Friday, September 17, 2010

What is blogging anyway?!?!

I was racking my brain to figure out what to blog about, when I started to think, “What EXACTLY is blogging?”

I know, I know, I am the technology teacher, I should know everything about blogs! To tell you the truth, I don’t! I have thought about using them with the students, but I realized that I couldn’t do that unless I learned how to use one myself!

Up until last week, I was only following one blog, and it was only because it belongs to my friend. (Google: The Avid Appetite, if you are interested!). Since then, I now follow our blog of course, and an “Elementary Tech Teachers” blog that I found the other day (but I haven’t commented there yet!).

Check out this short video... it may answer some of your questions (if you have the same ones that I did!)

How do you feel about blogging? (Besides the “this is really cool feeling” that a lot of us had with the first post)
Do you follow any other blogs?
Do you think that you may want to have a class blog? How would you use it?

by Kristen McCann
School Technology Coordinator


  1. To Kristen's questions: I love reading "food blogs" to get new recipes to try. I also regularly read my friend's blog on "mommy-hood". However, I am hesitant about starting my own blog due to fear of being judged or criticized.

    This year I am starting Blackboard in my classroom, but at this time I won’t allow for a comment section due to the fears mentioned. What if parents post comments about what they don't like in my classroom? Or what if parents ask for things which I can not provide them with? With blogging comes the “unknown territory”, and letting go of "control", which I think is sometimes a scary thing to do as a teacher.

  2. This is the only blog I ever read. I didn't really know what a blog was until a few months ago when friend mentioned it to me.

    Anyway my feeling about blogging (if that is a real word is similar to Kay's. I would have no problem reading them, but would be very hesitant to writing a post. You know how you want to e-mail a parent, but when you write it out it doesn't "sound" right. Sometimes words can be misunderstood if read in the wrong tone. It would be great if we could put :), :( faces to express how we want it to be read!

    As far as using a blog in my class, it sounds great but the idea already has me in a panic. When would I start, how would it work, where in the world would I ever find the TIME?????

    I'm not very comfortable as a writer to begin with so there is also the fear of being criticized that tempts me from "putting myself out there". :{

  3. I think blogging in the classroom can create a real sense of freedom for the kids. The freedom to truly say what they think and feel, along with the ownership and "coolness factor" of seeing their words posted online. However, just like the other posts mention, the possibility of hesitation might also be present, especially when knowing just how many people will be reading their comments.
    Last year I attended a great workshop sponsored by the Glen Ridge Bd. of Ed. I learned about a website called It was similar to a blog, but instead of the comments being posted in a list form, the posts were displayed on "post-it" notes. It was a more basic, kid friendly model blog.
    Technology has so many great branches to stem from in the classroom and beyond, but I worry about the children without computers or the internet at home. How do we find the time for them to blog in the classroom with so many other things planned? Moreover how do we deal with the children and parents who are aware that some children are blogging in school, when it may have been assigned as a homework activity?

  4. To Blog or Not To Blog...

    I must say blogging is not all that new to me. I actually took a class once...two years ago, and learned the basics of blogging. I set up an account on blogspot, but rarely used it because I quickly realized that my blog started to sound very blah blah blah (or should I say blog blog blog). I browse different blogs from time to time, mostly travel blogs because I love seeing and reading where people have gone throughout the world!

    To Kay and Simona; I hope fear does not keep you from blogging. Blogging is just another outlet that we have to express our opinions and speak our mind, it should not be judged or criticized.
    Kay, as for the UNKNOWN territory that comes with blogging, I say..."Bring it On!" If you try it and it doesn't go as expected, you can always change gears and send it in another direction. Remember, it is YOUR blog and don't let anyone tell you differently!

    As for me, well, I could ramble on for hours if I wanted to. I've always loved to write...and talk...(Simona can attest to that!). I'm proud to say I'm TEAM BLOG! Let's roll up our sleeves and get down to it. I've been inspired, what can I say.
    Kristen, I think I will start my own blog...just don't get mad if I walk into your classroom and say, "Kristen, I need help...again...."

  5. Blogging is new to me, also. This is the only blog I have ever read. I agree with the fears that have been mentioned. Like, Karyn, I also wonder about the kids who don't have access to computers at home.

    I have a question about posting comments on blogs: Is it possible for the person who starts the blog to view the comments before they are posted? If it is, that would be a great way to make sure the posted comments are appropriate. I guess with starting anything new, the students would need some rules and some models as to what is "appropriate" blogging.

    One thought I have that might work well, especially in the upper grades, is having the students blog about a particular lesson. They could give feedback on what they liked about a lesson, what was helpful, what they learned, etc. This would help a teacher evaluate what he/she does that would be helpful to use again in the future. Just some thoughts.....

  6. This is the second blog that I am keeping track of. Our granddaughter in Chicago started up her own blogspot over a year ago, and she seems to have fun with it - filling everyone in on what is happening around Chi Town. So I would love to join BLOG TEAM... but I'll be right behind Carole "needing help". Of that I'm sure!

    I would also like to learn about Blackboard. Is that a way that I could "go green" and do my classroom newsletter?

  7. BlackBoard Blog - Engaging Elementary Students using Blackboard

  8. To be perfectly honest.......not sure AT ALL how I would use a BLOG in the classroom????? Is it being done elsewhere, anywhere at the elementary level? Successfully????? It's giving me a lot to think about for sure.....

  9. Blogging in first grade. I agree with Maureen .....Honestly I would be curious to see this happening elsewhere. It is a fun way to communicate with my peers.

  10. I was looking for a link to put up here about "blogging in elementary school"... but I came up with a ton...

    My suggestion:

    Google: Blogging in elementary school

  11. I follow a number of blogs, and have commented occasionally. I find it is a way to learn more about a topic I am interested.

    I am intrigued about a classroom blog. I think that in order to make it successful, you have to have a very specific topic for your students to comment on. Also, I think it would be absolutely necessary to model acceptable blog entries and behaviors so that your objective is met.

  12. Great comments thus far! I can honestly say the first time I was exposed to blogging I had some serious reservations. The key for me was just jumping in and giving it a shot. I was exposed to so many more professionals in our practice who use blogs in the classroom and for professional use. I have to say at times writing your own blog can be quite liberating. Especially, when you bring to light an issue you have an interest in and you find, through comments, that many agree, disagree or can share more knowledge with you.

    Kristen, thank you for added suggestions and resources. For those interested in testing out a classroom blog this year, the district has acquired a new server specifically for creating wikis and blogs in the classroom. It will be unveiled in the upcoming weeks. We are ahead of the curve! I hope it feels good!

  13. I am aware of blogging but was not sure what it was. This is my first time participating in a blog. I think that blogging is a great way to share ideas and thoughts. However, I feel that there isn't enough time in the school day to teach the basics. On the other hand, we need to make sure that our students keep up with the latest technology. I know that I would need some help getting started.

  14. Blogging can be extremely overwhelming....With taking online college classes the use of message boards (blogging) was required in all of my classes. I feel fairly comfortable with the purpose and procedures. I think blogging is a great way to interact with a diverse group on a large scale, however I often feel overwhelmed with reading all of the messages that have been posted. I'm interested to learn more about the ways to implement blogging in the classroom.

  15. I love blogs! I was actually required to blog in many of my college courses so I’ve become quite familiar with them. For example, for one class we had to actually create a blog with a small group of classmates using Our professor assigned each group a book to read and we were evaluated based on our participation on the blog via our book discussion comments.

    I have a few teacher friends with their own classroom blogs and recently I have been following a variety of cooking blogs. I’m totally a visual learner and have found that I’m more inspired to actually try a new recipe when there are step by step photographs or at least a finished product of what the food should look like!

    Last year when I took over for Kay’s maternity leave, I wanted to create a class blog to keep her in the loop on the weekly happenings in the classroom (and to keep the parents involved, too). I was going to use the blog in lieu of a printed newsletter. You can even monitor comments and screen them all before they are posted publicly (or opt out of having comments altogether). However, it was brought to my attention that the district does not allow classroom blogs because there is not enough control over the content which teachers post. It sounds like this regulation is about to change though due to the acquisition of the new server? Exciting!

    Check out this link which allows you to look at current classroom blogs and to get ideas for your own classroom blog: If you scroll down, there are dozens of “Primary” school blogs. Here is one that I clicked on and thought was really cute: If you scroll down on the right-hand side, where it says “Visitors,” you can see that there was a visitor from Montclair, NJ (ME!)

    This link discusses “Why have a class blog?” and the steps to create one:

    One last link for all you beginner bloggers out there... is a great free blogging service if you’re interested in creating a blog... even just to try it out for fun without actually sending the link out to parents, students, etc. With this site you can “go from blogging zero to blogging hero in 10 quick levels.” haha. There is even a video tutorial. If anyone is interested, I can help you get started. You know where to find me... happy blogging everyone :)

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  17. I am new to blogging. This is the only blog I am involved in. I probably would not have started blogging if it were not for our blogs. I do, however, enjoy reading the opinions of readers on various newspaper websites.

    At this time, I am not looking to start a class blog. I'm not sure how much of a connection my students would make to blogging. I'd be interested in discussing the possibility of skyping with my class.

  18. Just an update. With all your encouragements (especially Carole and Kristen) I have started a blog w/ my students. They are loving it, and I feel much better about it now. :)

  19. Wow Kay! That's great! Maybe we can share your successes with the rest of staff! Kids love this opportunity because they get to see their written word and ideas posted in a whole new format that up until now many feel is unattainable.