Helpful Tips for Setting up a Classroom Blog

I’m sure there are many ways to set up a classroom blog for art students. For clarity of thought, to share with others, and to enter the Edublogger’s Birthday Celebration Competition, I thought I’d write and offer some advice for setting up a classroom blog. Although student use of the site hasn’t started, I’m surprised at the amount of preparation that’s already been done. I feel like I’ve been building the blog for awhile now, one block at a time…

Here are some helpful tips to set up a classroom blog. It’s my classroom blog ‘to-do’ list so far:

1. Read Will Richardson‘s book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.  It’s an excellent resource and a great place to start.

2. Start blogging – part one. Find and read some blogs you enjoy or feel you can learn from. Subscribe to the blogs you want to read all the time. Gather up the courage to leave a comment. I found that once I started commenting last summer (was that only last summer?!), the dialogue with other educators started and I was hooked!

3. Start blogging – part two. Create your own blog. It’s the only way to figure everything out on your own without the added pressure of having students using the blog while you learn how to use it too. That’s the real reason for this blog, I wanted to test drive Edublogs before committing to the space with/for my students.

4. Find good examples of classroom blogs. I’ve learned a great deal from reading Remote Access, Huzzah, Technology in our classroom, Tidertechie, and Teaching English using web 2.0. The nominated and winning blogs from the Edublog Awards is a great place to locate examples of excellence in blogging.

5. Decide on a purpose. Why are you creating the blog? What do you want your students to learn using the blog? How are you transforming the learning in the room with technology? A clear, concise purpose is very important to help get you started and keep you on track. Because my purpose is connected to critiquing, I’ve taught lessons on critiquing to the students so they are familiar with the process.

6. Create the blog. The easiest step! I checked out Blogger and Edublogs. I signed up for my first blog on Edublogs in less than five minutes. This was, of course, after agonizing over a name for a couple of weeks!

That’s where I’m at as of today. My next steps include:

  • collecting student email addresses to ease with set up
  • playing with design (adding pages for the sketchbook assignment, changing the banner photo, etc.)
  • sending a letter home to parents telling about the blog
  • booking lab time to show students some examples, introduce the project and create their own blogs
  • finding extra support for the 1-2 students that will need one-on-one assistance to be successful

Imagery – Colourful bricks by ntr23 on

Edublog Awards

Ouch!! by /kallu on

Although it is a busy time of year, I found time to post! I am guilty, I admit, of placing sugar cookies and gingerbread ahead of posting on my priority list this past week!

If you haven’t already, you really should check out the edublogs nominated for the annual Edublog Awards. Education blogs, or edublogs, are written for many reasons, as shown by the various nomination categories. Anyone can vote (do it before December 21) and the winners are revealed just before Christmas – an early gift for those who celebrate Christmas!

The edublogs nominated are impressive. The educators responsible are doing amazing and inspirational work. I’ve been following some for awhile now, such as Will Richardson’s Weblogg-ed and Clarence Fisher’s Remote Access. More recent favourites include Jan Smith’s Huzzah!, Miss Wyatt’s Technology in our Classroom and Sue Water’s Mobile Technology in TAFE. Congratulations to you all!

There is so much to learn from these people. While some edublogs offer great examples of how to use blogging to enhance students’ learning, others are set up for the sole purpose of resource sharing (you have to check out Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day – too good not to know about!).

Hopefully you’ll find the time to learn something new from these extraordinary educators! And some time for sugar cookies and gingerbread too, of course…