some good info eCommerce Mastery by Sam Englandthis postWhat is a blog?
A blog is a weblog that allows anyone to create and regularly update information, links, pictures, and comments directly in any Internet browser from any computer with an internet connection from anywhere in the world. Think of it as a virtual bulletin board where you share your thoughts, ideas, information, etc. with anyone in the world and they can instantly respond back. There are many ways that blogs are being used - not only between teachers and students, but with classrooms across the world and for professional development.

Let's take a closer look at blogs in education - elementary and secondary, safe responsible blogging, examples of classroom blogs, blogs created by 21st Century Fellows, how to create a free blog using Blogger, and other resources recommended by readers of this wiki.

Learn about Blogging in Education
Blogging in Elementary School
Blogging in Secondary School
Safe Responsible Blogging
Examples of Classroom Blogs
Education Blogs of ABPC 21st Century Fellows and assessing blogs
Create a blog in SharePoint
Learn about Blogging in Education
Resources Recommended by our Visitors

Learn about Blogging in Education

external image thumbs_up.gifGetting Started with Classroom Blogging
"Today's students are eager to interact with technology," says Jeanne Simpson, a 7th grade math teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School in Decatur and an ABPC 21st Century Teacher Fellow. "They want to share their thoughts with the world. Many are seeking out unsupervised places such as MySpace or Xanga to begin social networking. I believe they will participate in school-sponsored networking just as eagerly." In this article for the ABPC e-newsletter, Jeanne describes her own classroom blogging experiments and shares a wealth of resources about in-school blogging!

**"Blogging? It's Elementary, My Dear Watson!" (Education World)**
Great article about getting started with blogging in elementary school. Includes several excellent resources.

After reading this article, what one thing jumped out at you? Select "edit" to share you thoughts.

**Blogging 101 – Weblogs Go to School (C-Net News)**
Find out more about the upsurge in classroom blogging!

external image thumbs_up.gifBlogging Comes to Goochland
Virginia school district explains its support for blogging – good resource if you're trying to interest your school/district!

**What Are Blogs and Wikis?**
Good short article suitable for sharing with school leaders. From School Administrator magazine.

**EduBlog Insights**
Anne Davis works at Georgia State University with faculty, staff, and students in the area of instructional technology. Her blog "is a place to reflect, discuss, and explore possibilities for the use of weblogs in education."

external image thumbs_up.gifWays to Use Blogging in Education
A great brainstorming session by Anne Davis (see above). You're bound to get some ideas from this list!

Other Blogging Services

**ePals School Blog Service**
Lets you manage a safe place on the Internet that enables collaboration and participation among teachers, students and parents.

Inexpensive blogging tool for elementary schools. You can password protect all aspects of the publishing process in KidzBlog.

Blogging In Elementary School

Gordon Brune:
Education Blogging in Elementary Schools
**Elementary Students Talk about Blogging!**
Gordon Brune made this 3.5 minute movie so students at Mamaroneck (NY) Avenue School (where he teaches) could share their insights into the educational uses of blogs and other web-based publishing tools. "I like it when people read my work and make comments," says one student. "It helps me make my work better." Another students says of web publication: "It makes you feel famous." Don't miss this report from the front lines!
**Gordon's Class Webpage at Blogmeister**
Gordon told us that he and his students don't really talk much about blogs and blogging – they like to refer to their activities as "writing on the webpage." Blog, he says, has become a loaded word that may not adequately describe student web publishing. At this page you can see student work, find out about collaborations with other classrooms around the world, and read more about Gordon himself and how to get in touch with him. He welcomes questions about assuring safety and responsible use of web tools at the elementary level. (He can also suggest several blogging tools available for free on the Internet.)

**Blogmeister – Education Blogging Tools & Community**
Education blogging pioneer David Warlick created the Landmark Project as a way to evolve a community of educators interested in the potential of web publishing. As part of this work, Warlick developed Blogmeister, a web-based service that allows teachers to create class and student blogs in a safe environment. Visit this page to find examples of teacher blogs, establish an account of your own, and discover a community of educators interested in this work. Download the "documentation" for detailed information.

**A Yahoo Community for Blogmeister Classroom Users**
This is a threaded discussion area at the Yahoo Groups website for the professional community of educators who use David Warlick's Blogmeister service. It's a great place not only to get technical help but to share instructional ideas.

**Thinking about Writing – and the Web**
Here's a useful discussion about sound practices in the teaching of writing – and how those practices can be augmented through student web publishing. Gordon recommends that you explore this blog in depth. It's written by Anne Davis, a teacher turned instructional technology professor.

**Using a Bookmarking Service with Students**
Typically, Gordon selects web sites and webpages for his students in advance and creates links to those sites at a free online bookmarking service called "iKeepBookmarks". His fifth graders can add bookmarks but are cautioned that teachers monitor what's added. Several workshop participants noted that, in choosing a bookmarking service, teachers will want to make sure they're aware of any advertising that might appear. This link leads to Gordon's class collection.

Gordon's students frequently use current news stories as a basis for their blog entries (click on entries in the left margin of his classroom blog to see examples). Here are three news websites designed for children that he shared with us. He mentioned that he indicates to students in advance the areas of the sites that they are allowed to visit.

**BBC NewsRound**
News from around the world, written for students.

**Scholastic News for Kids**
News selected and prepared for students by Scholastic's editors. Good teacher resources.

**TIME for Kids News**
Like the other "kid news" sites, this service from TIME magazine offers "easy read" material with "find out more" features.

**A "Frappr" Map of Mr. Brune's Class Contacts**
Gordon's fifth graders frequently find themselves in contact with other students from around the U.S. and the world. Currently, he uses this Frappr mapping tool (short for Friend Mapper) to create a visual representation of where all those students go to school. "They love to see all the contacts we've made," he says, "and this really helps them understand the reach of web publishing." Click on a map pin for information about a particular student group. As always, Gordon monitors his students' visits to this page, since Frappr is a free public space and may have inappropriate content in other areas of the site.

**ClustrMaps – Track Visits to Your Webpage!**
Here's another free service that gives Gordon's students a big idea of where visitors to their classroom blog are located. You'll notice that a lot of visitors live somewhere around Alabama!

**Bloglines – And Gordon's Collection of "Feeds"**

Bloglines is a free web-based service that basically allows you to keep up with new content posted in blogs and webpages that provide an RSS (really simple syndication) "feed." Click on the "related feeds" tab at the top of the page to see the education-related blogs that Gordon likes to follow. This is a great way to identify some other educators who share your interest in blogging. Here's one we found, kept by a teacher in Scotland!

Blogging in Secondary School

Will Richardson:
Education Blogging in Secondary Schools
Search for blogs related to your interests.

Blogger (blog services)
Blogger (owned by Google) is a user-friendly, full-service blogging site where you can create free blogs, including "team blogs" that allow multiple posters (great for classroom use). Several of our ABPC Fellows use Blogger in their classrooms. If you'd like to get in touch with them to share ideas, let us know!

EduBlogs was created specifically for the education community (teachers, researchers, librarians and other education professionals). When you reach the site, click on "About" to get a feel for the purpose of this blogging site. You'll see a link there to, which is tailored to the needs of K-12 students. One of our ABPC Fellows uses EduBlog. If you'd like to get in touch with her to share ideas, let us know!

Grade 8 Blogging Community - A Powerful Story
My community of grade eight student bloggers became so big and so engaging that I spent every spare moment reading and writing within this community. My class community suddenly blossomed and I started seeing myself as an important part of the classroom community and no longer as a teacher who peddles content. I became a participant in a series of dialogues. I witnessed the emergence of a semantic network, one where all links, all interactions were based on meaning.

Junior High teacher blog – "Excellence & Imagination"
Here's a blog used by Mr. Fisher, a 7-8 teacher in Manitoba, Canada. He uses the free EduBlog service mentioned above. Explore Mr. Fisher's class blog and get some ideas of your own! If you're curious about why he chose EduBlogs, email him with your questions or post a comment on his "About" page.

Junior High student blog – "Me and My Peeps"
Example of a student using the EduBlogs "learnerblogs" service.

Middle School Teacher's Blog – ""(Mike Hetherington)
Will R. actually provided the link to Mr. Hetherington's student blogs page, but this might be a good place to start if you're a teacher. Mr. H gives some good background about hisr evolution as a teacher-blogger and explains how he developed his student blogging. You can follow a link to his student blogging page "Room 613 Student Blog." There, if you click on "Rules for Posting and Commenting," you'll find a good set of guidelines to use with your own students. For the 2006/2007 school year, Room 613 has moved on to creating individual student blogs aggregated to several Google Reader shared pages. Mike also provides some audio comments about student blogging at Wesley Fryer's site - Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

Elementary Teacher's Blog – Room 208 (Bob Sprankle)
Bob Sprankle is a 3-4 grade teacher in Wells, Maine. This link leads to his classroom blog, which is a visual delight! You'll see he's doing a lot of podcasting with his students. Bob also has a blog for teachers where he "reflects on the changing classroom in the 21st Century." Click on the "Bit by Bit" button in the left-hand margin, or follow this link.

High School Student-Run Blog – Art "Club"
Here's a project at Will's own high school -- Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, NJ. From the "Purpose" page of the blog: "We started the club to provide an outlet for students to express creativity in ways they can't in the classroom. Members are encouraged to use any media they choose (painting, drawing, cut paper, origami, film, photography... sand art... etc) to do the periodically assigned 'Media Projects'." You'll also find a link to a recent Edutopia magazine article about this blog project!

Blog for a High School Video Club
This blog grew out of the work of the Video Club at Wheaton Academy (a Christian school in Illinois). This particular page shares some "Advanced Video Podcasts." Another example of how a blog can support student clubs and special projects. (Note that this blog resides on the school's own server.)

High School Staff Development Blog – 21st Century Learning
Blogs can also support an exchange of ideas and resources among teachers who are keen on pursuing 21st Century teaching strategies. Here's a blog supported by Karl Fisch at Arapahoe HS in Centennial, Colorado. It's also a good example of the power of social networking – while the blog supports teachers at AHS, it's also addressed to a larger global audience of educators. Definitely a good blog to "subscribe" to!

Professional Development Blog – Seton Hall Ed.D. Program
Used by Will Richardson and colleagues for a college class.

Will Richardson's "Handouts" Page (Done as a Wiki)
Will uses this wiki to support his presentations. "Think of this as a 'Virtual Handout'," he says. "You are encouraged to add your own links and thoughts by clicking the 'Edit this Page' link on the toolbar above." If you'd like to further explore Will's "Teaching with Blogs" presentation, you'll definitely want to visit and explore categories like Read Write Web, Weblogs, Wikis, RSS, Social Bookmarking, Pod and Videocasting, and more.

Bloglines – An Easy Way to Keep Up with Blogs You Like
Think of Bloglines as a kind of web-based "library" of information that you want to keep up with. It's a "free online service for searching, subscribing, creating and sharing news feeds, blogs and rich web content." If you're not quite sure what that means, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page. It's a tremendous tool for organizing your online life!

The French Pod Class
A fun blog created by a student from France who lives in the US and is studying to become a teacher. French teachers and their students will find lots of interest here!

High School Journalism – Class Blog
This blog was developed by Will and a fellow teacher to support the journalism class at Hunterdon Central High. It's a great example of the potential of a blog to help steer the course of study through the year – and use the Web to supplement the learning, in many ways!

Will Richardson's Blog for Educators
Here's one of the best ways we know of to keep up with developments in the education 'blogsphere." You'll also find a link to a page where you can order Will's book directly from him! Also see Will's article about the Read/Write Web.

Why Blog in Education? (video clip)
This is a short video clip featuring Will R. and students/colleagues from his high school. The enthusiasm of students and teachers in this video clip will help make the case for classroom blogging!

external image thumbs_up.gifDarren Kuropatwa – Making "A Difference"
Canadian high school teacher Darren Kuropatwa was one of our guests in the high school session of our "Teaching with Blogs" workshop. Darren is an enthusiastic proponent of the potential of using blogs to engage students in deeper learning – a potential he is demonstrating to the world through his own class bogs for calculus and other math content. Darren has started a blog where professional educators can discuss classroom blogging and share new ideas and developments. This is the link to that blog!

A Darren K. Math Blog -- Pre-Cal 40S (Winter 2006)
Think you can't use a blog to teach calculus? Think again!
Darren Kuropatwa reflects on where he started with blogging in his math classes and where he wants to go in this post on his blog, A Difference

Safe, Responsible Blogging and Internet Use

external image thumbs_up.gifDarren Kuropatwa's Safe Blogging Resources Page
This collection was inspired by a U.S. teacher who shared with Darren that when her school began to support classroom blogging, "some parents expressed grave concerns about their children's safety online." Use these resources to educate your community and help your students develop safe online practices.
external image thumbs_up.gifWeb Safety & Access: An Ongoing Discussion among Educators
"Nonscholae" is a blog developed by Darren Kuropatwa and other educators to explore "the responsible use of blogs, photosharing, podcasts, web hosting, educational games, instant messaging and other social software in schools. Our students want to be web authors, create content and take part in distributed conversations, not just web consumers." The blog gets its name from a Latin phrase attributed to Seneca, which translates: "We learn, not for school, but for life."

external image thumbs_up.gifABPC Resources on Safe, Responsible Internet Use
We developed this week in partnership with a professor from The College of William and Mary (VA), who was one of our guests during a February 2006 online mini-conference about Internet access and safety in schools and school districts. We plan to continue to support discussions on these issues among Alabama educators.

external image thumbs_up.gif"More Voices Create Better Tech Policies"
This article from School Administrator (August 2005) deserves the attention of any educator who believes technology policies need to serve the school system's primary mission of the enterprise -- high quality teaching and learning. "The best rules and guidelines are those developed collaboratively," says Texas school administrator Doug Johnson.

external image thumbs_up.gifResponsible Blogging Lesson Plan
Described by high school teacher Steve Lazar with great links to additional material.
external image thumbs_up.gifBlogging Contract for Students
This simple one-page web publishing contract (developed by David Warlick) can be adapted to suit your needs. There's a place for the student and teacher to sign. Excerpt: "I will always be accountable for the information that I produce and publish, willing and able to defend my information or acknowledge when I have made a mistake and fix it."

Examples of Classroom Blogs

**ABPC Powerful Conversations Meeting on 21st Century Learning**
(Resources included in presentation by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach)

**Remote Access – Middle Grades Educator Clarence Fisher**
This blog by a veteran, award-winning Canadian teacher comes highly recommended by Darren K. and Will R. It blends Fisher's professional and personal interests and serves as a great meeting place for educators interested in the Read/Write Web. (Not just for middle school educators!)

**Grade 8 Math Blog (Winnipeg, Canada)**

**Grade 7 Math Blog (Winnipeg, Canada)**

**Grade 6 Social Studies Blog (Connecticut)**
**Grade 6 Room 613 Student Blogs 0607 (Connecticut)**

**Middle School Science Blog (North Carolina)**
**Grade 3 "Mighty Writers" Blog (Seattle)**
**Grade 3/4 "Room 208" (Maine)**
**Grade 5 "Room 507 All Stars" (Texas)**
**Grade 5 "Super Students' Blog (Nebraska)****High School Journalism Blog (North Carolina)**
**Grade 8 History Blog (Missouri)** – This teacher is doing amazing things with podcasts!

Education Blogs of ABPC 21st Century Teacher Fellows

**Randy Fullington – High School Honors Biology**

**Suzanne Culbreth – High School Geometry**
(See links to three classroom blogs at top of webpage - and read Suzanne's letter to parents.)

**Brandi Caldwell – Senior English**

**Jeanne Simpson – Seventh Grade Math**
**Jeanne Simpson – Musings on Classroom Blogging**

**Aimee Smith – Middle School Math**

**Scarlett Gaddy – High School AP Government**

April Chamberlain – Intermediate Grades
April is a tech teacher in Trussville City Schools. She's involved in a number of web-based projects with students, using both blogs and wikis. Visit these links to find out more!

Risk Watch – A Blog to Help Students Learn about Safety

Communication with Gray Eagle & Fellow Soldiers

April's Blog for Trussville Educators

Fifth Graders Write Risk Watch Movie Scripts (wiki)

Student TV Anchors Write Scripts for Morning Show (wiki)

Assessing Blog Posts

Will Richardson gives these suggestions to assess post. Read more details at
1. What did you read in order to write this blog entry?
2. What do you think is important about your blog entry?
3. What are both sides of your issue?
4. What do you want your readers to know, believe, or do?
5. What else do you need to say?

Creating a blog in SharePoint

You have two choices. You can create a discussion board on your private site where only you, the students, and their parents can leave comments. This is the safest form of blogging. However, this does not allow for collaboration with other classes or people outside of our school district. You can also put a blog on your public site and set moderations so that comments are not added to the blog until you approve them.

Let's start with adding a blog / discussion board to your private site.
1. Go to your private website.
2. Select CONFIGURE on the top gray toolbar.
4. Scroll down to select DISCUSSION BOARD
5. Type a title for your discussion board. Ex. - Honors Biology, Math, Authors, etc.
6. Select CREATE
7. You are now in your discussion board.
8. To start a thread, select NEW DISCUSSION.
9. Fill in the blanks and select SAVE AND CLOSE.

Now any student who is logged into the network can read your thread and leave a comment. Their comments will be published automatically to the discussion board.

Let's add a blog to your public site for collaboration with others
1. Go to your public website.
2. Go through steps 2 - 6 from above.
3. Once you are on the public discussion board, select MODIFY SETTINGS AND COMMENTS on the navigation bar.
5. Under CONTENT APPROVAL, select YES.
6. Select OK
7. Select HOME in the upper left hand corner.
8. Select the discussion board that you created for the public site.
9. On the navigation bar, you will now see APPROVE / REJECT ITEMS.
10. Once you select this, you will see comments that are waiting your approval.
11. I also suggest you set the ALERT ME so that you know when someone has left a comment.
12. To do this, select ALERT ME on the navigation bar.
13. You want to make sure it will alert you of ALL changes and IMMEDIATELY.

You are done! Let's get blogging!

Creating a blog using Blogger

1. Go to
2. Select "create your blog now" in the orange arrow on the right
3. Fill in the required forms. The username that you want may be taken. So, you might have to try different usernames until to get one that is not currently being used.
4. Name your blog - Fill in all the forms boxes. Follow the directions listed. Select continue when finished.
5. Choose a template - When you find a template you like, select the round circle next to it's name. Select continue when you are finished.
6. Youe blog has now been created! Congratulations!
7. Select "start posting" to add your first post.
8. Type in a title and the text you want to post.
9. When finished, select "publish post".
10. You can view your blog by selecting "view blog" on the top tag. Close the window when you are finished looking at your blog.
There are several things we need to do to make your blog safe.
Enable Comment Moderation
11. Select the tab labeled "settings".
12. Select "comments" on the tan bar below the tabs.
13. In the "who can comment?" rectangle, select "anyone". This way people can comment that are not blogger members.
14. Scroll down the page to "enable comment moderation" and select "yes". Type in your school address.
15. Select "save settings" at the very bottom.
Remove the "next blog" and other taglines at the top of your blog so that students are not taken to any inappropriate sites.
16. Select the "template" tab at the top.
17. You will now see the html code that is behind the blog. Scrool down about 2/3 of the way to find <body> by itself on a line.
18. You want to change <body> to <noscript><body></noscript>
19 Select "save template changes"
20. Republish your blog to see your change. Select the Republish button.

Resources Recommended by Our Visitors!

(Below, feel free to add any resources you find that will help all of us in our work - here's how)

**Writing Tips for Bloggers**
One of our favorite teacher-bloggers recommends this article on the craft of blog writing. "I think it speaks to things I wish I'd known when I started writing my own blog," she says. We agree. These reflections from veteran blogger Dennis Mahoney combine some traditional writing advice with tips about the unique web log medium.
**Google Search Page**
Type in a topic to see if a blog has already been created. This is a great way to begin the collaborative process!

Information for the wiki was obtained from Teaching with Blogs, a wiki created by the Alabama Best Practice Center