Each classroom and resource teacher at our school has a blog, that they are “required” to keep up to date for communication purposes to parents. Updated, meaning to at least create a post once a week. I have written about my effort to encourage teachers to Creating a learning community with your Elementary School Blog by pointing out the differences between a Blog vs. Static Website.
It is a slow process. I have to remind myself that we ARE moving…that that is the real important thing….Teachers seem to have to hear that changing their habits is imperative by more than one person and on more than one occasion. It will not sink in the first time even with the best presentation, one on one time or conference they attend. They need to hear it from many different people over a period of time, until the “Aha” moment seems to come or the resistance breaks down. I will keep chipping away. I will keep reminding them during planning and co-teaching moments that we want to use the blogs for more than a pretty scrapbook, a digital homework planner or “just” as a communication tool between school and home.
But for now, I am reminding myself how far they have come from one year ago, when they did not know what a blog was yet.
Here are some of the changes that are occurring more frequently and on a consistent basis in most blogs of the school:
- Teachers are discovering the convenience and possibility of extended learning opportunities by adding age appropriate links to their sidebar.
- Teachers are loving the WordPress blog Image gallery features. The blog is becoming a digital scrapbook of their school year.
- Embedding slideshows via slide.com , powerpoints via slideshare.net, stories via voicethread.com, movies recorded with flip cameras and edited with MovieMaker
- Learning about keeping students safe, by not posting images coupled with their names, not mentioning last names anywhere.
- Using the SmartBoard software to take screenshots and then upload to blog with a link to the website.
- Using an event calendar in their sidebar to alert parents
- Creating questions of the week and each student comments (signed in as teacher) identifying themselves with a class number
- Highlighting events happening in the classroom during the week
- Creating student usernames/password (Upper grades) to encourage questions on the blog
- Adding rubrics of special projects
- Scanning in of student notes for review purposes
- Adding categories to blog posts when posting for multiple classes or grade levels
- Informing students, parents and colleagues of upcoming community events
- Keeping track of inter mural competitions
- Homework helpers & Quiz reviews
Our classroom pages are behnd password protection, so I cannot link them for everybody to see as examples. But here are a few selected screenshots.