For this review, I read through three blogs and skimmed a few others. The two main blogs I worked with were – http://mscassidysclass.edublogs.org/ and http://christyrivers.wordpress.com/ .
One is a class blog for a high school English class and the other is for a group of first graders. The high school English class was a little more relevant to me seeing as this is what I will be teaching but I also enjoyed the one for younger students, though they were quite different.
The high school blog was more of a post for assignments and things from class. Mrs. Rivers posted documents, assignments, instructions, links to other English related blogs, vocabulary lists and other things on her blog. There was a section for parents that I felt was both polite and necessary – it opened up the classroom to the parents so they could see what their kids were doing all day instead of relying on their child to relay what happened (we’ve all given the “nothing” answer to our parents when they ask what we did today!). I really liked the whole tab that was dedicated to research writing. It included steps and other resources to help students along when doing research writing, which can be very difficult! I also thought it was a nice idea to add suggested books to her blog because, after all, it is an English class! This was also the section where her class members posted their topics for the research project they were starting in class.
The first grade blog was also really interesting. This blog was more about the daily happenings of their class and what kind of things they were working on. It looks like every kid in the class has an iPad to use through the school, so it makes sense that they would use them to do work! I love the way she incorperates technology with such young kids. We live in a technological world so I believe it is very important for students to be literate in every sense of the word, not just with books and writing! Also, each of her students has their own blog where they post text and pictures of the things they are learning in class. They even posed a challenge to other classrooms – How fast could they put on all their snow gear and be ready to walk outside? I thought this was a really good way to connect with classrooms all over the world, and they have! Each of the response videos was uploaded for their page and I’m sure the kids enjoyed watching people from all over the place interact with them.
Over all, I definitely think that class blogs are a helpful tool. I constantly check asuLearn on my smartphone or tablet to see when things are due or what I need to finish up that day, and blogs work in the same way. I certainly plan on having a class blog for my students, much like the one Mrs. Rivers has, that is a place where they can find things they need from class and even post work instead of wasting paper!