I’ve been working on this post for a month with a teacher at my school. Together we’ve started a blog for his 5th grade class (click here). The idea is to engage the students on the computer in a way that gets them interested in their work, while teaching them how to communicate. We also want to get the parents involved with their children together outside the classroom in an environment that the kids feel comfortable. The blog has been up for two days and in that time the students have already started asking questions about assignments with over 25 comments.
The blog consists of the main entrance page that contains the Upcoming Events post, pages that contain weekly class Lesson Plans in Math & Science, a Homework page and an Online Resource page.
- The Upcoming Events post is static, sort of; Keith will change it depending on events as they change each month. We decided that instead of making new posts, then having the posts scroll down as in a typical blog, that Keith would just write the upcoming events in the text editor and save the update. He will also change the time stamp to reflect the new age of the post.
- The weekly Lesson Plans are short basic overviews on what the students are doing that week, if there is a test and what is expected. It is not a detailed lesson plan, but something that gives a parent an idea about what their child is working on.
- The Homework page gives the students a homework assignment due later in the week. The student can ask questions by using the comments section of the page. The comments are moderated by Keith so that nothing inappropriate gets on the blog.
- The Online Resources page will change, be added to as time goes on and Keith finds sites that he wants his students and Parents to visit.
The Blogroll has basic links to our school page, the county school page and eharcourtschools, which is one of our main math sites. As I mentioned above, the Pages have comments allowed so that the parents and students can communicate with Keith after hours when Keith is online at home. It is also a help to the parents that cannot contact Keith during the school day. They leave a comment and Keith can email them a personal reply or leave a comment of his own if appropriate.
I personally believe a blog is an easy method of communicating your class goals than maintaining a web site. The quickness of editing a post or page is much faster than using FrontPage, DreamWeaver or another HTML program. The manipulation of the pages is easier and you can add video, pictures and other multimedia much easier. Lastly, you can communicate in faster and better with your students and their parents.
Check out Keith’s blog: Mr. Thompson’s 5th Grade Class