- real-world application of all strands of literacy
- encouraging reluctant writers/readers
- creative space for students to share learning
- modelling digital citizenship
- student authorship
- global connections
- exploring features of different texts
- showcasing learning
- creating links between home-school
- expanding classroom walls
- fostering pride and independence in students
- Not convinced? Read THIS
Day 1: Introducing Easy Blogger Jr. to Grade 1N
“What’s a blog?” This is the question I posed to 17 curious faces on Day 1 of Blog Introductions. Two hands shot up and one of them shared that she knows about blogs because her sister (in high school) has one. Using this unexpected surprise as a teachable moment, we googled her sister’s blog and took note of the features of it:
- make-up, halloween costumes
Next I shared that 1N are going to have a blog too, which will be a space just for students to share what is happening in the classroom. I explained that they will be able to use the blog to look back and reflect on what they learned from many different devices – iPads, iphones, computers- both at school and at home.
Their classroom teacher Ms. Navarro then shared that since their classroom will be online now, they will be able to connect with many people around the world. She listed a few countries where she knew teachers and students who wanted to connect with 1N…the students were really excited!
Introducing the app Easy Blogger Jr
It was a no-brainer which app I was going to use to empower the students to post online…Easy Blogger Jr. The simple interface and kid-friendly audio and text directions made it the perfect tool for this age group. This video by KK was evidence enough of the benefits of blogging for young students.
Before working with students
- Set up Blogger Account for the class
- Recommended Template: ‘Dynamic View’ (all posts appear as snapshots or flipcards on the screen)
- Set up Easy Blogger Jr. student profiles on the iPads
- Create a class list and assign iPads to students (if not 1:1 and shared iPads are available) ~ You could also just use 1 iPad for the class to share.
- Establish a simple task for students to use as their first post (ex: a photo of something they made).
Day 2: Working in small groups to introduce the app
While the classroom teacher worked with the rest of the class, I pulled small groups of 3 students to create their first post. There was an added element of complication as students needed to export a simple eBook created in the My Story app and use the link from the iPad clipboard in their post. Although we managed to complete all 17 student posts, it took about 2 hours to introduce and guide them through the process. Still, students persevered and a learned a few extra skills when creating a blog post (such as screenshots and adding a link from the clipboard).
Easy to follow directions
The app itself has very clear directions that students (even non-English speakers) could interpret independently. For our first task, students selected ‘type’ and constructed their own sentence, plus the My Story eBook link and a picture (a screenshot I took of their ebook).
I made sure to empower the students to create their own title and also use their own knowledge of letters and sounds to spell their own sentences. For some, they needed a word bank to help them spell and finding the letters on the keypad (which is not alphabetised) was a challenge for all. Still, they were engaged and excited to finally have a platform to share their mini eBooks publicly.
The end product was a vibrant display of the students’ published work! We chose to leave spelling and unfinished eBooks as is so as to provoke students to think about what makes ‘a good eBook’ as well as ‘a good Blog Post’. See 1nclassblog.blogspot.ch