3heads-gear3headschatchecklistglobehead-lockhead-plusimaclife-ringlogo-cornelllogo-melbournelogo-northhamptonlogo-portsmouthlogo-small logo-vancouverlogo-yokohamamail-line mail-wings pdf pie-chartplayplugprinter skype website

Welcome to the tenth step in our free professional learning series on class and student blogging!

The aim of this step is to explain 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

Watch Slivia Rosenthal Tolisano, Andrea Hernandez and their students explain why connecting with other classes is important in the The Possibilities of student blogging.

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 2014.

Read Kathleen Morris’s Do and Don’t for forming friendships with other blogging classes.

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 starting in March and September.  It 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.

March, 2015 Challenge has over 150 Class blogs and 2000 student blogs participating from approximately 35 different countries.

Student blogging challenge

QuadBlogging

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

The idea behind quadblogging is each classroom takes a turn for a week being the focal point of the quad.  During this time the other classes engage with that class blog, participate in any activities the focus class initiates and takes time to learn about that class, their school and region.

Watch this video to learn more about QuadBlogging.

You can create your own quadblog by finding other class blogs who would like to participate in a quad.  Here as some different ways of finding class blogs to join a quad:

  1. The Edublogger Class blog list
  2. The Student Challenge Blog class blog list

Once you’ve found a class blog that has students of a similar age to your students, and similar approach to blogging, contact the teacher via Twitter, send an email or leave a comment on a post on the class blog.

Global Read Aloud

The Global Read Aloud, created by Pernille Ripp, is a yearly event that spans 6 weeks starting in October each year.

Participants sign up to read the same book aloud to their students and then use whichever technology tool they prefer to connect throughout the 6 weeks.

You can learn more about the Global Read Aloud here.

Global Read Aloud

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.

100 words

Twitter

Lots of educators use class twitter accounts in conjunction with their class blogs to connect with other classes and content experts.

Here are some tips for using Twitter with students:

  1. Set up a classroom twitter account separate from your personal twitter account.  Most teachers allow their students to log into the class twitter account during class to compose tweets but the tweets aren’t allowed to be sent until checked by the teacher or an adult.
  2. If you decide to use a hashtag make sure it isn’t being used by others.
  3. Carefully select who you follow as students will see all tweets by any account you are following.  Drew Frank’s Classroom Twitter list is a good place to find other class twitter accounts to follow.
  4. Make sure parents are aware you are using Twitter in class and check your school’s policies to find out if parent’s need to sign a permission form.  Karen Lirenman’s permission form is located here.

Watch this video to learn how Ms Cassidy’s Grade One students use Twitter in their classroom.

To learn more about using Twitter refer to The Educator’s Ultimate Twitter Guide 2014.

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.

Read more about Comment4 kids here.

To learn more about using Twitter refer to The Educator’s Ultimate Twitter Guide 2014.

comments4kids

Projects by Jen

 Projects by Jen was developed by Jennifer Wagner and provides a wide range of activities that teachers can use to connect their class with classes around the World.

Learn more about each project, their starting dates and how to register here.

Projects by Jen

Mystery Location

Mystery Location (or Mystery Skype) works by connecting classrooms using Skype or Google Hangout.  The aim is to guess the location of the other class by asking each other questions.   Mystery Location is a great way of connecting with other classes to learn more about each other.

Learn more about Mystery location here:

  1. How Mystery Skype works
  2. Skype Etiquette and Mystery Skype

Below are examples of class blogs sharing their Mystery Location sessions:

  1. Participating in #pvskype24
  2. Our Mystery Skype

International Days

One way to connect with other classes is to participate in an International Day event. International Dot Day and Blog action day are examples of two International events that classes often participate in.

International Dot Day is on September 15 and is an international celebration of creativity. courage and collaboration when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot.  You’ll find ideas for participating in International Dot Day here.

Below are examples of how class blogs connected with each other from last year’s International Dot day:

  1. Mrs Morgan’s Superstars Dot Day activities.
  2. Rutledge Library blog Dot day activities.
  3. 5/6C @ The Junction skyping for International Dot day.

Check out these ideas of dot day activities you can do with your students.

Blog Action day is where thousands of bloggers from around the world publish a post relating to the Blog Action day topic on October 16.  2014 Blog action day focuses on rising issue of inequality.  The September Student blogging Challenge participates in Blog action day and this is a good way to connect with other classes.  Here is a link from last year’s Student blogging challenge Blog action day task.

Other tips

Add a visitor tracking widget to your sidebar so your students and readers can see who is visiting the blog and add a widget to encourage visitors to leave a comment.

Below is a screenshot of the text widget in the sidebar of Super Six Sevens Class blog encouraging visitors to leave a comment.

Comment Widget

Learn more about connecting

Connected from the StartCheck out Connected from the Start: Digitial Learing in the Primary Grades by Kathy Kassidy for more ideas on the different ways to connect your class with other classes.

While Kathy’s book focus on her journey with 6 and 7 year old the concepts, tips and ideas she shares on using blogs for connecting, and for digital portfolios,  Twitter and Skype are applicable to all primary grades.

Your Task

We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about student blogging by completing the following tasks:

  1. Check our list of How to get started connecting with other classes.  Leave a comment and let us know which of these options you are going to try with your students and why!  For example, if you’ve decided to participate in the Student blogging challenge tell us why you’ve decided to participate in the challenge and what you would like to achieve by participating in the challenge.
  2. Read through the most recent comments in reply to this step and leave a response to another person’s comment.

85 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. It’s essential for student writers to have the opportunity to write for an audience or to write with a reader in mind. I liked the point that students get motivation from seeing actual people comment on their writing both for encouragement and feedback. Student blogging also gives students the chance to have a voice in solutions to problems. Empowering students is what we strive for as teachers, and connecting with other classrooms does just that. I also am excited to try the 100 Word Challenge with my future students. Limitation breed creativity, so I think this would be a unique experience for students as well as give them a chance to practice creative writing.

  2. I set up a Twitter account for the class blog and embed the @hellogonzaga TL on the home page. The class is in the initial stages of planning. As we build the site, the students will share their posts with other student leader and teacher accounts. The students can brainstorm ideas on how to promote their blog and connect with other bloggers. I have also invited a blogger to be a guest speaker at school to inspire the class.
    https://hellogonzaga.edublogs.org

  3. I’ve decided to participate in the Student Blogging Challenge. This comes at a perfect time – I am getting ready to set up the individual blogs on my site, and we are about to start a big project in which students have to create campaigns for Biology. As part of the project students have to write blogs about their specific topics and Respond to other student blogs as part of their “smear campaigns”. I will be teaching them about respectful blogging – we have already learned about and practiced respectful responding – so the Student Challenge sounds like it will fit in very nicely. Thanks for that opportunity to kick things off!

    • Enjoy the student blogging challenge! I like how you are linking curriculum and literacy. If the students commit to this project, they will learn a lot about creating valuable content and being respectful. How much time will your students spend blogging in class?

  4. This year my school is entering the non-return path of innovation, so I think this step challenges us to go deeper in the process of transforming learning in a collaborative creation. This summer, I have been learning how to use some educational platforms with my students, as Edmodo. I’ll also invite my older students, at the writing workshop, to visit some colleagues from the “Class blogs list” so that, at first, just by leaving comments, perhaps some surprising ideas may pop up about engaging in a common project for real. I also blogged about our effort to respond to the so much inspiring suggestions this challenge step offers to us. Ines P
    http://cadescrita.edublogs.org/2016/09/03/teacher-challenge-step-10/

    • Hi “inpi”

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Class Blogs.

      I had a look at your user list and see you have a mix of Student, Editor, Contributor and Participant roles. Is this correct? You can easily change the user roles as follows- http://help.edublogs.org/change-user-roles/

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support
      @Edublogs_Eugene

  5. I think that allowing students to connect with others via blogging with Twitter is a good way to keep them engaged about learning. They are already very tech savvy and they crave time using media. This allows them to use media but in a way that is still educational and beneficial for them and for the teacher as the learn more about their students and their likes and dislikes and where they need to grow in areas of educational development.

    • Hi Jessica

      Thank you, you make some good points here.

      It is also a safe environment to teach students good habits that, hopefully, they will take into their online social lives.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  6. I like the idea of Twitter to use in the classroom. Since I teach adult learners they could create a personal or learning account and would be responsible for their posts. A class account is a great idea though. The Skype or Google Hangouts idea would be good to use with the level 2 computing class, mine is the level 1).

  7. Hello,

    I have a class Twitter account waiting in the wings that I hope to make use of this school year. I think Twitter could be a quick way to share learning and expand our world view and connect with others. I like it because there are more possibilities than I can imagine right now so there is much room for students, parents and myself to grow and learn together. The 100 Day Word Challenge seems like a good way to keep writing momentum going with a class. I hope to introduce that fairly soon.

    Thanks again for all the great information!
    Ms B.
    http://msboychuk.me

    • Hi Mr B.

      Please share your twitter details here so we can follow you.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

    • Many adult learners are hesitant about using social media when they are learning computing. How did your Twitter class activity go?

    • Hello, Ms B! I’m following you on Twitter! My 5th grade kids will love to see as your class communicates and shares its discoveries. I’ learn how to open a twitter class account first, as I’m following you with my personal/ professional account. I follow a very kind astronaut that always answers to my kids salutation. He is @Astro_Mike in Twitter.
      Ines
      http://cadescrita.edublogs.org

  8. Connecting with other classes all over the world is what I really want to achieve. That will be the final step but first I have to prepare my students.
    I’m willing to try GlobalRead Aloud and 100 Word Challenge because that will give us an immediate purpose. Once my students are used to blogging with other classes I will try QuadBlooging or Projects by Jen. Thanks for the great ideas!

    • Maria João Carvalho
    • /
    • /
    • Hi Maria,

      All the opportunities you mention appeal to me most also – the 100 Word Challenge, Quad Blogging and Projects by Jen particularly. I agree with you about preparing students before we connect world wide. We started blogging very recently and are developing all skills at once. I would like to see the student commenting skills progress to a higher level as well as their cyber-safe decision making skills before we start exchanging comments with people outside our classroom and school.

      Best wishes to you and your class!
      Ms B.
      http://msboychuk.me

  9. Ideally I would love to have my class linked to another class, preferably not in Australia. The reason is the because of the unit we are studying in our STEM class and that is climate change. I would like my students to be able to discuss this issue with children of their own age but from a different country, just to see if there are different issues or different levels of understanding about climate change. Looking over the list of classes provided Im not sure if that is possible, so I may have to check out some contacts via Google+ communities.
    Next year I will definitely use the Student Blogging Challenge in March to help teach my students about blogging and help set up their own blogs. Unfortunately it’s a little late for my current cohort of students, but I may be able to find a friendly Year 7 teacher (I teach at a P-12 school) who may carry the torch for me.

    • I would love to connect my students with student bloggers in another country, as well. I’m wondering how this went with your kids – were you able to do that last year?
      -Kama Almasi

  10. Once I get the students individual blogs set up I think I’ll introduce them to the 100 word challenge. I’m thinking of working on some commenting tasks first, and a lesson on publishing posts, then I’ll give them a ‘blooming licence’ and they will have access to their student blog then.

    • maistirscoile
    • /
    • /
  11. Blogging with other classes can be a great tool for language teaching. I certainly will consider this for the next academic year. I am still trying to get better at it, so I can use it with confidence in the class. I just hadn’t had much time to dedicate to my blog., but I will revisit this tutorial.
    Thank you

  12. I set up a twitter account for my classroom and started following other classrooms. @pathscience
    I just sent out a tweet asking #comments4kids to comment on my 7th graders water issue PowToons on our classroom blog. I will be interested to see what happens.
    I read the do’s and don’ts.
    With only 3 real weeks of school left I am not going to look for classes to quad blog with but will in the fall.
    I plan to have my students do the student blog challenge in September.

    • Shane Boland Harrison
    • /
    • /
    • Hi Shane. Do the parents of your students follow the class twitter too? If they do, I would love to know how you were able (if you were) to get parents to actually follow the tweets. I used my classes twitter account when the class was away on a three day excursion and it helped to keep the parents informed about what was happening. Unfortunately, only about four families out of 30 followed the account.

  13. I would love to start off the year blogging with another class the same age kids as mine. I think
    we would each learn new and interesting ideas from each other.

    • mrsdeespencer
    • /
    • /
  14. Next year I will start a blog with my students and teach it to them. I would like to participate in a quad blog to start my class off but my ultimate goal is to blog with a class from another country.
    The more information I get on blogging and the more I add to my page the more I am intrigued.

  15. Hi Sue,

    I love the idea of connecting with other schools/students. I think it will certainly take our class blog to the next level, however, I am concerned I may not be able to do that as our blog is private? And I had a look at Projects by Jen. Really like the idea of using Wordle as a lesson starter to engage and encourage discussion. Will need to give it a go next term.

    I think the student challenge is a great opportunity to develop student skills but I think it may be too soon for my class. Possibly completing as a class would be more ideal.

  16. I love the idea of connecting with other classrooms. This is something that we will look into for next year. I think I will start with the Student Blogging Challenge and the 100 Words challenge right at the beginning of the year. By then, I will have a solid foundation in all of the blogging tools and how to get everyone rolling. Since I will have several of the students from 7th grade in my 8th grade classes, they will have a headstart so we can focus on how to make blogging and these tools more useful and collaborative!

    • Hi Mrs Koudelka

      The Student Blogging Challenge and 100 Word Challenge are great ways of helping your students connect with others. Lots of our teachers do both of these challenges together.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  17. While mine is not a class blog at the moment, I am working with another staff on the 100 word challenge next term and through this am looking forward to starting journey of global connectedness. It is one of my goals to explore this with students and the staff I support in the school with their technology journey. Small steps is good advice and again thanks for the resources.

    • cool

      • stephaniepaige
      • /
      • /
  18. At our middle school, we started small. We had students post thoughts about WWII. Each teacher had a different topic and each teacher’s blog was shared with the other teachers so students could access comments on three different blogs and comment on each others’ thoughts.

    • thats cool

      • stephaniepaige
      • /
      • /
  19. Hi all,
    I especially liked the following tip from Kathleen Morris: “Hunt for like minded educators. The teachers I have bonded most with are those who have classes around the same age group, who post at a similar frequency, who have a regular online presence and who share similar teaching philosophies and goals for blogging.” This is important for my class as they are adult language learners from diverse backgrounds. Some students have limited experience with digital tools, whereas other are hesitant to post comments on a blog as they create a “permanent” public record. I would probably start by contacting another instructor at our school who also has a class blog. Our class could form friendships with that class and once comfortable seek a blogging class at a different school within our city. Start small and see where it takes us.

    Thanks for reading,
    William

  20. As some others have said, blogging consistently (on a frequent basis) with other classes is a challenge for me because I’m a specialist teacher (Computer K-5) and I typically only see each class twice a seven day rotation for a brief class period. I have found success with blogging for specific projects such as my first grade Canada Connections project (http://kidblog.org/CanadaConnections2015/). I was able to find a willing teacher to communicate for that project via Skype in the Classroom (https://education.skype.com/). I find Skype in the Classroom to be a great resource, mostly for Skyping experiences, but also for other modes of communication.

    I have recently tried to use my Twitter account to seek feedback for my fourth graders using #comments4kids. My fourth graders each created a Weebly website to showcase their work from our digital photography unit, which I then compiled into one website that included a blog post asking for comments (http://ssafourthgradephotos2015.weebly.com/). I was hoping to get some authentic feedback for the kids, but outside of a few comments from relatives (I had also sent a message to parents asking for feedback), we did not get any responses from my attempt to use #comments4kids.

    I’m interested in possibly trying to do something with the 100 word challenge or the Projects by Jen website. I’ve also thought that perhaps I could reach out to classroom teachers to see if anyone would like to extend blogging experiences on a more frequent basis.

  21. There was a lot to read and a whole lot to learn on branching out and connecting with other classes. The best tip that I saw on Mrs. Morris’s page was to find like minded educators, keep it student centered, and not rush into making blogging buddies. For me, it is very important that I find a blogging buddy that has children somewhere in the Kindergarten to second grade range. It would also be important for me to be able to collaborate with the other educator and discuss what the focus of our blogging process should be, whether it be writing mechanics, science, math, or reading. Before I even begin to think about branching out, it would be best for me to begin the process simple and within my own classroom working out the procedures, methods, and practical application of our blog. I would need to teach my students internet safety, how to post quality comments, and I, as an educator, would need to be organized in my thoughts and how I want to use a blog specifically with my students. My favorite idea for branching out is the quad blogging and 100 word challenge. Once I have actually learned how to blog with my students, I think I would really enjoy branching out using one of these forums. The first thing I’d want to do is learn how to effectively blog with just me and the students in our class. Once I felt comfortable with that, I think I’d want to partner up with another class within my school and then take it to a more global level. This assignment has given me a lot to think about!

  22. I’ve always wanted to make my students more aware of the possibilities available to them in the global community and blogging holds that promise. After reading Kathleen Morris’s Do and Don’t for forming friendships with other blogging classes post I realize that I can’t rush headlong into that goal, though. Since I am fairly new to blogging and teaching in general, I need to pace myself and my students to make sure we understand the basics. After I become more comfortable in my knowledge, I’ll start by reaching out to my existing PLN and attempt to form blogging connections for my students with those I already have a good relationship with. I also want to make sure that these connections serve more purpose than simply to connect–I’d like us all to be working toward a common goal or coinciding goals. After I learn more about the subtlies of connecting, I’ll reach out to new connections to help us grow even more. I love that there is such potential for continual growth, but I have to remember to take my time and provide sufficient structure and support first to help my students and our connections be successful.

  23. Hi Everyone

    If anyone is looking for a blogging buddy and wants it to be a relaxed even once a week visit to their blog to reply to posts please let me know. My class and I (who are VERY new to blogging) are looking to connect with another class and see what is happening in your part of the world even if it is in Australia like us. At the moment my class is just responding to my posts but we would love an authentic audience!

    Check out our blog to see if works for you or if you are interested 🙂

    http://mrspayne143.edublogs.org

    • Thanks for the comment. I hope you find the audience you’re looking for.

      I hope you don’t mind, but you had made a small typos in your blog address, which I have corrected for you. you had put edublogs/org rather than .org

      Have fun learning to blog with your students!

  24. Blogging is a new activity for my students and I. I will need to start slow and make sure my students know what makes a good post and comment before reaching out to others. Also since I am a school librarian in 2 buildings I see more than 500 students a week in K to 5 classrooms. I need to carefully consider which group of students I want to work with to avoid being totally overwhelmed.

    I think finding a classroom to work with from Projects by Jen would be a good place to start. I have done other projects from the site that didn’t include blogging. They were interesting to the children, had a defined focus and lasted for a limited amount of time. A project like this that included blogging would give the kids an audience, a purpose for writing and would be easy for me to manage.

    When we have all improved our skills, I would like to try quadblogging. I love the idea of connecting with 3 other classes in an organized way.

    • Hi Swiseman

      It might also be worth considering using a group blog initially where all students publish posts on the group blog rather than using individual student blogs. This approach can work well if you interact with a large number of students in a week. You can check out examples of this type of approach here – http://caribbeancr.edublogs.org/ and http://blogs.neisd.net/jodiharris/

      Projects by Jen is a good option and your students could use the blog to document their project.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  25. I’ve decided to participate in the Student blogging challenge because it seemed to me an excellent opportunity to learn how to deal with students in the learning environment.
    In this way I intend to enrich professionally in order to achieve a better response to students in activities that will online creating for their learning more meaningful and so that your desire to write grows, making use of the new technologies that are so present in their lives.
    These are my expectations of this experience that has already begun and is already bearing fruit.
    Thanks for the opportunity 🙂

    • Sónia Abrantes
    • /
    • /
    • Hi Sonia

      The Student Blogging Challenge is a great way to be guided through the process of blogging with your students while connecting with classes in other countries. Are you participating as a class or as student bloggers? Or are you participating as a student blogging mentor?

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

      • Hi Sue,
        I agree wuth you.
        I’m participating as a student blogging mentor.
        Sónia Abrantes

        • Sónia Abrantes
        • /
        • /
  26. Although still far from doing because the stage where my students are, I intend to create friendships with other classes followed the following process:
    1 – meet with students to choose which themes will work before any contact
    2 – set with them our goals, what stage we are and how we want to go
    3 – search for classes with the same or similar objectives and contact them
    4 – clarify the parents about the purpose of this contact and capital gains that is
    5 – encourage parents to help their children in this search online sites

    • Sónia Abrantes
    • /
    • /
  27. Hello!
    The tips left in ” Kathleen Morris ‘s Do and Do not for forming friendships with other blogging classes” are quite clear and enlightening. Thank you!
    I would like to share with you an online site of international gathering of educational projects in schools where students are the main actors: http://www.etwinning.net/en/pub/index.htm.
    Here we find classes with the same interests and easily initiate meaningful friendships based on communication and online sharing , possible thanks to blogs and other platforms.

    • Sónia Abrantes
    • /
    • /
  28. I am having my students participate in the student blogging challenge. We missed the registration, but they are completing the activities. We are new to blogging, but my class loves it! I want them to gain familiarity with new technology and eventually be able to communicate with other students around the world. I have signed up for quad blogging and the comments 4 kids website, but haven’t heard anything back yet. I have also filled out the form to have our class blog added to the list above.

    Today my students made their own blog, connected it to our class blog and made an “About Me” page. We looked at the examples in the student challenge week #1 activity. They had a lot of fun. Tomorrow we will be making their avatars.

    Thanks,
    Noelle
    5th grade
    http://nmccammond.edublogs.org/

  29. My head is swimming with all of the ideas I read about in the post on connecting with other classes. Being an over achiever and one eager to try new things, I have to temper my enthusiasm and follow the advice of Ms. Morris – start small. Right now, I am responsible for the content of the blog as I teach my students how to be courteous and responsible comment writers. I realize that with my second grade students, this requires scaffolding instruction and providing them with lots of practice using paper blogs. They also need time to develop appropriate technology skills including keyboarding, safe internet practices, and effective online research. Ms. Morris further reinforces this “start small” concept when she states the importance on not racing to find blogging buddies before the students have established their class blog which requires time to develop a variety of skills.

    Some of the ideas that interest me are Quad Blogging and the 100 Word Challenge. The Quad Blogging program reminds me of a similar idea my class participated in over 10 years ago with ePALS. It was like pen pals but with email. Each month the ePALS in a cluster around the United States would be given a topic to which they would respond sending their comments through email to the other ePALS. Quad Blogging seems to be similar but with a more interactive aspect. I can see starting very small and try blogging with one other class at my school, before expanding our blogging buddies.

    The other idea that I would like to adapt is the 100 Word Challenge. I can envision “starting small” and try this idea within my class and limit the words to 20-30. As the students became better able to engage in discourse and writing comments, I could expand to more words and include other classes. Using a passage, series of words, or an image would serve as the prompt for creating the writing and would really motivate my students to write in a non-threatening forum.

    • Sandra Holley
    • /
    • /
  30. I think Mrs. Morris had some excellent tips–I will definitely be signing up on the list of class blogs–though I am going to stick with the suggestion to not rush in and get my students comfortable with blogging first. We have blogged before using another site but now that I am reteaching everything it will take some time. Particularly since I have students only once every six days. I do have an advantage since I have multiple classes and grades because students can communicate with others they aren’t usually in class with anyway.

  31. Since I am not a classroom teacher and do not have students, it would be hard to connect with other classes through a blog. I did read Kathleen Morris’s Do and Don’t for forming friendships with other blogging classes. I also visited Sue Waters’s compilation of class blogs. This is a great place to go to find people to share with, but also to get ideas on activities to do with your own class. I know when I started this course I did not know where to begin. Looking at other teacher’s blogs really helped spark some ideas on how this could be used in our classrooms.
    I think it would be easiest and most comfortable for our teachers to connect with other classes within our district first. This way students are working on the same content and teachers are under the same restrictions. After they are comfortable then branch out to other states and countries.

  32. Connecting with classes, especially on a rotating basis, is a great concept that I expect ESL learners will love to explore. I’m also anxious to create a class twitter account.
    Just thinking out load, but perhaps the whole concept of a “Passport” (for visiting class blogs around the world) would be a fun way to incorporate the whole blogging experience for students ….
    http://nancyvculture.edublogs.org

  33. Since I am not a classroom teacher it is hard for me to connect with other classrooms. Our page is really school based. I will however encourage other teachers to create and share blogs. As a school, we have a few teachers that use blogs on their teacher sites. They have used them for exit tickets or independent practice. http://www.tangischools.org/Page/22917 and http://www.tangischools.org/Page/22956 In addition, our principal has a blog on her page that has been used for professional development. http://www.tangischools.org/Page/22901 We can share these sites with other schools in the parish in order to generate interaction amongst our parish.

  34. I love the concept;t of the twitter account but want to hold off until I get the blog off the ground. The initial start up might come up with many questions. I would love to eventually connect to another school library. Since I am the Technology Integration Coordinator for my school, I am going to recommend to my classroom teachers to think about the Quadblogging. There are endless possiblilites of activities and projects that will come out of it.

  35. Since I am not a classroom teacher, it is hard for me to connect with other classes through a blog. I teach a class on blogging and help teachers get their own classroom blogs up and running. I recently worked with a French teacher that wanted to connect with a class in France that was learning English. Here is a link to that blog, which has comments from both the French class in Louisiana and the English class in France.
    http://www.tangischools.org/Page/22736

    I am familiar with Kathleen Morris’ work and have used her videos in my blogging class to inspire teachers that are skeptical about blogging with their students. She has an excellent website that is full of great resources and suggestions for setting up a class blog. The video Do and Don’t of Forming Friendships is a great resources for those wanting to connect with other classes globally or otherwise. I love the tip to search for like minded educators because in order for the blogging to be successful, both educators must be totally on board. If one is skeptical, the blog will not be as successful or as interesting for students.

  36. I agree with KBeal about the need to hasten slowly. I am also taking my time to connect with my students and our parent audience. I love the idea of quad blogging. It is a great idea to see what other bloggers are doing in a stress free way. Like KatieThiedman said sometimes it’s hard to dedicate the time in a busy classroom.

    • Hi Jenny

      Slow and steady is the best approach. Quad bloggign is a good option. Another approach is to check out the class blog list on the Student Challenge blog. You can easily spot the classes that are actively connecting with other classes and those types of classes are always happy to connect any time (i.e. doesn’t need to be during the student challenge). When you are ready you just leave a comment on their blog to see if they are interested.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  37. I have added my blog to Sue Water’s list of class blogs, but am unsure if I want to connect with other classes at this stage. I don’t think my blog is developed enough for that. I have a personal twitter account, but as I don’t have a specific class (I am teacher/ librarian) so don’t know if a twitter account for the children is worth it in my situation. I have a class of children who would like to set up their own blogs (attached to mine) but I’m not sure how to do it – is that the student challenge?
    My blog is at http://www.library1884.edublogs.org

  38. In an attempt to connect with other classes I am going to go on the hunt for other HS Photography Blogs. I would eventually love to try a month of Quad Blogging. But first I am going to build my students’ skills and blogging knowledge. I hope to get parents involved by putting an article in our school newsletter with a link to our class blog and blogging guidelines.

    Our class is also signed up for the Student Blogging Challenge which we will be starting soon. I hope that the students will get as much out of it as I have gotten out of the Teacher Challenge. I believe in the idea that students need an authentic audience for their blogging to be as meaningful as possible. I think it can be eye opening for them to share ideas with classes from around the world and a very worthwhile experience in art making and writing.

    Amy Capalbo

  39. I adopted Twitter last year for usage in the classroom with my grade 3`s. We connected with classrooms from around the world (e.g., Venezuela, United States, Australia, and other provinces in Canada). We had the chance to learn from many different people during that year. One example was when we posted a book we`d been reading entitled `Three Ninja Pigs` and its comparisons to the original story. The author re-tweeted us as well as made comments about what they had written. As a class we asked her questions about being an author which she responded to. The kids were amazed by the process that she went through to write the story. This is just one example of the types of ways we were able to connect last year. I hope to continue doing that this year with my grade 1`s. We have already connected with 5 other grade one classes to answer different questions about our schools and school life, qualities of a good person etc. One class leads the discussion for the week.

    I have also signed up for `Projects By Jen` during the summer. I`ve been paired up with a teacher in the states and we are due to begin connecting at the beginning of October.

    • That’s quite amazing how classrooms can connect to professionals in ways that were much less accessible before. What a great authentic opportunity your students had to both connect globally and with an author!

      Dan Leeman, Edublogs Support

  40. I thought about the student blogging challenge, but have decided to take a bit of sound advice from your dos and don’t list. I plan to intro blogging to my students this week. We will start out slow and get comfortable with blog basics,quality posts,positive commenting skills and internet safety awareness. I will take a few weeks evaluating their skill development, then we will start connecting with quadblogging. I like the limited exposure of this model with flexibility to expand at your own pace. We may also do the 100 word challenge, if we have time. I will switch it up and start again in January with 2nd semester and a whole new bunch of students. Perhaps, if I’m feeling a bit more confident, we may tackle the student blogging challenge in March. Thanks for sharing such awesome resources and great connections.
    Mrs C

    • Kae Cunningham
    • /
    • /
    • Hi Mrs C

      Great approach. Work at your own pace! II would also suggest subscribing to the Student Challenge blog ( http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org ) as you may see ideas in the weekly tasks that you can adapt for your class.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

      • I love this idea. The challenge is outlining exactly what I want to do with my class. How would I subscribe to the student challenge? The link above lead me to first posts, registration,etc. But I didn’t see an option to just follow along. Suggest ions?
        Mrs. C

        • Kae Cunningham
        • /
        • /
        • G’day Kae,
          To subscribe to the student blogging challenge, fill in the email subscription on top right of the challenge blog sidebar. That way you will get a copy of each post as it is published.

          If your students want to connect with other students, then check out the list of student participants above the flags. If you want to connect with other classes, check out the classes participating in the link above the flags.

          If you join the challenge, you don’t have to do all the activities, pick and choose. Make sure if you do an activity, come back and leave a comment on that challenge post so I can visit your blog.

          Sue Wyatt
          Mentor: Teacher challenge
          Founder: Student blogging challenge http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org

  41. I was really excited to do the student blogging challenge, but we are still on strike here in BC, so I haven’t even met my classes yet. However, hopefully, we can settle soon and my classes could catch up. If not, there’s still March!

    I really hope to use the blogs as a showcase of the students’ learning this year, so connecting to other classes to share that will be key!

    • Petra Willemse
    • /
    • /
    • Hi Petra

      Sorry to hear that you are still on strike in BC. Hopefully it will be resolved soon. Have you considered being a student blogging mentor? A mentor is a good way to learn more about the student blogging challenge and it will give you ideas of how to use the Challenge next year with students. You can read more about being a mentor here – http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2014/08/17/mentors-wanted/

      Blogs are a great way to showcase student learning!

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  42. I will do the student blogging challenge when it comes around again. ( March) Also I belong to a fabulous, global collaboration group called Hello Little World Skypers. Whenever we do things with our students we post notifications on Skype and a whole world opens up 🙂 When I post my blog link I know I will have many people from various countries comment and have their students communicate with mine 🙂

    • HI Bernice

      Have you thought about being a Student Blogging Challenge mentor? A mentor is a good way to learn more about the student blogging challenge and it will give you ideas of how to use the Challenge next year with students. You can read more about being a mentor here – http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2014/08/17/mentors-wanted/

      Thanks for sharing how you use Hello Little World Skypers. I hadn’t thought of including Mystery Locations (Mystery Skype and Google Hangouts) to the list of ideas!

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  43. I would like to try the Student Blogging Challenge, creating a Twitter account, and the 100 Word Challenge. I think the students would be engaged and interested in these activities

    • Dallas Montpetit
    • /
    • /
    • Hi Dallas

      Quite a few class blogs use that combination. They participate in the Student blogging challenge in March or September and the 100 Word Challenge when they aren’t involved with the Student blogging Challenge. They use Twitter to share links to their posts from the Challenges and to connect with other classes.

      This information will help you get started with Twitter – http://www.theedublogger.com/2012/02/13/the-updated-twitteraholics-guide-to-tweets-hashtags-and-all-things-twitter/

      Feel free to tweet me @suewaters if you need help.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  44. I have visited a couple of the art blogs listed on the blog guide and also registered my blog for inclusion on the list. I am hoping that by leaving a comment for other art blogs they may then in turn come and have a look at ours. I like the idea of the quadshare but not sure if my art blog would work with that as we can’t always dedicate the same students to working on the blog every week. its a reflection for art learning currently. i like the idea of some of the international events so hopefully will look into them further. i’m not sure on twitter though i will have to check out the educators on there as i had always thought it was a celebrity social media and not much for schools.

    • Hi Leah

      Try connecting with @jstevensoneom (Jody Stevenson) from Tiger Attractions ( http://munciemedia.edublogs.org/ ). They’ve been doing some interesting work this week as part of International Dot Day ( http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/get-started )

      Twitter is very powerful for educators and for schools. Most educators who use Twitter effectively say they learn more from twitter than any other form of professional learning. The impact of Twitter isn’t something you can easily explain to others and it is something you have to try. You can learn more about using Twitter here – http://www.theedublogger.com/2012/02/13/the-updated-twitteraholics-guide-to-tweets-hashtags-and-all-things-twitter/

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

      • Hello Sue,

        Is it still possible to participate in a Student Challenge? I have a class consisting of thirty students. I thought that each of them would create his own blog. I have never done it before but would love to give it a go this year.

        Have a great day

        Regards,Barbara

        • I signed up to the student blogging challenge but haven’t heard back yet. Am I too late?

          • maistirscoile
          • /
          • /
          • Hi maistirscoile

            I’m not sure if Sue Wyatt emails teachers to let them know they’ve been added to the challenge. The best option is to check the Class list here – http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/october-2015-classes/ to see if your blog has been added and make sure you are signed up for the email notification of new posts from the Challenge blog.

            I would also add a comment on the Challenge blog if you have any questions and Sue Wyatt will answer them.

            Sue Waters
            Support Manager
            Edublogs | CampusPress

            • Sue Waters
            • /
            • /
  45. I plan on forming friendships with other classes slowly, as this is the advice from Kathleen Morris. I want my students and self to connect successfully, thus taking our time is key. I want also to try to connect with school globally, not just one in our own country. I feel that this will allow the students more perspective on what life is like out of our small, rural town. Lastly, I plan on connecting with another classroom to either discuss a shared novel or for writing purposes (i.e., editing pieces or developing stories together).

    • Hi KBeal

      Slow and steady is a good approach. Jan Smith’s advice is research the other class to see if they have a shared vision of what is blogging and what it can be when engaging in projects with other classes.

      Another option is to connect with content experts using Skype or Google Hangout. Here is an example of a school that uses skype to connect – http://jasmineshannon.edublogs.org/2014/06/10/skype-with-north-and-south-pole-explorer-mark-wood/

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  46. I like the idea of Quad Blogging as it enables students to focus on one blog at a time and students are given dedicated time just to focus on that one classes blog, rather than being overwhelmed by many other blogs at once. Given the pace of today’s teaching life, it is hard to fit everything in sometimes so at least this way we are exposing children to blogging in a safe and structured way and we are not becoming too blog overloaded.

    • katiethiedeman
    • /
    • /
    • Hi Katie

      Quad blogging is a good idea. Many of the class blogs in the Student blogging challenge use a similar approach and select a few classes in their age group to connect with.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  47. This I need to develop with my students. In our present condition of online learning our students need time to familiarize with this.
    Thanks for nice and effective guidelines.

    • Mohammed Khurshed Alam
    • /
    • /
  48. I added my class blog to the class blog list and I am hoping to make some connections with another 5th grade class in the near future! If any other grade levels want to make connections with my class blog, they are free to do so! This will be my first year trying to connect with another class!

    • Hi Brandon

      Thanks for letting me know you’ve added your blog to the class blog list. I’ll update the list so that your blog appears.

      It is worth having a look at the Student Blogging Challenge Class blog list – http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/sept-2014-classes/ They are sorted in order by Grade and as they work through the Student Challenge you will spot that ones that are trying to connect with other classes.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  49. Twitter is a must for me in order to connect with my students, other teachers, other classes. I’m hooked to Twitter, I must confess, and I try to promote the use of Twitter inside and outside the classroom as much as I can.
    I have found Do Now is a very good way to connect learners worldwide. Last spring my class took part in the spring Do Now workgroup for Art and Popular culture, and they loved it so much they couldn’t really wait for a fortnight to rise up to their Do Now challenge.
    For several days they tweeted, retweeted and replied to other peers’ tweets worldwide about a common topic, using the DoNow hashtag and our own #DoNow_urjc hashtag too so we could all stay tuned and be up to date with one another’s microblogging contributions. At the end of every DoNow challenge, we had community managers in class in charge of rounding the DoNow up with the best tweets in a Storify and we embedded it all in our class blog. You can see all our contributions at http://stopandlearnenglish.blogspot.com.es/search/label/%23DoNow_urjc

    It was very good practice for their reading, writing skills in English as well as for a connected use of social media in class.

    • María Jesús García San Martín
    • /
    • /
    • Hi Maria

      I’m the same! I’m a twitter-a-holic. I was lost yesterday without it. The Tweetdeck desktop app is playing up and I had issues switching over to the web based version (log in issues).

      Thanks for sharing how you use the DoNow hashtag with students.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

      • Yes, Tweetdeck was playing up around here, too. Sue.
        Thanks for your lovely comments.
        Best regards

        • María Jesús García San Martín
        • /
        • /