Jul 2, 2013

Kidblog, A Teacher Moment that Makes Me *SMILE*, and a favor for a little writer :)

Together, as a family, we decided that both my son and I would like to share his fifth grade year together!  Now I must admit, I was am a bit nervous about that. I tend to be overly critica,l and overly protective of my boys at the same time, depending on the situations we find ourselves in.  (Those of you that are moms know that it is very possible to be both extremes, given the needs of our children, at any given moment.)  As a teacher, I know that I will need to find a middle ground with my son when I am acting as his teacher.  Our practice run went very well as you will read below. <3

I am a huge fan of EDMODO, and my students use it to talk briefly about what they are reading.  This is convenient for us, because it is easy to write a short comment or status update via an iPod app.  I've been looking for an authentic option that will allow a more published look for their journal writing.  This summer, I've read some fabulous posts from a few friends about KIDBLOG, and I knew I had to try it out.  What better way to try it out, than with a future student?  So, the trial run of teacher/mom began!
I started by asking for a favor. As you might have read in my previous post, I believe kids are very motivated to help us when we need a favor, especially if we prove that we value their opinions. I simply explained that I needed him to try out this cool site, and let me know if he thought we might could use it in our classroom next year. I explained that I wanted him to set up a blog. He grumbled, "What do I have to write about?" As soon as I said he could write about anything he wanted, he was ready to go!  Choice is EVERYTHING, but that's another post. :)

Important side note: On Sunday evening, my son and 3 swimming buddies broke 2 local relay records at a Championship swim meet. :)  He jumped at the opportunity to write about this experience, especially since he was doing a favor for me.  *wink*wink*

I left the room leaving only a few writing tips.  The mom in me wanted to control the situation, and guide him into creating a beautiful narrative piece with lots of dialog and emotion, something ready to be published in a swimming magazine!  :)  The teacher in me held the mom back, and I was able to walk away. :)

When I returned, he had a well-written, albeit short paragraph. (We'll work on that later.) He had changed the background, figured out how to load a video, and was asking if the class would be "allowed" to load avatars.   I was the teacher, and not only was he smiling, he was excited about writing!  *Happiness*

***Here's where you come in, and where the mom in me is taking over for a minute.  :). I have temporarily opened his sweet little post because I would very much love for him to feel that his writing is being celebrated in a real, authentic environment!  Please take just a second to click on the link.  It is completely open to blogger and non-blogger comments today.  I will need to approve each one, so your comments may not display right away. Thanks for taking a second to show him some support from a true writing community!  I plan to use this post in the classroom as an example of what real comments should look like when you are supporting a writer.  ***

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Now, the teacher in me would like to share some tips and tricks we learned together about KIDBLOG.

Teacher/Administrator Options

  • The settings are very versatile.  As the teacher/administrator of the blog, you can manage your settings so that all comments and posts come through you first for approval.
  • You can make all posts private to an individual or a closed group so that you totally control the environment.  
  • Of course you may write posts, and control the backgrounds etc.  I thought it would be a great place to share class photos for students to comment and enjoy.
  • You can easily set up accounts for students.  NO email is required.

Kid tested and Approved Student Options

  • Several background/theme options available (He loved this.)
  • Avatars 
  • Very SIMPLE interface (see below)
  • "There's a great app Mom." :)  (He found that.)


OVERALL REVIEW: We BOTH loved it, and are very excited to use it in the fall.  In fact, my son says he may blog again today!  Your comments on his first blog post would sure motivate him to continue writing. (hint*hint) The mom in me would love your help. :)  The teacher in me is ecstatic that this may be a big motivator for my students to write.  I want my students to be real readers, real thinkers, and real writers. In order to accomplish this, they need authentic reading and writing experiences.  I think this fits perfectly into that plan!

Thanks for reading!  Please take a moment to click over and comment on my son's post.  It will be very interesting to see what his posts look like after a year with his mom as his teacher! :)  

My goal for the classroom is that they write daily about anything that they want in their journals.  ("Turn on the fountain" kind of writing)  On Friday, they will choose one piece to publish to their blog via KIDBLOG.  Then, I am certain, way down deep in my heart, that they will want to read and comment on their friend's posts over the weekend, when they have a spare moment.  Thus creating an AUTHENTIC READING AND WRITING ENVIRONMENT.  Cross your fingers for me! :)
Have a great day!

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One last thing:  Have you heard about the Blogger Meet-up? Click below for more information! :)  
Hope to see you there!

20 comments:

  1. I just blogged about a possible Carolina Blogger Meet Up - are you interested?? Read All About It Here

    Amanda
    Teaching Maddeness

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  2. Just commented. I used Kidblog with my students last year, but I didn't make them public. I think that I am going to take the plunge this year. My little ones LOVED sharing and had a blast learning how to upload pictures, change their backgrounds, and customize their blogs. You are going to love this in the classroom. The iPad app is handy too- you just have to make sure that the kids sign out after each use or else they may accidentally post on someone else's blog!

    ❁ Kate
    Purely Paperless

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  3. This is such an incredible resource! I am super pumped to implement this in my room. I have been on the look out for cool new things to do with my students this year, since I'm looping up with my class. I am hoping that this will boost the excitement of writing for my reluctant writers (a handle full of boys) in my room.

    :) Nicole
    Tadpole Tidbits
    www.mrscorbitt.blogspot.com

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  4. What a great idea, students love when they have an authentic audience.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

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  5. I love using Kidblog in my classroom too-- I also love how excited your son was so excited to do you the favor of writing his post. :) Just commented on his post too!
    Aylin
    Learning to the Core

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  6. I used Kidblog with my students last year and they loved it! They loved being able to read and comment on their peers' blogs as well. Such a great resource!
    Bethany
    FabandFunin4th!

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  7. How fun to share the year with your son, and I love the idea of using Kidblog! I wish I lived close enough for that meet-up!

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

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  8. I have heard a lot about Kidblog but haven't used it. Our district uses Gaggle.net but it is really a pain in the behind to set it all up (at least from my experience). I may have to give it a try this year!

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  9. What a great post! I'm so excited for you and your son this upcoming school year!
    Erin
    Short and Sassy Teacher

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  10. Just commented - twice:). What a great app! I am going to look into using it for my class. Thank you and tell your swimmer that I am truly impressed with his times and writing!

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  11. Loved this post! I haven't heard of Kidblog, but I will definitely be using it this fall. Last year my school site used My Big Campus, but the interface was similar to Facebook. I did like how it had a discussion board for my students to add their threads and so forth. However, I like that Kidblog is an actual blog and I will "steal" your idea of them writing daily in their journals and then choosing one to blog. Thanks for the ideas!

    ~Chelsea
    Fifth Grade Wit and
    Whimsy

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  12. Brandee,
    That is very cool about teaching your son. I've always wondered how that would/will work out....even if you kid is just in the same school.

    Thanks for sharing kids blog. excellent post
    matt
    Digital: Divide & Conquer

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  13. This sounds amazing! I tried to do something similar with our school's website/interface system - Edline. Students could write about a book or something and then have others post comments. However, unless I went in and manually loaded all my students reading the same books or what not - only each class could see the posts and comments. I love that this would allow all friends to have access. This makes me want to start brainstorming ways to fit this into my classroom :)

    Thanks again for sharing!
    Amanda
    My Shoe String Life

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  14. I can't wait to check out your son's blog!! I think that this might be something my daughter (going into grade 7 might be interested in). Thanks for posting about how you are using it at home. I think I will check out the options and see if I can use it with my class too.

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  15. So proud of him! Just read his post and saw that he has a ton of comments and that makes me so happy! I'm going to try to figure out how I can use Kidblog in my classroom (math), too! Thanks for the ideas :)

    Elizabeth
    Fun in Room 4B

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  16. What an amazing experience for you and your son (and me!!) I can't wait to use Kidblog in the fall! Thanks for sharing this awesome resource.

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  17. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I see some collaboration in your future with some sweet little peeps!

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  18. I sent Lincoln a comment. :)
    I LOVE that you just posted about this because I was just thinking yesterday about wanting to figure out how to blog with my class and make them responsible for creating the content. I'm off to investigate KIDSBLOG a little more. Thanks for posting about it!
    Michele
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

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  19. Yay!! I am so glad you love Kidblog so far! You will be amazed at how the students will just love it too! I am so glad you figured out how to make the post public. There must be setting somewhere that you can make the post not private? I must have all posts set as private. Great to know! Your so is so cute:)
    ~Holly
    Fourth Grade Flipper

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  20. I bet you and he both will have a great year next year! When I student taught in 1st grade, my cooperating teacher had her son in her class! :)

    I love your son's post! He has lots of comments! :)

    Are you going to go to to the Carolina Blogger get together? I am hoping to! I already have plans for the first weekend of August so I am hoping it's the next one.

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