Unit 1: What is a Blog and How Do I Use It in the Literacy Classroom?

From KNILT


Welcome to Unit 1!

Kid blogging.jpg

In this unit, you will learn about blogs and the ways in which this technology can be used in the literacy classroom. Our objectives for this unit are to demonstrate an understanding of blogs, and to develop an initial classroom blog.

There are several activities you will participate in during this unit. These activities are structured so that at the end of the unit, you will better understand what a blog is and the ways in which blogs can benefit you in the classroom.


Click HERE to return to Blogs in the Literacy Classroom

Learning Activities

The following activities will develop your understanding of blogs in general, but specifically focus on blogs in the literacy classroom. As you move through the unit activities, be sure to keep in mind our guiding unit questions, which will be further explored in our 'Share' section.

Guiding Unit Questions:

  • In your own words, what is a blog?
  • How do you see yourself utilizing this technology? What do you hope to accomplish by integrating a blog space in your literacy practice?


Read

The following article discusses ways in which we can deliver content when using blog technology.


In addition to reading the article, take some time to browse these literacy blogs for educators. These blogs offer real world experiences on integrating blog technology into the literacy classroom.


Watch

Take a look at these videos that discuss ways blogs are used in the literacy classroom. Remember to stay focused on our guiding unit questions as you watch the videos.

A video about why blogging has a place in elementary classrooms.

Elementary students use innovative classroom blogging program with teacher Jon Schwartz to learn about writing, technology, graphic design, market awareness, search engine optimization, statistics, and internet publishing.


Learn

Browse through some of these sample blogs (I suggest looking at 2 or 3). Remember, by the end of this mini-course you will have developed and implemented your own classroom blog, so be sure to keep an eye on how these educators use blog technology to enrich, support, or deepen their literacy instruction. I suggest jotting down some of your favorite ideas.


Share

Put on your reflection caps! It's time to talk about your new ideas with the rest of the class. In our discussion area, focus on our guiding unit questions:

  • In your own words, what is a blog?
  • How do you see yourself utilizing this technology? What do you hope to accomplish by integrating a blog space in your literacy practice?

In your post, be sure to reference the material that helped shaped your thoughts and ideas. Comment on at least one peer's post.


Blogs in the Literacy Classroom Discussion Space


Experiment

You've spent time reading, watching, and learning. It is now time for you to put that new knowledge to work and begin your own blog. Remember, blogs are easily changed and we will be refining our blogs in Unit 3.

Take a look at these blog sites (and others if you've found some) and begin to create your own classroom blog. Be sure to post a link to your classroom blog in our discussion space.


Blogs in the Literacy Classroom Discussion Space


I recommend the use of Kidblog or Blogger. I like the features of Kidblog for use with younger students. Its layout is friendly and very appropriate for elementary, and even some middle school, students. Blogger, on the other hand, is more appropriate for high school students. Blogger looks and feels more like an authentic blog.


Although I recommend Kidblog and Blogger, there are many other blog sites to use with students. In case you didn't like Kidblog or Blogger, here are other blog sites to use.


Videos

Watching these videos is NOT mandatory. The videos below will help you set-up your blog (for Kidblog and Blogger), if you need it. You can also post a question in our discussion space, should you have any questions.


Classroom Homework- Practical Applications

This week, your classroom homework is to introduce the blog space to your students. Before you utilize this technology with curriculum-related tasks, you want students to feel comfortable with the technology, so you are going to want to share the web address with students (and parents) and encourage them to explore.

Some blog sites, such as Kidblog, allow students to customize their blog page. I suggest two options for adding students to the blog space. One is to bring students to a computer lab and set-up each of their blog pages with the computer teacher. A second option is for you to add each student and establish their initial blog (username and password). Either way, students need to be aware of their username and password, as well as be given the opportunity to personalize their blog space, if this is an option. You should decide whether you want students to personalize their page, or wait until you feel more comfortable with the blog.

Additionally, I suggest requiring students to submit a comment or post about something or someone special to them, to help students feel comfortable using the blog space.


Extra Resources

Exploration of these resources is not mandatory, but will certainly help deepen your understanding of this unit's objectives.

Literature:


Videos:


Literacy Educator Blogs


Model Blogs