The Educator's PLN

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I recently set up edublogs for all of my kids (gr 5/4). I'm looking for ideas on how to use them in a meaningful way, not just idle comments to eachother. I've used a class blog before, but never individual ones. What keeps kids motivated to keep using their blogs? I struggled last year with the novelty wearing off, with both boys and girls; kids simply didn't want to write or respond to teacher driven content. I would love some feedback and discussion on how to successfully continue blog usage throughout the year.
Thanks everyone, and Happy New Year!

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I have heard great things about http://tweentribune.com/ as a place to get younger students excited about blogging. I have signed about for an account will plan to start student blogging next week. Fingers crossed!
Hi Debbie,
Thanks for sharing that site- it has some great topics for kids. Good luck starting your blogs next week! You can check out some of my students' blogs along with mine if you're interested.
alibull.edublogs.org
My seventh grade students are on classblogmeister.com. We do a Friday writing activity where we joined 2 other classes in Canada and the 3 teacher would come up with a question every friday for all 3 classes. All students would respond to the question and justify their answer, the teachers and students would then read responses from the other classes and respond to those as well. Our goal was to get them writing but to make it meaningful. We asked questions like, "If you woke up in the morning having gained any one ability, what would it be?" and "If you could have dinner with any one person from the present or past, whom would you choose and why?" It was a lot of fun and sometimes we asked them to tell a story about something that happened to them or to write about a goal they had. It turned out to be so much fun and they made friends in other countries based on common answers and interests.
Hi Wendy,
Thanks for that terrific idea! I agree that writing has to be relevant and meaningful for kids in order to be engaging. It sounds like you have no trouble engaging the kids at all. How did you go about connecting with the other gr. 7 teachers? Were the people you already followed on Twitter? I'm curious.
Thanks again for sharing your idea!
alison
Sorry it took me so long to respond, busy time of year. I found the other teacher by searching for other grade level class blogs. classblogmeister has a search option where you can search for other classes in the country of your choice or by grade. I know a fifth grade teacher in Minnesota that is always open to collaboration. I can give him your email if you'd like. Where are you from?
Are you on twitter?
Do you skype with other classes?
Hi Wendy!
Sorry I took so long too...haven't been checking this site for a while. I do have a Twitter account, but I've never Skyped before. I would love to make contact with the teacher you know in Minnesota; I'm a bit hesitant about collaborating just yet, because my experience level is pretty low. Even so, just building my PLN is great progress. Thanks again for the suggestion.
alison

twitter: aliringbull
There are a number of videos that are great starters for posts. Maybe a selection of a few good ones allowing the students to post their thoughts on their choice of one video. The follow up would be to have each student comment on posts of two of their classmates. I have used this with great results on the college level. You may need to structure it more for the age you are teaching.

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