog and general website at http://www.andysclassroom.com for my grade 5 class. I use the weebly platform and now have all of my students writing their own blogs and creating their own website / e-portfolio. Some of the best student posts are also posted on the main website. It is possible to set up multiple blogs within the weebly websites and we are using that feature to create blogs that track specific subjects or projects. This is still evolving though but is showing some potential. I'm interested in getting feedback on the student blogs. If you want to have a look around email directly for the password.

  15. Hi, I am a Stage 3 Primary School teacher with the NSW Department of Education, Australia. My class started blogging in August 2009 at: http://theblogfrogs.edublogs.org/
    I chose edublogs because it was recommended to me by other teachers I had networked with and who were blogging. Apart from showcasing what my class is doing, class blogging is a powerful literacy tool with students gaining access to a world wide audience for their writing.
    I will continuing with this blog in 2010 with my new class, a Year 6.

  16. Hi Tom,

    I co-teach an American Studies course. My partner and I model blogging 30+ juniors at http://www.anamericanstudies.com

    We use Blogger. Initially we chose it because there were no ads and the students could customize the look of their individual blogs to their liking, without knowing any code.

    It's been an amazing three years doing this: the students have really taken to this medium because we give them a lot of freedom in what they post. One piece of advice: if you start your students blogging, expect that something else will have to be cut from your curriculum. And be sure to validate the blogging within the walls of the classroom.

  17. I started blogging way before I had my students blog. My Grade 1 Blog (http://avivadunsiger.blogspot.com/) was my first blog. I liked the ease of blogspot for uploading videos and photographs, and even though the Grade 1 students weren't writing the posts, I wanted them to be a focus of the posts.

    @mrjarbenne introduced me to Litcircuits (a WordPress type blog). I use this blog for more of my professional blogging (http://grade1ad.litcircuits.com/). I am really interested in using technology in the classroom, so this is the focus of many of my posts. I also post about what my students are doing, as the Blogspot blog is written by me but focuses on all of the Grade 1 students. This blog has a more professional look, but it's a little more difficult to manage. I like how I have control over the comments here though.

    @kathycassidy inspired me to get my students blogging. I wanted them to write their blog posts during literacy centre time, but I also wanted to ensure that they edited their posts before posting them. Even though they are only in Grade 1, they are writing for a global audience now, and I think that this editing piece is important. I didn`t know how to do this though, so I asked my question through my Twitter account. @mrjarbenne suggested that I use Posterous. This site allows me to e-mail in videos, pictures, and texts, and then everything is transformed into a blog post. It is not as pretty as other sites, but I liked the control that I could have over the posts. I just started blogging with my students in January, and right now they`re working together on the SMART Board in their literacy groups to write blog posts. They just love writing for an audience, and they are really working to ensure that they consistently complete their best work. This blog address is http://dunsiger.posterous.com/. I can`t wait to see what their blog entries look like by the end of the year!

  18. We have a class blog with a WritingJournal Focus. They are contributing and commenting both within school and some from home. http://www.weblog.mundesleyjuniorschool.com/

    It's a self hosted WP Blog, largely because we have a longstanding School Website http://www.mundesleyjuniorschool.com/ that has masses of host space set up in the US and they have automatic install of things like WordPress. It's very easy to have as many as we might need.

    We also have a new blog set up for projects that go on around the school. http://www.projectsblog.mundesleyjuniorschool.com/

  19. Hello, my name is Graeme McCafferty and I am a Year 4 teacher from Scotland currently teaching in Dubai. My class have just set up a new blog that will follow us through our new topic based on the Endless Ocean game for the Nintendo Wii. I have stolen some of the great ideas from here! The children are loving it at the moment but not many parents are following what we are doing on the blog yet. You can check it out for yourself at year4divers.blogspot.com

  20. I have a class “hub” page from which each of my 110 high school freshmen has a blog. They write 2x/month on an issue that relates to science or social studies. I'm an English teacher working within a freshman academy structure, which allows us to do quite a bit of interdisciplinary teaching. Working on my Master's thesis right now on how blogging across the curriculum increases student engagement and improves writing, and there's a lot of positive survey data I've received from students on this topic. If anyone's interested in my results, please let me know.

    Class blog: http://mhsteam30910.blogspot.com (scroll down a bit for student blogs, coded for student protection)

  21. I started a blog for my high school http://burlingtonhigh.blogspot.com/ over a year ago to showcase what was going on at the school. I chose blogger because it looked pretty easy to use.

    At the same time, I stopped sending newsletters home and used the blog as the resource for people to learn about the school. The thing that actually got a lot of traffic to the blog was posting about athletic teams. For example, last March over 10,000 visitors went to the BHS Principals Blog to get updates on the team's progress. I even did some live blogging on my phone from the games.

    This year, I have done very little about athletics and the traffic to blog has still increased. I am trying to keep the conversation about education. At the same time, we have started an athletic blog to keep the information flowing about sports.

    The feedback from parents about the blog has been great and it has allowed a great forum for topics that people wanted to provide feedback on. In addition, it allows the school to be the first to deliver news on big events at the school. In fact the local newspaper will call after seeing things on the blog.

  22. In my physics class the students created individual blogs:
    https://sites.google.com/a/parishepiscopal.org/

    I decided to go with Blogger for several reasons:
    – Free with no ads
    – Easy to customize, add images, embed items, change templates
    – Students can use it with any e-mail account

    This is a fairly new project in my classes but so far the students have been very engaged. The quality of their postings and use of varied digital tools exceeded my expectations. The kids said that posting reflections on a particular topic has had a positive effect in their understanding of what they know and what they need to work on.

  23. Our school blog is http://greenparkschool.org.uk/ and my current class blog is http://year4.greenparkschool.org.uk/ Before I moved to year 4 I was http://year1.greenparkschool.org.uk/ and it still gets a pretty decent set of visitors. We use wordpress hosted by @hgjohn. Blogging has had a great impact on the way our school is connected with and the way ICT is used. My current favourite way of describing blogging is the way our Y4 pupils write for their own blog. They have a user name and password and some have developed a great enthusiasm for blogging. They write their own stuff….and no I have not had to change a single word since they started.

  24. Hi Tom, sorry about such a late reply, i have been to 2 weddings in 2 days and also at other ends of the country so its been pretty hectic.
    I have used many of the different blogging platforms but find posterous to be so ridiculously simple for the students to use that it requires so little effort from me in setting up. I have a few various set ups, starting off i had individuals blogs linked to students email adds, this works very well, i had my own account which was called the 'HUB' all student blogs were linked to this hub and visa versa, that enabled them to recieve messages when i had posted and also i recieved notice when they had posted, if you look at http://www.mrmcdonald.posterous.com you can see that underneath my 'inspirational speech' LOL that i have written all the students blog addresses so they can access each others and use it for help and guidence. In a sense this isnt a class blog but as they are all linked and there is a 'hub' that they all go to it does feel like one.
    I have used a joint class blog and you are able on posterous to link more than one email to an account so in theory you could have a year10class blog and all the students emails could be linked to the one account and therfore use the blog jointly. When i have used this method i have found the blog to get very big very quick and hard to manage.
    The main success with the first method has been that i have given a mentee from y10 to each of my elder students from y11 and they support, mark and advise all of there mentees via comments on the different blogs they have done.

    If you want to know any more just tweet away.

    @macca_mjm

  25. Hi Tom. I stared blogging with my class last year. This year I moved schools & decided to start up a new blog with this class. They have responded really well. I use edublogs & have taken out a subscription to get rid of the advertising and have more space for pics, movies etc. When students get their individual blogs they are already familiar with the setup of edublogs through using our class blog so therefore are very comfortable using it.

    We use it for a variety of reasons – to share work with families, to give students a wider audience, to encourage them to reflect on events etc. We usually check the blog each morning and the kids love seeing new dots on the clustrmap. They are fascinated that people all over the world are interested in what they do. I also have an open blogging session at least one lunchtime a week so that students can add to their own blogs, check comments etc. There are a couple of other classes who have started blogs this year, but I'm not sure if they will continue in the new school year.

    Our class blog is http://thompson67.edublogs.org

  26. I started a blog about 4 years ago with my Prep class (5 year olds) – they would write a sentence in our 'reminder' book (authentic reason for writing) during the week as things came up and at the end of the week, and with their help, I would write the final post. We would also add pictures of class happenings. This enabled parents and extended family to share in what was happening in our class.
    Now having moved to Yr 5 & 6 (11 & 12 yr olds) we started a 'senior school blog' where we mainly posted reminders for events, links to projects and homework as well as reports and photos of class events.

    Unfortunately, the socio-economic area of our school means that not many homes have computers and even less have internet access, so the blogs basically shrivelled up and died 🙁

  27. Hi Tom,
    I started my blog about 3 years ago when I worked part-time to keep intouch with my Yr11 GCSE classes. I called it something ridiculous and changed it's name to Langwitch about 6 months later, as that's what it's about. Since then, I've used it in various ways-to share links with pupils, showcase their work, give news and encourage pupils to interact via it…anything to get them using, looking at and listening to French / German. This term Langwitch has had a bit of a re-birth with a new design and me being a lot more pro-active in promoting it with my classes and they really have responded well. It's fantastic to hear Year 7s telling me what they'd looked at on the blog at home…it can only help their language learning at the end of the day.
    I use Typepad for my class blog. I know that it costs for an account but I like the fact that I can upload files easily and there's no advertising to worry about. The URL is http://langwitch.org
    Helena (@langwitch)

  28. I use classblogmeister.com as my platform. http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id
    I deliver assignments, thoughts, musings and other things on my blog. My students are art students who post their photos in their own individual blogs as an online portfolio. You could click on the my classes links on the right to see student blogs–there are a variety of abilities in artwork and in writing, but most students have shown improvement through the semester.
    I started using the blogmeister because it was one of the only unblocked and approved blog sites in my district. However, I like it because students can create their own content, but it all filters through me before it goes live on the blog. That way, all the content is monitored.

  29. I have a class blog at http://www.mrswilsonscience.com. I use it to communicate what we do in class each day to parents, absent students, and as reminders to those who were in class. Students often leave comments to the blog, but that is the end of the interactivity (students don't write posts). I do hope to give them a platform to use at some point, maybe even during second semester.

    I use wordpress as my CMS because of all of the plugins, ease of use, and ability to customize.

    Students enjoy using it, and I find kids leaving my comments and talking about studying even at weekends, so that makes me happy 🙂

  30. Hi!
    I started a class blog last year here: http://2cj.creativeblogs.net a wordpress blog because that was what I had had some experience of when I I was younger! @HGJohn then offered to host the blog when I was frustrated with non self-hosted limitations! This year I have got the whole school blogging here: http://southwarkprimary.net and my class is here: http://2cj.southwarkprimary.net

    The reason I was passionate to take blogging to the whole school was for many different reasons but here is them in note form
    1) The kids loved it! They loved having a word wide audience to share what they have been doing. How much more exciting is it to produce a video for the world than just for our class!
    2) The parents loved it- being able to see and be a part of what they had been doing!
    3) I loved it! I loved the excitement of children posting and leaving comments! I loved the record of what we have been doing over a day, week, month, term or year!

    I would highly recommend anyone to have a go! It is easy, fun and powerful!

  31. I use Edublogs for our class blog and individual student blogs. I went with this platform because I could attach up to 30 student blogs being an Edublogs supporter and remove the ads from all of them. We joined the 2009 Blogging Challenge as well which is sponsored by Edublogs and facilitated by Sue Wyatt. The great support provided by Sue Waters during the challenge is quite a bonus.

    Blogging has added tremendously to the feeling of community within my classroom. Kids connect on greater levels in more meaningful ways. I have learned so much from them through their blogging as have their peers.

    Over a period of time, students earned their own blogs as well. Once an authentic audience was introduced, in three months alone their writing improved more than it ever would with paper and pen. They are willing to revise and edit several times over in an effort to take a piece of writing to published form. Their voice and style has naturally transformed from formula writing to writing for a “real” purpose.

    Other tremendous benefits include the global connections and opportunities for investigating global perspectives. Blogging has provided a window into other classrooms around the world.

    It has been an amazingly positive experience and the funny thing is I haven't heard one complaint from a student when I mention blogging. How cool is that?

  32. I wonder why your children don't visit and use the blog, could it be that they can't interact with it? Why call it a blog, why not call it a website?

  33. This is the first year that I feel our classroom blog has been a great success. we started by viewing other class blogs and seeing what they are and discussing commenting and what a blog does.
    have been really pleased with ch'n 'wanting' to post on the blog and activiely commenting, although would like to see more parents comment on blog. loving that it is a diary of events from the year rather than just a publishing of work, although that is good too. ch'n really enjoyed the wider community aspect of the blog and that viewers came from all over the world. most exciting to get a comment from a teacher in USA on one of yearbook keynote posts too
    love that more reluctant writers were keen to post about things they were interested in too
    rock on to a bigger and better blog next year
    http://ithinksummerland.blogspot.com/

  34. We have a whole school blog, hosted by edublogs. http://blogs.wled.org.uk/uphallps/ is the link to it. We decided as a school not to allow anyone to place comments onto the blog apart from the teachers themselves (i.e. not pupils not parents). We also do not have photos containing children from the school on it which means you have to be creative with the use of images on the blog. I'm currently in Primary 7A and here is a link to my classes page http://blogs.wled.org.uk/uphallps-p7/ Unfortunately many of the children in my class do not look at the blog nor our page within it.
    I have also just begun a blog at http://robertdrummond.wordpress.com/ I love the ease of use of creating a blog and adding to it, although I am aware that I have a long way to go in it's design and features, I am having fun putting things onto it.

  35. I've been blogging with lots of schools for about 5 years now and currently have about 20 primary schools with WordPress MU sites. I also use Typepad and Blogger, but find WordPress the most flexible. You are right to be a little wary of self host unless you have competent geeks on the staff. I guess I would say that, but I don't think any web service passes the sustainability test if it relies on a single individual. I'm proud to host many fantastic class blogs including @jacksloan's superb infant class at http://yeartwo.chorltonparkblogs.net , @raff31's school http://greenparkschool.org.uk and @icklekid's http://2cj.southwarkprimary.net . I am always willing to help any teacher wanting to get into blogging by providing them with a free class blog and advice.

  36. I use my class blog as an opportunity for the kids to write in response to a topic or question posted. It's a chance for them to see their writing on line, and for them to share it with their familites. This was my first venture into using technology in my classroom, so it's not nearly as sophisticated as the things others are doing.

  37. I am a Language Arts teacher in grade 6 in Buenos Aires Argentina. I use a class blog with my students to enhance students' learning process as they post comments and reflections. In this way, they are developing communication skills beyond the classroom walls. This blog helps them reflect upon their opinions, feelings and interests. The blog also enabled those students who were apprehensive or timid in class to communicate in a better way and motivate them to write more.
    I use Blogger as it is straightforward and easy to use. My blog is Creative Readers Writers and Thinkers (http://yearsixale.blogspot.com)
    Thank you!
    Alejandra

  38. I have created a virtual exhibition of my students work this autumn using Wikispaces: [Montessoriskolan's Virtual Exhibition of Student's Work] . I have also created a blog using WordPress to exhibit their end of term projects. With hindsight I would have used a wiki for this instead of a blog, as one is then able to have more control over the publishing process. [Montessoriskolans blogg]

    All in Swedish I'm afraid, but then there is always google translator…

  39. Well I was leaving the school a hand knitted site, tied together with some fairly dodgy scripts and code;-)
    Before I left I installed a easy use photo gallery as I had always experimented with different ways of producing these which were not easy for anyone else. I love pivot as a blogging system but though wordpress would be easier to maintain. I still help out on the back end (delighted to do so) but cut the number of blogs down to two. Some of he teachers were keen to keep the blog going but it faltered for a while, now picked up and looks a lot more organised than I ever was. No one wanted to keep up the podcast, but recently I was delighted when a couple of my original podcasters went back on work experience and made a podcast, I think they may have kick-started it again.
    Leaving school and the, to me, precious website was quite hard, I am glad to have l kept in touch. I suspect self hosted mean a little extra support work for me but also acts as an encouragement to keep the site going.

  40. Tom,
    my classroom blog was intended to be used as a means of continuing learning conversations outside the classroom environment but it quickly turned into a resource centre for them instead. I use self-hosted WordPress – it's very flexible and the mix of blogging with static pages help me to target content for different year groups.
    What has really taken off on the blog in the last year is the use of video created with just the SMARTBoard video recorder. I have been using the Podpress plugin to help with this although Feedburner is also capable of creating the enclosures for media files. I use Feedburner to create iTunes-ready feeds for 4 different categories of the blog. This is a serious bonus for secondary school blogging as it means you don't need to run a different site for each class, the WP categories will do the work for you.
    Storage space is obviously an issue if you are going to put video on a blog. I have been using Vimeo and Wikispaces to serve up my content but have now bought a more “spacious” hosting account elsewhere and will be migrating the site over the Christmas holidays.
    I'm sure that a Posterous site would do much of this as well, it seems such a good platform for handling media. I can't recommend Blogger or Edublogs though. I have have poor experiences with both providers.

  41. One of my “BIG 3 Goals” this year is to integrate blogging as part of the instructional routine at my new school. I was lucky enough to have been offered a job to help open a brand new school after spending over a year building a new mindset and trying to build connected classrooms at my former school.
    Opening a new school completely equipped with Activ Boards and other technologies was a daunting task. Access is not an issue. Furthermore, I have a deep belief that blogging has power in every subject area and every grade level. While our class blogs are in their infancy, the staff embraced my vision for blogging and we now have 21 class blogs setup and slowly growing into powerful teaching and reflection tools. There are others who still want to start their blog so that number will grow. We only have around 25 regular classes this year.
    My plan is to support and help our teachers at Kimmel Farm Elementary grow their blogs in the coming year and get a handle on just how powerful they can be to support not only writing, but also creative expression in any curricular area through digital media that STUDENTS and TEACHERS create. I'm so proud of the way they've embraced blogging. If you look at the blog list off our school's main blog http://kimmelfarmelem.blogspot.com you'll see they're made an investment in this tool. We used blogger because that's the product our district leaves unfiltered and recommends we implement. The biggest impact is that this is a way to showcase to parents and district leaders what we are doing, and more importantly the students are excited to comment and participate in the ongoing discussion. Later, we'll add blogging buddies – hopefully from around the globe.

  42. More than ever before have I realised the power of self hosting
    through changing my own blog, but I want to put something in place
    which will easily stick. As I am leaving at Easter I would like the
    process to be easy to continue with for anyone and of course something
    I am not tied to. Maybe you could advise on this a bit more as you
    have been in the same position.

  43. Hi Tom,
    I would be tempted to go for self hosted. At Sandaig we used pivot on a self hosted site. After I left I installed a couple of wordpress blogs, http://www.sandaigprimary.co.uk/otters which they are now using, easier to maintain than pivot.
    Kids do not seem to have any problem using wordpress and more importantly teachers who had not blogs before find it easy.
    I preferred pivot as it was easier than wordpress to completely customise but there are, as you know, a ton of ready made free themes for wp. The most positive effect of blogging for me has always bee a real audience giving a sense of responsibility and purpose. Your class will really benefit from what I'd guess was one of the biggest PKNs in the world.
    I'd also be tempted by posterous especially if you are thinking about media; audio and video.
    Currently I am testing an apple osx webserver which has the easiest to use audio/video podcasting built in but you need an OS X server for that.

  44. Would you be able to explain a little more about the ways you use
    Posterous? Such as the setup and organisation for a class and the
    process you have in place to publish. Posterous is amazing, so simple,
    but do you work with one email or multiple?

  45. Tom, I saw my comments appear twice, I wasn’t allowed to post the first one and was asked to “subscribed” which I declined, now it appears twice, if you could delete it for me, thanks!

  46. Hi Tom
    Blogger is much easier and user-friendlier than WordPress. I still have my old Blogger-blog and blog mainly now on my WP-blog as I’ve upgraded and can’t import the WP blog to Blogger. I still prefer to blog on Blogger. For Primary Kids Blogger will be easier, especially if they’re going to write too. Good luck and keep us posted about it!

  47. had a class blog for my year 8 science group, reviewed the key points of the lessons, added photos and video, for information, hoped parents could use it to see what the kids were doing. i loved doing it but it was not being used so i could not justify the time at an end of a busy year. have not continued this year but feel it was a real shame.

  48. I teach Architecture and Engineering drawing in grades 9-12 and I have used Joomla! CMS for a number of years for my class website. It has the assignments, worksheets, test, photos, etc.
    I started using Blogger over a year ago as part of a class in my M.Ed. Instr. Tech. program. I like it because it is easy to use and links to everything Google. Our school system provides the teachers a blog on Typepad but it does not allow commenting. I piloted it for our school and found it did not meet my needs for a classroom web presence.
    My Blog http://www.wildcatdrafting.blogspot.com focuses on the different technologies that we use in my classroom and how they relate to the design fields. It's not about the class and assignments per se, but more about our activities.
    Last year I set up a wiki to provide a space for my student design teams to communicate with mentors about their projects. It worked OK, but required too much effort on my part to upload their drawings and images. This year I had the design teams create group blogs on Blogger. They had full responsibility for the design and layout of their blog. Some of them really tricked out their blog with widgets. Each team member had to make a post about their part of the project and then an end-of-semester reflection on the course as a whole. Personally, I feel the project was a success. However, getting people from outside the class to view and comment was difficult.

  49. Hi Tom
    Blogger is much easier and user-friendlier than WordPress. For Primary kids I would suggest Blogger – especially if they are going to add posts themselves too. I moved my blog to WP and I still prefer my old Blogger-blog. WP is a pain. Good luck with yours and keep us posting once you've started.

  50. Had a class blog last year at the end of last school year, set up to provide a threaded-discussion environment, with 8th grade English students. http://mrslo.edublogs.org/ Kids were very enthusiastic. Used an Edublog, but found the logistics overwhelming. Used the gmail workaround because students don't all have emails, but this was incredibly time-consuming – fine if you have 25 students, nuts if you have 100. Searched for alternatives, and now have students working on a moodle which is much more versatile (forum discussions, wiki, blogs, etc.) and logistics were much easier. It's not free, but ten bucks a month for hosting and support is very doable. Because it's a closed environment, I didn't have to create cryptic names. It's nice to focus on teaching, and not so much on trying to get the technology to work.

  51. I began teaching fifth grade and started a class blog called iFifth – http://ififth.edublogs.org/ I use edublogs because it is the blog platform that IT will leave unblocked at school. Right now I do the posts, and the students leave comments. I use it to share our activities and interact with students

  52. We have a uniservity learning platform and have occasionally used blogs – however, we've been using class podcasts for the just over 12 months now in the same way. 4 children are reporters at the beginning of the week, take notes on what we have been doing, an editor helps them check through towards the end of the week, sound technician from previous week shows a new sound technician how to use audacity to record and save as a wav file, then we upload to the class resources as RSS. We haven't done one in the last two weeks as we have been recording our Romans presentations to share with parents instead. After first few weeks of term, children take the full responsibility for it – apart from uploading, which we usually try to do togegther.

    Basically same idea as blogging but an audio version – which means everyone can join in. http://clc2.uniservity.com/GroupHomepage.asp?Gr

    Looking forward to demos of maths methods using jing or Smart recorder or Easiteach recorder to share with parents using a video clip file next term – watch this space!

    Don't really see much point in using another blog medium as we have it there on the learning platform…..

  53. Only the smallest contribution because I only started blog last week. My specific immediate purpose is to help my Y11 French class prepare for their mock speaking exam. I presented it to the group and one boy said “Miss, this is brilliant. It means you can still be teaching us when you are at home!”. It's worth every moment I spend on it for that.

  54. I have been blogging with my classes for two and a half years. Initially I started a blog so the students had an audience for their writing. It also gives the students the chance to let their families see their work throughout the year.
    I chose Classblogmeister when I started because of Twitter connections and it has been working really well so I have continues to use it. Our school has several other classes that blog so it is also easy to move the students from one class to the next at the end of the year and let them still have all their posts from previous years.
    You can find our blog at http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id
    Another reason we initially chose Classblogmeister was because the support network was strong, the set up and layout simple for both teachers and students to use. It also gave us the opportunity to have security at different levels for different classes. Some teachers have their class and student blogs password protected so only immediate family etc can read the blogs. On the other hand my class blog is there for the world to see and the connections we have made with teachers and classes around the world has led to some fantastic collaborative projects between classes and groups of classes.
    I don't think the platform is all that important in itself – I think you just need to be comfortable with whatever platform you choose to use.
    Apart from the fantastic connections we have made with classes around the world I have found that having an audience for their writing has meant that the students are keen to post on their blogs and love to receive and read comments. I have also spent time teaching students how to write effective comments.
    My blog is also a diary of the class events which include photos and write-ups of class and school events.

  55. My class blog is here: http://class40q.wordpress.com , and we have a blog for every class in our school which you can get to from http://www.robinhood.bham.sch.uk .

    We use wordpress.com. I wasn't involved in the decision to use this, but it seems to be a good option for combining multiple blogs under one administrative umbrella, and allowing children in a class to have their own accounts to post to the same blog. It is also straightforward to embed media in the blogs. However, I'm not really sure of its benefits over other platforms as it is the only thing I have used to any degree.

    So far our blog has been fantastic for giving children a real audience for the work, and has promoted discussion with students across our school and, with our recent edublog nomination, across the world. I am also working on developing it as a tool for the children to really develop their reflection on their learning, as documented here: http://oliverquinlan.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/b

    By the way, congratulations on your new job Tom!

  56. Hi Tom,
    At Berkhamsted we do a mix. I have a blog, so does the Principal. Our artist in residence has created one and other colleagues in MfL are starting to create blogs to use with our partner school in France. That'll be used by students.

    In Media Studies all students use blogs as their evaluative tools and that's been a liberating experience. As one sixth former said to me last year, 'I've found my voice through blogging, and it's cool to see how each student finds something unique in themselves to share.'

    It makes it easier for me to see how students have planned media projects, because they can include video, audio, production documents that we embed using issuu.com. All in all, it's revolutionised the way I assess and the way that students create.

    At the moment we're playing with Google Sites and that gives us a powerful collaborative space, but the blog is something that the students can own as an individual learning space.

    I'm planning to get my year 7 and 8 ICT students to start up blogs next year.

    Regards,

    Sacha

  57. I would always have a class blog for lots of reasons. Mainly as to share the things we do in the classroom and an avenue for communicating with parents and whanau (family). We also use it as a way for my 8 & 9 year olds to quickly access learning links to reinforce learning in the classroom. It is in its fifth year and is a significant body of work.

    http://allanah.wikispaces.com/Possibilities

    Above is a link to some of our blogging highlights.

  58. My wife is a kindergarten teacher and she has started a blog 3 months ago on a self-hosted wordpress platform (i set it up for her):

    http://anadominguez.org/blog

    (twitter page in english)

    We choose the self hosted because we like independence and it's easier for me to make changes to the wordpress platform (i am using it since 2003).
    Her idea when creating the blog was to show to parents (and general public) the activities on the kindergarten class. In Portugal kindergarten teachers are not seen as real teachers, people think they only “entertain” children, and know nothing about their educational goals and strategies.

  59. In my school in The Netherlands, we work with free texts made by the children every week. One text is the Text of the Week. We use this text in our language lessons (grammar, lay out, illustrations, choice of words etc). This is all because of the principles of Célestin Freinet. We publish these texts on our website, so everyone can read them and is aware of what we do in our class/school/school community.
    Not really a blog, but a way to show our work in combination with e.g. language objectives.

  60. I started a couple of class blogs after the October break. The link below is for my S3 Information Systems class (13/14 year old pupils).

    http://fhsint2is.wordpress.com/

    You can read my thoughts on my class blogs here:

    http://cunniman.wordpress.com/2009/11/29/class-

    In short, one pupil takes responsibility for the blog each night and writes a post describing the what they learnt in Information Systems that day. We then start the following lesson with a review of the blog post, making suggestions for improvement and identifying misconceptions. At the end of the year it should form a great revision tool for my pupils, written of course by themselves. I hope to have all my classes blogging in this way next year.

    I used WordPress simply because I was familiar with it.

  61. G'day Tom.
    I use Edublogs and have for the two years I have been blogging with my classes. I have also run a student blogging challenge three times over that period. This was to open my students to the world outside their small town here in Tasmania. We began with about 500 students the first time from 5 countries of the world including class and individual student blogs. The last challenge was 15 countries , nearly 100 classes and over 500 individual students registering. My students' world has widened.

  62. I set up a WordPress blog for our Grade 2 team hosted by WP. I am currently the only contributer. I am working with my team to have them slowly take over the posting by the end of the year. Currently I work with students to create content and then I post their words/pictures/projects. I do have grade 2 students use comments to write short personal reflections and give feedback to other students regarding their work. It is our main communication to parents and families. Parents are now starting to post comments as well now that students are going home and showing parents how. http://istgrade2.wordpress.com/

  63. My teacher role has changed recently and I'm feeling that our blog is a little neglected. http://glenview9.wordpress.com.

    The blog (on blogger) started back in 2005, a successor to a class website (at a time when the school had no website). It was originally a place for ME to publish children's art/writing and to add info for parents about what we'd been learning in class, upcoming events etc., really a showcase for children's work. It's slowly evolved (now on wordpress) and I've relinquished a great deal of my control. Where possible (and it's still a problem with typing speed) children publish their own work, in class, via email or on our wiki. Sometimes the writing has been drafted/proofread/edited before posting, on other occasions it's almost like live blogging/writing. A student will complete a basic outline/first draft (usually a recount) and then the publishing of the post becomes the next stage in the writing. They edit and proofread as they go, and there's always the chance to go back later to “fix it up”.

    Managing it in the classroom…? It's part of the literacy cycle really. Some children reading/writing with me – others completing independent supporting activities – others blogging, commenting on other blogs, responding to blog comments. I have three desktop computers that are used for blogging – each has a rota/roster above it with children's names and they simply move a peg along to keep track of whose turn it is. There's no pressure to contribute and there are still those who opt out (a problem I have to find a solution to). During other “freetime” during the day children will ask to complete their blogposts and, where possible, they do. There are safety and legal issues to consider when running a class blog- no use of names with images, no full names/contact details etc.

    In class I have installed SRWare Iron (google it) and saved our blog dashboard as a favourite- complete with remembered password. The SRWare Iron desktop icon has been renamed as “class blog” and the children simply click on it to access. They have no password or access to edit or add to the blog outside of the classroom, though they can, and do, add writing to our wiki which I, or they, can then copy and paste into a new post. I find the blog a real motivator, counters and widgets show the numbers and locations of our visitors and each milestone (our next would be 50, 000 visitors) is marked by a class celebration.

    Sadly, I'm moving to a new room next year and the blog is probably defunct. Unless…? Hmmm… our own domain?

  64. This sounds like a great idea. We sent home pieces of paper with the URL and explaining how to leave a comment. We also set up a little comment explaining how to leave a comment on the actual blog too. We had several parents reading the blog, but unfortunately not many commenting. I have high hopes to develop this more next year.. I would love to know what else you do that gets parents motivated to contribute to your blog.

  65. I originally started using Edublogs (Twenty2 – http://twenty2.edublogs.org) – I swapped this year to Blogger (Mega25 – http://room25eps.blogspot.com). I think Edublogs is an amazing setup, brilliant support and offers some really good options but for me it came down to the pricing i.e. Blogger being free. Our whole school decided that Blogger would be the platform that we would use, to keep some consistency between classes and students – year to year. I have found blogging to be an amazing opportunity for my students to connect with others and to gain a greater understanding of creating work for a real audience. It has given my students a huge confidence boost when they are receiving comments from around the world – much better than work remaining in closed books!! By the end of both years my students have been using the blog to post work created at school and at home – showing that their learning is continuing outside of school. This is a powerful message too. With using a clustrmap, it was great each week to recap on the blog and look at where in the World we were getting visitors from also! I will continue to blog with students and give them a portal for sharing their work and their individual ideas. I look forward to hearing about others experiences as well! Amanda

  66. Blogger is really straightforward – good integration with Picasa Web Albums for free picture hosting. Easy to upload video. Commenting system moderated. Individual year groups can have different IDs so you don't have to have several blogs for the school. Template easily customisable for “corporate” look.

  67. This is my class blog: http://mrlovegrove.mlon.co.uk/. I've had it now for 3 years (2 years with my year 4 classes and 1 year with year 2 class). I chose to use a self-hosted installation of WordPress due to the flexibility this offered – I also wanted my own domain. Using self-hosted blogs/content management systems takes more time that signing up for a blog elsewhere, but it also you to do anything you want without being pinned down. Positive impacts: post websites/resources/games that I use in class on the blog for children to use at home (extends their learning), great for parents as they can see what we've been up to, allows a level of interaction between teachers and children in a public environment, teaches children about ways that they can use websites to interact.

    I also made my school website using WordPress MU: http://sonningcommonprimary.co.uk/. Now every teacher in my school has become a blogger. Every year group has a sub-blog, as does our HT, the governors etc. This took a year or so for staff to feel comfortable with its use, but now people love it. So great for parents, as it gives them ways of seeing what their children are learning about. Children also use it to see photos of their trips/learning experiences and to leave comments.

  68. I plan on using Blogger – for no other reason that my blog is with blogger and it seems very user friendly for Y3's. I shall set it up over the holiday and send a letter to parents when we go back asking for their help and permissions etc. I really want it to be their blog that they write on – not mine that just showcases their work. I would also love parents to contribute. I plan on having it as a private blog in that I add authors – all children and all parents in an ideal world. I'm going to initially do it alongside our big topic of WW2 – ie diaries for evacuees, Anne Frank etc…

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