Posts Tagged blogs

Twitter Tuesday – October 18th

Next year the new Technology Application TEKS go into effect.  In reading through them I have begun to pick out areas I think my campus needs help in getting ready for the new TEKS.   One of these strands is:

Communication and collaboration. The student collaborates and communicates both locally and globally to reinforce and promote learning. The student is expected to:

6th grade 7th Grade 8th Grade

(A) participate in personal learning networks to collaborate with peers, experts, or others using digital tools such as blogs, wikis, audio/video communication, or other emerging technologies;

(A) create personal learning networks to collaborate and publish with peers, experts, or others using digital tools such as blogs, wikis, audio/video communication, or other emerging technologies; (A) create and manage personal learning networks to collaborate and publish with peers, experts, or others using digital tools such as blogs, wikis, audio/video communication, or other emerging technologies;

With this in mind I have put together this week’s Twitter Tuesday list to include resources to remind us why these tools are important:

10 Reasons Students Should Blog:
JamiciaCroskery: RT @edutopia: Worth a read: RT @pernilleripp: Why Students Should Blog – My Top 10 #edtech

Why Wikis Still Matter
RT @Kerry_EasyBib: Why Wikis Still Matter via @AudreyWatters #edchat #edtech #edducation #elearning

Twitter in the Classroom:
TeachHub: 50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom #edchat #teachertuesday

Math Channel on YouTube Worth Checking Out
TLC_edu: Top Math YouTube Channels For All Ages – #edchat #mathchat


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Twitter Tuesday – Sept. 6th

Hashtags make twitter searchable.  They begin with the pound sign and are followed by text – ex. #tgif.   Anyone can create and add a hashtags to their tweet.  Conferences will designate a hashtag for their attendees to use so others attending the conference can keep up with the back channel conversations on twitter.    You don’t have to be a part of twitter to search for hashtags – just go to and enter in the hashtag to search for any posts that contain that tag.  Some of my favorite hashtags to search for educational resources are #edchat and #edtech.

Here are a few articles that caught my attention on twitter this week.


Cell Phones –Texting Help

Remind 101:  A texting Service for Teachers

@laurieyingling: Remind101 – safely text message students and stay in touch with parents #edtech via @remind101
Students and parents can sign up to receive text messages from the teacher.  Teachers never see the kids’ numbers and the kids never see the teacher’s numbers.  Think of this as another way to do a newsflash, especially fi you don’t use teacherweb.   And it is free!


Technology Websites:

@mr_avery: The unveiling of my brand new blog, Tech Tutorials and the first post about how to use VoiceThread! #edchat #6thchat
This blog explains Voicethread, gives video tutorials as well as examples and ideas for classroom integration.

Educational Articles


Scienctific America Podcast:  Drawing Helps Students Learn

@sciam Doodles And Drawings Help Cement Concepts #EdChat #SciChat
60 Second podcast linking drawing to better comprehension in students

Several Ways To Help Students Become Better Listeners – an article by Larry Ferlazzo.
@tcbird1: Response: Several Ways To Help Students Become Better Listeners #edchat #elemchat

45 Ideas for Class Blog Posts
@web20classroom: Over 45 Ideas For Class Blog Posts: #edtech
 good list of ways to put more life into your class blog and/or website.

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Blogging in Literature

Teachers struggle with getting non-writers writing and non-readers reading.  But why should those students practice a skill they struggle with?  Why will another book and another essay help when so far it has not made a difference?  We know that more practice helps, and that you can’t improve unless you work at it, but sometimes we have to approach kids and assignments from a different point of view.  We need to find out what they are doing and see if we can make that a hook into their learning.  Blogging and online communication is one of those hooks.

What does blogging do for your students:

  • Provides a real world situation for kids – authentic learning.  They are no longer writing just for you, but for the world.
  • “Research has long shown that students write more, write in greater detail, and take greater care with spelling, grammar, and punctuation, when they are writing to an authentic audience over the Internet.” ~ David Warlick
  • Encourages reflective writing – Something about seeing your work online and knowing that everyone can see and read it causes you to think harder about what you want to say.  Reading comments about that writing can spark new thoughts and new ideas that would not have been there otherwise.
  • Blogs are a great equalizer.  Student’s opinions and voices can be heard they same way adult voice can be heard giving weight and value to the thoughts and opinions being expressed.
  • Parents can access the student writing at a moment’s notice and see the progress their student’s are or are not making.
  • Student get feedback on their writing from more than just the teacher or a peer reviewer.

What are some ideas for using Blogs in Language Arts classes:

  • Literature Circles – students can answer questions about a book the class is reading and provide insight on plot and character developments
  • Original Writing – students could keep their own blogs and record their writing throughout the year.  At certain points the students would have easy access to look back over how their writing has developed over time.
  • Reflective Writing – Students could reflect on class topics, lectures, novels, or discussions.
  • The student that never contributes due to shyness or not wanting to look “smart” can now contribute without having to speak in front of the class.

Examples of Blogs in Language Arts:

Grading Blogs:

So how do you assess what students do on a blog?

Here is one teacher’s solution:

My solution was to design a blogging rubric that would enable me to attach a grade to something I previously had had only a gut feeling about. I assigned excellent, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory to

  • How well students’ blogs integrated the concepts and principles from class discussions and activities;
  • How effectively students’ writing conveyed their understanding of the content
  • Students’ use of higher-level thinking (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) in their blogging; and
  • How well students’ blogging entries demonstrated a personal connection with the topic and applied course readings.

Taken from” “Log on to a Blog” –

So are you willing to give it a try?  Do you have any other ideas for using blogs in your classroom?

Word of Caution: When having student’s publish online, you must remember at all times to be safe!  Using full names, posting emails, or giving out personal information must be off limits at all times.  For more information about thinking through these issues, please see:

and talk to your campus technologist to make sure you have thought through everything!

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Collaboration Beyond the School Walls

I was reading a friend’s blog recently, explaining how to make good use of your summer.  One of the ideas was to explore projects with other schools in other areas.  That started me thinking – telecollaboration has been around for a while, but not until recently has it been made so easy.  Connecting with other schools is easy with the aide of wikis, blogs, email, skype, etc.  Our students are already linking with all sorts of people around the globe through facebook, myspace, gaming sites, etc.  Some of this is good and some not so good.  But the idea of linking and working with other groups is an irristeable hook  for our already connected students.

So how do you do it and where do you begin?  Start with asking yourself a few questions:

  • What do you hope to gain through the project? 
  • What learning is going to take place? 
  • Is approaching the subject matter this way going to add to what students need to learn or just distract from it?
  • Do you have the time, support, and equipment needed to make it happen?

Here are a few good links to get you started. 

  • About Telecollaborative Projects –  a basic overview of telecollaboration
  • Telecollaborate! -step by step details on how to plan, create and implement a project
  • Links to Current Projects – lists various running projects.  Some are closed for the year, but a good place when looking for ideas.
  • 2Learn – Requires a registration to gain access to project resources and tools.
  • ePals– Emailing another classroom through epals is a good starting point

Do you have any ideas?  Anything holding you back? 

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Web Wandering Wednesdays – April 9th

This is the first installment in what I hope to be a weekly series of cool websites to check out.  I stumbled across this link today and I am totally hooked as to what it could do for teachers! – Want a way for students to turn in files to you online?  Maybe a place where they can load their files and then access them later? is a free website that allows you to store up to 100MB of files online.  You can download all the files from the website as a zip file, or set the files to be deleted after a set period of time of non-use.  The program also has the ability to be added to a blog as a widget.  I have added it to the side bar of this blog, so check it out! 

One word of caution:  Students can see each other’s work and can download each other’s files for their own use.  That has good and bad features to it.  If you didn’t want students to see what others have posted, consider hosting it through a blog and naming your box something out of the ordinary so students don’t know where to go look.  (Ex.  Naming it MrsYoung or Young would be way too obvious!)   You also want to make sure that you are following AUP policies at all times!  So be careful of students names written as file names and on the documents themselves and don’t make this a requirement.  I would be happy to talk this out and help set it up for anyone who would like to know more.

So what do you think?  Would you use it?  What would the downfalls be?  What are the advantages?

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