Edublogs Teacher Challenges

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Activity 9: Connecting with other classes

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Welcome to our free professional development series on class and student blogging!

This post is all about the value of connecting with other classes and  the types of projects educators use to develop global connections through blogging.

Why connect with other classes?

Connecting with other classes can have a huge impact on your class blog because:

  1. Your students benefit from having an authentic and global audience
  2. You gain from being supported by other educators — increasing your skills and developing new ideas that benefit your students

An authentic and global audience is important because:

  • When students are writing or publishing for an audience other the teacher, it impacts how they view what they doing and the intrinsic motivation they have.
  • Students love seeing their work on the Internet and adore getting comments from people. It motivates them to write as it gives them an audience that is real.  The blog opens up a whole new world of people who can offer encouragement and feedback.
  •  Blogging provides an authentic educational experience, where what they write is not only seen and commented on by their teacher, but by their peers and the “public.” For most students, it’s a bit of extra motivation knowing their peers will see their work.
  • There is an authentic audience – a global audience – one that is willing to connect, share, challenge, discuss and communicate with classes. This audience can provide further information, opinions, suggest resources, seek answers to questions and so on which pushes blogging further.
  • Provides real world problems and solutions to share.

Summarized from The State of Educational blogging in 2012.

Read how Kathleen Morris and Linda Yollis’s classes moved from isolated to integrated, irregular to frequent, and from the superficial to rich global collaboration through blogging.

How to get started?

There’s a wide range of options for connecting your class blogs (or student blogs) with other classes including:

Student Blogging Challenge

The Student Blogging Challenge runs twice yearly and is made up of a series of 10 weekly tasks all designed to improve blogging and commenting skills while connecting students with a global audience and being supported by a team of blogging mentors.

The Challenge is open to both class blogs and to individual student bloggers from all over the world and of all ages.  Participants can complete as many of the tasks as they like and in any order.

The next Student blogging challenge starts on 9 Sept.

You can register for the September 2012 Challenge using the following links:

  1. Register your class blog - for teachers to register their class blog
  2. Register your student blog – for students to register their personal student blog (optional)
  3. Register as a mentor – if you are an educator who would like to mentor a group of students.  Excellent for learning more about the blogging while supporting student bloggers.

QuadBlogging

QuadBlogging involves connecting your class to a Quad group of four schools/classes.

Each Quad team has a coordinator who is responsible for making sure each of the quad members know what is going on and when.  The Quad team rotates so that each week a different class blog is the focus of the task with the other three blogs visiting and commenting on that class blog during that week.

The next round of QuadBlogging is from Sept to December.

You can learn more and register here for QuadBlogging.

100 Word Challenge

The 100 Word Challenge is a weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16 years of age.

Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words and the children can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece. This is posted on a class blog and then linked to the 100 Word Challenge blog. The link is usually open from midnight on Wednesdays until midnight the following Tuesdays.

You can read more about the 100 Word Challenge here and sign up here.

Comments4kids

Comments4kids is a hashtag used by educators to tweet student posts that deserves to be commented on such as a post that is awesome or student that needs encouragement (learn more about Comment4 kids here).

Refer to The Twitteraholic’s Ultimate Guide to tweets, hashtags, and all things Twitter to learn how you can use Twitter to connect with other classes.

What now?

How did you go?   Check out Kathleen Morris’s Connecting with Other Classes through blogging for more tips.

Feel free to leave any questions you are having or share your own tips and advice!

Or go to Activity 10: Setting up your student blogs!

3 comments for “Activity 9: Connecting with other classes

  1. Mrs Wijdan
    March 20, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Dear Mrs. Schmidt :
    I am Mrs Hamad , I am an English teacher in a well known international private school in Saudi Arabia . I am looking forward to have such an experience ( Connected classes ) . I really wish if you can help me to go through this experience because i face alot of obstacles .
    Looking forward to receiving your reply ,
    Mrs Hamad

  2. Mrs. Schmidt
    September 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Thanks for another great blogging post! My advice to gain connections through blogging is to reach out to other teachers. Last year my 3rd grade students took part in the Student Blogging Challenge. Many of my students had a mentor named Julia who was leaving wonderful comments for the children. I looked Julia up on the mentor list and left her a comment thanking her. It lead to a connection between our classes and a Skype. Over the summer, Sue Wyatt sent out a #comments4kids link to Mr. Weir’s blog. I got into a discussion with his students through commenting and invited them to Quad Blog with us and Julia’s class this year. Because I reached out to these classes, my students in the USA will now be connected with Australia and England. Making these connections is a rewarding experience for the students and teachers!

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