Starting a Student Led Class Blog

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  • Check in with your administrator. Make sure that they understand your vision for the blog and that they are on board. 
  • Introduce your students to the idea of a blog – read some student/class blogs with the students and have them identify what makes a good post good. Also discuss commenting and set some guidelines.
  • Decide on a platform – we used edublogs because it’s easy to connect with other class blogs, teachers, and students. But you could use any site that you feel is appropriate for your students and district.
  • Set up the blog – write an introduction piece.
  • Send home media release forms (so that you can include photos of students) – I adapted the social media release forms from Great Minds Teach Alike. If you are signed up for my newsletter, you should have received a free copy of my EduBlogs media release from – if you have not signed up yet, what are you waiting for?
  • Add a contributor account (if you go to “add users” you should be able to add a contributor) – this way you will have to approve posts and comments… students will not be able to post online without you reviewing it first.
  • Consider what your first posts will be.
    • We went with a book review created in Wixie – that way I saved the Wixie pages as images and just posted them for the students.
    • Our first “real” posts were group posts
      • Groups decided on a topic and divided up subtopics
      • Each individual wrote their portion/paragraph, revised, edited
      • The group came together to put all the paragraphs together
      • A student typed up the post
      • Another student checked it for errors
      • A student searched for an image to go along with the post
  • Last, students should comment on one another’s posts and respond to commenters.

You can read my student-led class blog here. We’d love for you to leave some comments.

Do you have a class blog?

What have you found to be the most important thing to ensure it is meaningful?

If you have a tech tip or suggestion to share – feel free to join my link up below. If you’d like to add the link up button to your blog – you can get the InLinkz code here.

What You Need to Know About Kahoot

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You know that feeling you get when you hear about an exciting new app or website? The angel on one shoulder says “my students are going to love this and it will make learning more engaging and rewarding for all of us”. Meanwhile, the devil on the other shoulder is reminding you of the time it will take to implement the new website or app and besides, you did try that fun web hunt a couple of months back. That’s more tech than some teachers have tried this year. You’re doing the best you can…

I know that feeling… especially since connecting with so many amazing teachers through Periscope and Blab. The ideas are endless, and seem exciting and fun! But, it just seems overwhelming. Well, as I have blogged about previously, one of my goals for 2016 is to actually implement new tech (a website, an app, etc) once a month.

I want to help you see how easy it can be, if you just take the leap and give it a try. I’m also hoping it will help save you time to learn from my newbie mistakes.

So here it goes…

I created a Kahoot quiz to review math concepts before a district assessment. Here are my take aways.

I would use Kahoot for: 

  • fact fluency practice
  • timed drills
  • facts that students need to have memorized
  • fun review quizzes (not math or something that will require problem solving though)

I would NOT use Kahoot with/for:

  • gifted and talented students who may become anxious with the time limit
  • problems that require time to solve or consider

 

Want to give it a try with something fun but valuable? Here is a Kahoot that will assess your students’ learning styles. I did not create it, but it’ll be a great way for you to test it out before creating one of your own. There are a lot of different public Kahoots out there. In order to use this Kahoot, here’s what you need to do:

  • Open the link on your computer & project it so that all students can see
  • Make sure each student has a device or laptop (students should go to kahoot.it)
  • Click Play, and then Start Now
  • A game pin will pop up – students will need to enter this pin to access the Kahoot
  • Students will then be prompted to input a nickname (ask them to use their real names)
  • Go through the Kahoot
  • At the end, download the results so that you can see what learning styles your students are

Have you tried Kahoot in your classroom? Would you agree with my pros and cons? Did I leave anything out that you think new users need to know? Let me know in the comments below.

Trying new tech in your classroom isn’t about luck any more than getting rich is about stumbling across a leprechaun in the forest with a pot of gold. The teachers who survive just keep going.

Sometimes you do the right thing and it goes great, sometimes it’s a complete flop. But, in each and every case, you will learn something about how to be a better teacher. Even if you do mess up, your students will still be there tomorrow and most of the time they won’t even realize you messed up. 

It means that it’s okay to not implement new tech seamlessly. It means you can make mistakes. It means your trepidations are perfectly normal, and you’ll get through it. 

So keep your chin up, do something outside of your comfort zone, make some adjustments, and most of all, believe in yourself. If you’re determined, and you persevere, your lessons will be enhanced with engaging tech and your students will thank you for it.

And when they do, it’ll all be worth it.

If you’re ready to make a commitment to yourself, and your students, join my mailing list here. I’m going to be starting a monthly link up, so that we can keep one another accountable and encourage each other when the times get tough. I will be emailing once a month to remind you about the link up and share a publish date (the last Friday of every month). I will also be creating a link up image to include in your posts. I hope you’ll join me on this journey to help empower teachers to try new tech without fear!