small steps

I’ve been taking small steps since I wrapped up the Slice of Life March challenge. Small steps in my classroom that is. After finishing the challenge, I decided I would torment myself try blogging with some of my students. Small steps, hopefully leading to big leaps.

The first thing I needed to do was decide on a blogging platform.  I looked at Kidblog and the free version of Edublogs. I actually set up an account at Edublogs, but the free version just was not robust enough to do what I wanted it to do.  Then after I thought about it, I decided against Kidblog because if I was going to pay for a platform, I would just use Edublog because it is similar to the WORDPRESS that I use for my own blog.

But then a change…enter Blogger! I almost feel like in the blogging world it’s WORDPRESS vs. BLOGGER, just like COKE vs. PEPSI, or APPLE vs. PC! I mean I love WORDPRESS, but I decided to give Blogger a try with my students. Yes, I crossed over!

First off, Blogger is *FREE*! My students all have a GOGGLE account which made set-up easy to establish. While it might not be as sophisticated as the paid version of Edublogs, it certainly is manageable. We didn’t spend a lot of time picking templates, colors, fonts, etc. I pretty much set the site up on my end and then added my students as blog authors/contributors. This was easy-peasy and worked out perfect since I was pressed for time. The end of the school year is right around the corner!

We modeled our first post after a series of poems that Amy Ludwig VanDerwater did in the month of April called “Wallow in Wonder!“. It was just brilliant the way she connected poetry to the ever-engaging articles of Wonderopolis.  If you haven’t been to their sites you need to finish reading this post and GET.THERE.TO.CHECK.IT.OUT!

I decided on our first article from Wonderopolis, Why Are They Called Killer Whales? Wonder of the Day #1651. And then, I modeled the framework of the response. I have to admit, when I saw Dana Murphy’s post,  Create Your Own Text: Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts, I was like, yesssssss, I just did that with my kiddos.  Here is the link to the mentor text that I created: Oh, Mr. Killer Whale, what if we met? The students then worked on creating their post and drew a graphic or added a picture.

We are currently working on our second post. Once again, I choose the article from Wonderopolis, Why Do Some People Chase Storms? Wonder of the Day #779. I didn’t give my students a formal mentor text, but I did give them some possible titles for their post. They could decide on their own title or choose from one of these:

  • Today I’m Chasing a Storm
  • My Dangerous Hobby
  • When I Grow Up…
  • I’m Just a Storm Chaser

Once they finish the storm chaser post they are going to explore Wonderopolis on their own and create their third post. I’ll be anxious to see what they find and what they create! I hope you have time to take a look at our site.

You can find us at gr8readersgr8writers.blogspot.com.

If you do hop on over, feel free to leave a comment!

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17 thoughts on “small steps

  1. Wandering over to the class blog now … It’s always interesting, how we make choices about platforms … (I thought KidBlog was free, no?) …
    Kevin

  2. What a great way to enter spring- blogging!!!!! with a nice combination of mentor texts, suggestions and choice. Wish I could be blogging along with you as a kid, Amy!!! Jealous 🙂

  3. Amy, I am in awe. Thanks for the tutorial in setting up the blog. I’m going over to the site and will comment. Unfortunately, because its google related, I will show up as Joseph Dougherty. Don’t ask. But it’s really me!

  4. Wow, Amy! This was a very informative post. certainly will visit your class blog and need to catch up with Amy Ludwig Vanderwater (I love her poetry!) and the Wonderopolis site! I think this is a great addition to what you are already doing with your students. Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  5. Amy, this is great. I will have to head over and read some post. I can imagine how excited your students must feel as they read responses to what they have written.

  6. Amy, this is fabulous! I’m so impressed with your determination and this wonderful opportunity you’ve created for your students. Wow! I also thoroughly enjoyed Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’s poems last months. I love how you’re using them as a springboard for your students’ blog writing. Awesome effort and post! Yay, Amy!!!

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