Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Let's Blog, Folks!

Do you blog with your students? I can officially say we're bloggers now! Last week, I gave my students the task of identifying one scientist, inventor, or discovery to research and write and informational blog post on. I'll be honest, when I FIRST introduced the project you could hear crickets in the room. Even after a few failed attempts at pumping them up... I still heard crickets. I'm fairly certain the only thing they heard me say was "research". 

As a class, we used the blogging platform KidBlog.org. I created an account (for free) and entered all of my students. The great part about KidBlog - you must have a password to read ALL of the posts. You can see the title of the blog, but in order to read anything a password must be entered.

The first question I had to tackle was, "what is blogging?". I relied on my good friends, Tim and Moby to do that for me. In their short BrainPOP, they hit the big ideas of a weblog being an online journal. They even go as far to describe different purposes for blogging. Perfect jumpstart for our project. 

Click here to take you to the BrainPOP about blogging. The best news is that it's FREE!

After giving my students the rundown on blogging and KidBlog, I gave both of my science classes this task: 

You will research the biography of one famous scientist and inventor. Determine the nature of their work, ethnic background, gender, and area of study. In a typed blog post, you will describe how their work contributed to science and technology. 

In 5th grade, we have several GLEs regarding the impact of science, technology, and human activity. I was (and still am!) confident that this project was a successful one to cover those areas. 

On our first day of class, I had my kids identify who they wanted to research. We started small and gathered resources. If you would like a copy of our research page, email me! [jordon.furnell@gmail.com]. I love sharing resources!

Each day of class, we spent about a week on this, I gave a mini lesson on different features of blogging.  One day, I showed them how to edit and publish their blog. On Friday, our mini lesson was about inserting an image into the blog. For the most part, students really got the hang of things. While I was explaining our blog, I even had a student leave me comment that said, "okey dokey." Clearly, he had things figured out. 

Do you blog with your students? What types of things do you blog about? What other social media outlets do you use? I would love to expand our blogging outside of science and biographies. Share your ideas! 


  1. I use Kidblog. I tried other kid friendly blog programs, but they were cumbersome or lacked security. My kids love commenting on other student's posts. We did poetry with a fall picture. Wrote about snow days, sports, and camp. My kids blog about anything and everything. My non-writers will even blog, but we have to help will spell check. They worry about moving on to middle school and losing this outlet for their writing.

    1. Thanks Marcia! I'm so excited to branch our and blog more. I think it will be a great outlet for us during state testing in a few weeks!

  2. I started a classroom blog with my kids last year and did it again this year. I ended up using tumblr because it can be password protected and is a more traditional one post after another blog format. Also, there's unlimited photo uploads allowed, and our blog is photo heavy.

    We blog about literally everything. Book reviews, what's going down on the playground, science experiments, the status of our class pets, field trips we've taken, etc. My students' parents really appreciate the blog because it is a great way for them to learn more about their kids' days at school and they can take the pictures off the blog for themselves.

    I set up a classroom Twitter feed and it is in the blog's sidebar. So I can send reminders or make requests pretty easily. The best part is that the kids do all the writing and photography.

    1. I WISH we could use Tumblr and Twitter at school, but unfortunately they are blocked. We have limited access to several social media sites. I've used Twiducate before and the kids loved it. I only have six computers in my classroom, so getting all the students on the computer has been tricky. Do you have each student blog often? How do you manage that?

  3. We recently converted our Reading Logs into Reading Blogs. I love that the kids can read one another's posts and get book recommendations from one another. The kids love getting comments from each other. Switching to KidBlog gave our weekly reading responses a much needed revitalization. ~Stacy @http://new-in-room-202.blogspot.com

  4. We also use KidBlog. It has been fun to see what kids come up with. Blog posts can take place of student's weekly reading log. Thanks for sharing.

    Chickadee Jubilee

    1. Do you have the students write a rough draft prior to their reading log? Do you have any type of rubric or checklist? How do you hold them accountable? Thanks for sharing!

  5. Love Kidblog! This is the second year I've had my students blog. It's been a great motivator, especially for my students who aren't fans of writing. I use the blog for many different things. Last year we used it during our service learning project as a way to discuss and move through their chosen projects. Every week my students have 4 writing extension activities that have to complete in regards to our current novel read aloud. On Fridays, they choose one in which they would like to publish online, under my original discussion thread. They all have their own blog page within our class blog where they publish poems, pose questions in regards to science or social studies to the rest of the class.

    The only tricky part was discussing with he students the importance of responding with an engaging, thoughtful comment....not just saying "I like..."

    Fifth Grade Wit and


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