Class Blog Activity 4 – Getting your posts and commenting started

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Welcome to the fourth post in the Class Blog series of free and open professional development for educators.

Perhaps the hardest part in setting up a class blog is getting the posts started!

In this challenge, you will:

  • Be introduced to blog posts
  • Consider who writes the class blog posts?
  • Publish your first blog posts
  • Learn how to teach students to write quality comment

Introduction to posts

Your posts are where you’ll publish your main content such as what’s been happening in class. assignment information, documents, and more.  They are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order with the most recent post at the top of the page.

If you look closely at a post you will see it is normally made up of:

  1. Post Title – tells the reader what the post is about.  A great post title grabs readers attention and is more likely to encourage them to read your post.
  2. Date published – all post display the date a post was published.  You’ll normally see this displayed at the top of the post.
  3. Categories and tags - are used to help readers locate information in different ways.
  4. Your post content – this is the main information that you want to share or reflect on with your readers
  5. A link to comments - This is where your readers can click to write a comment in response to your post.  Comments allow students, and other readers, to engage in discussions, share their thoughts and connect with your class blog.

Who writes the posts?

You’ll also need to consider how you want to involve the students.  Do you want them just responding to comments on your posts. publishing their own posts on the class blog or publishing posts on their own blogs?

The best approach, regardless of their age, is to introduce blogging slowly in the following three steps:

Step 1 Write comments in response to your posts on class blogs

Step 2Students write posts on the class blog

Step 3Students write posts on their own student blog

Publishing your first posts

So it’s time to get you started!

When you first create a new blog, a ‘Hello World’ post is already created.

To edit it you go to Posts > All Post and then click on the Edit link that appears when you put your mouse over the ‘Hello World’ post.

Video

 Watch the video below to learn about Editing Posts

Here are some example of first posts, or posts for the new school year. you should check out for some ideas:

  1. Welcome to our Blog on 34′L Online Learning Space
  2. We’re up and running! on 5A3 Dragon’s Lair
  3. Welcome to the 2KM and 2KJ blog! on 2KM and 2KJ @ Leopold Primary School
  4. Welcome back 2011 on  Mrs Yollis Classroom blog 
  5. Happy New (School) Year on 110GS Grde 7/8 Virtual Classroom
  6. Weigh Anchor, off we go! oX) on Mr Miller’s Classroom blog
  7. Miss H’s Class questions about blogging – 2011 on Miss Hutchinson’s class – Room 3.14
  8. Digital citizenship ad Internet Safety on Mrs Martinez’s Class blog
  9. Blog first steps on Mrs Goucher’s Class blog 
  10. Welcome to our class blog on Mrs Hamman’s Class blog

To write your next post you just go to Posts > Add New.

Check out the class blogs in the Student Blogging Challenge for ideas of what they post about!

Video

 Watch the video below to learn about Writing New Posts


Here’s where you’ll find more information on:

Teaching students how to write quality comments

Comments are an important part of your class blog.  Comments allow students, and other readers, to engage in discussions, share their thoughts and connect with your class blog.

Students really do need explicit instructions and guidelines, with constant reinforcement, to get the most out of writing comments.   Without it you’ll find their comments very limited.

So how do you get them started?

  1. First read Teaching quality commenting.
  2. Next read “Learning  how to comment

Now create your own post or activity aimed at getting your students to develop their commenting skills.

Video

 Watch the video below to learn about Managing comments


Here’s where you’ll find more information on:

 Next steps…

Leave a comment with a link to your blog or with any questions you may have!

And we’d love to hear your tips about writing your first posts on class blogs and teaching students how to write quality comments!

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14 thoughts on “Class Blog Activity 4 – Getting your posts and commenting started

  1. What a fantastic post! I’m going to have to send this on to a couple of colleagues of mine.

    I started a classroom blog with my prep class (5-6year olds) about 3 months ago – as part of project we were running – and it’s been a fantastic experience for my students. The Prep G-5 blog has started slowly, but now that they understand what it’s about – and even better, that they can see it at home – we’re able to get a lot more out of it, replying to comments that my students and their parents have written at home in response to our posts, and even being able to see some of the work they do at home in response to classroom activities. We’ve even been able to recruit their Grade 5/6 Buddies to visit the blog and leave messages that we are able to write replies to as a class group.

    • Hi Stephanie, hope my post helps your colleagues!

      Your class blog is coming along really well. The best approach really is to take it slowly, regardless of the age of students, as it does take time to everyone to get use to it.

  2. I learned a lot about the importance of commenting from this blog activity. I also identified myself as a lurker. I very seldom leave a comment usually because I don’t take the time. I am one who always seems to be catching up on reading the blogs I have subscribed to. I also think I sometimes feel intimidated by the “experts”.

    A question I have is do most school districts require students to have parental permission to participate in their class blogs??

    • Hi Anne, thanks for reminding me of that aspects.

      More people struggle with writing comments on other bloggers posts than they do with writing their own post. I think it is related to the fact that on your own blog you have control of what is published and you can remove anything if you change your mind.

      Good question about School District requirements. It really does vary and unfortunately it isn’t consistent. It’s always best to discuss with your administrators to check.

      A lot of teachers will ask for parental permission because they also use it as a way to let the parents know about what they are doing and why. The other approach is having a parent information night so you can go over it.

  3. Dear Sue,

    Thanks so much for including my “Welcome Back” and “Learning How to Comment” link in your post! I’m glad that I can help other teachers get started with educational blogging. Having a classroom blog is so meaningful on so many different levels! :-)

    As usual, you’ve offered good advice…take it slow! Focus on certain aspects of the blog and then move on. Like you, I love to begin with the explicit teaching of how to write a comment. I’ve found that the comment section is where the blog really begins to come to life. First, we learn how to comment on our own blog. Then we start leaving comments on other class blogs.

    I recommend finding a few blogs to connect with, otherwise it can get confusing. Quad-blogging is a new way to form bonds with other classes. Four classes form an alliance and formally connect through posts and comments. Here’s some information:
    Quad Blogging Information by Kathleen Morris.

    I also like that you are encouraging teachers to leave comments. I always say, you have to give, to get. Even though it can make a person uncomfortable to jump in, it is important to remember that everyone appreciates comments. :-)

    Thanks for all you do to support bloggers, Sue!

    :-)
    Linda Yollis
    California

  4. Hi, HS French/Spanish teacher, here. I appreciate this challenge so much, so thank you for sharing in such a step by step manner!
    One question I have before I have my students comment on my opening post regards THEIR email address. Do you just let them input their existing email address or do you set up new email addresses for them? I could have sworn I read (here? elsewhere? can’t remember…) that a great idea is to set up a g mail address (like phs-johnnie at gmail dot com…and phs-judy at gmail dot com, etc…? so they can register with a uniform address?
    How did you veteran blogging teachers handle email addresses? Their own or taecher created? Thank you for your expertise & encouragement!

    • Michele,
      I am very lucky in that our students have their own school email addresses and they use them. But I would suggest you use the method with gmail such as suew+john at gmail dot com then suew+jill at gmail dot com. All emails will come to you as well as you are the owner of the suew at gmail dot com account.

  5. Dear Sue,

    I wanted to thank you for including Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety on Mrs. Martinez’s Class blog. When I first wrote that post, I had only been blogging for four months, and that was my first time blogging with a class.

    With all the help and support from the Edublogs Teacher Challenges, I knew how to get started. It was also there that I became aware of classrooms that were blogging.

    I remember staying up late on a Tuesday to listen to Linda Yollis on a webinar about commenting and parent participation. I learned so much!

    The impact blogging had on the learners was amazing. Here we are six months later, and now several more classrooms are blogging in our district. I thank you for including Blog First Steps on Mrs Goucher’s Class blog in your post. Even though this is her first blogging experience, she is taking off with it. Her students love the authentic audience for all the fabulous learning they are doing.

    Thank you for all you do. I see the direct impact of what you do in about 900 of our AJUSD students and oodles of educators (and that’s only from the past 6 months). So to just say thank you does not seem to capture the sentiment of gratitude I’m trying to express.

    Kind regards,
    Tracy

    • Hi Tracey

      Absolutely no problem and was happy to include your post as an example!

      It’s great to hear every thing is happening so well in your District.

      Thanks for the lovely feedback and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the support of community and everyone who helps us.

  6. Dear Sue,

    Thank you for featuring my first blog post! I’ve learned so much from participating in the Teacher Challenge over the past few weeks.

    My class has been following the advice to start slowly. Every week we brainstorm about what to blog about and the students tell me what they want the post to include. I draft the post, then I show it to the students using the projector and get their input before I publish it. I feel like it gives them more ownership of the post if they read it and give it their “stamp of approval” before it is published. Soon I will have students start writing their own posts on the blog.

    Thank you for the detailed instructions and examples you provide in all your posts. I look forward to completing the Teacher Challenge!

    Sincerely,

    Shauna Hamman

    • Hi Shauna

      I decided to take a different approach with this post and so it really helped including examples of Welcome posts. Too often the hardest step is working out what to start off with.

      Hopefully others gain from seeing the approaches each of you have used!

      And great work with the approach you are taking. It really does make such a difference. I love how you are displaying it and getting them to give their stamp of approval!

      We’re interested to know. What other topics would you like us to include that would help with setting up a class blog?

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