Friday, 12 July 2013

Blog, Website, or Both?

     Our school year begins in less than two months and I am spending this summer trying to get as organized as possible. In addition to the million-and-one things that are required of teachers, I know that I want to have my students blogging as well as have a classroom website.

     I have two science classes, Grade 7 & Grade 8, who I want to start blogging projects with. These are two of my smaller classes as I am nervous that I will get too overwhelmed if I tried to get ALL 7 of my different subject-area classes blogging. Depending on how the project goes, in regards to student benefit, I hope to increase this in the future. My hope is to have 1 blog for this project (Grade 7 & 8 can tag their posts appropriately) where students can:
- Share what they learned on specific days
- Create a student-created textbook for the course
- Host various assignments
- Ask questions/develop project ideas
- Connect with other students, various people in the science field, etc

     As I mentioned, however, I have 7 different classes ranging from Grade 7-Grade 10 and I would also like to have a classroom website where all students (and parents) can go to in order to find various information. A classroom website would, theoretically, hold information like:
- Parent portal link (so parents can check marks)
- Classroom/school policies
- Individual classroom pages
- School calendar
- Contact information
- Copy of the school calendar
- Homework/important project info
- About me page

     Now the question is, do I create these two separately or do I put them together on one big page? For example, if I used Blogger would I have the Grade 7-8 blog as the focus and then have tabbed pages serving as the classroom website? I could also use Weebly, which creates amazing websites and would be perfect for the classroom website, but doesn't have the best blogging network. I could have them on completely different platforms and just link them to each other.

     What are your thoughts? 

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  1. I think having them separate would work best, since it's easy to link one to the other, and it might be very confusing to have it all-in-one!

    1. Thanks Jon! That's what I was thinking as well because I was getting a bit too overwhelmed when it came to having it all together on one platform.

  2. Have you checked out I started my blog in the hopes of it becoming a class collaboration, but then found out about kid blog and my whole plan changed! It's great because every child has their own blog, but you monitor everything that is posted. You can keep it private - so no one other then the bloggers can see anything, or give parents a login - either a central one, or their own individual ones, or you can make it completely open.
    My year 6's have gone from reluctant writers to kids who beg me to hurry up and accept their posts so their classmates can read and give them feedback. Not sure if this is where you are wanting to head, but definitely has been amazing in my class.

    The E-Z Class

    1. Hey Erin! I actually know a few educators who have been using kidblog with a lot of success. I think if I had the students all day (Grade 6 or under, in our school) I would use kid blog with them because I could incorporate more cross-curricular projects. Since my students will be Grade 7 & 8 I only see them for 30mins a day so I am thinking a shared blog just because of the time we can afford to work on it.
      I will actually be working with a few of our teachers, however, with blogging and I think kidblog will be a better match for them (Grade 3-5) so I will definitely pass on your recommendation!
      Thank you :)

  3. Hey Kirsten,if you want my two cents worth - I would go with the separate option. You could have one web site that works for all your classes. Some info will be common to all and you can set up separate pages/sub-pages for each class. It might save you some work. For the blog, I would consider one for each class. Have you considered the idea of a weekly scribe - Darren K. did that for his high school math courses with great success. If you want some info on that I can probably find some - or Darren would help you out as well, I am sure. Sounds like great planning going on - I look forward to using your work as examples for new students at BU!

    1. Hi Mr. Nantais! The separate option has been what I've been leading towards. Having it together just seems WAY too crowded.
      I actually remember you (or Darren) mentioning the weekly scribe idea and that is what I'm hoping to incorporate with this project. I think it would work best considering our classroom set up and the class time that we have :)


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