A little push from my tech coach and seeing an awesome blog that a colleague created and I am totally transforming the way that I teach. I have always wanted to start a blog, but I never thought that I would have the "know how" to do it, so I started small. Six weeks later, I am a self-taught blogger and wiki user. If I can do it, anyone can. It really only takes time. Time to research and time to apply what is discovered. And now it is time to take on a new approach and leave the old traditional style of teaching behind.
That is the first step. I then began joining social networks and looking at other blogs to see how they were being used. I knew that I wanted to start an interactive blog that I could use as a learning tool in the classroom and have the boys apply what they learned along the way. In my research, I discovered a whole new world that I didn't realize existed. I found myself not being able to get enough of it all! Blogging became an electronic classroom where everything could be found in one central location.
Gadgets are awesome! On the layout of a blog, you have the option to add gadgets to your side bar. When choosing this option, it will take you to a list of choices from news, tools, communication, fun & games, technology, etc. Since I began an English blog, I went for all of the gadgets that could be used for the English classroom: Daily Spelling Tips, On-line English Grammar Links, Puzzles and Riddles, & You Tube. I also added educational links that would provide extra practice or reinforcement. Of course I have my blog roll, another great gadget that gives direct links to some blogs that I follow. The most exciting gadget is ClustrMap and Feedjit which the boys are always checking out. They learn so much about world geography as they see where our blog visitors from other countries are located on the map. Through my research, I found a gadget called Site Meter that can be hidden within a blog. It is a visitor tracker that gives all kinds of information about who is visiting your site, how they found you, where they came from, what interests them and all of the demographics on their country.
It is so exciting to see that within a month's time, our blog has had over 5,600 page reviews! Twenty-two different countries and 554 cities within the U.S have stopped by. It is a great to feel connected to the world!
Our class blog will serve many purposes and will be used (but not limited to) in the following ways:
*Using the latest technology tools for applying grammar and writing skills
*responding critically and creatively to specific on-line activities
*posting links to sites for reinforcement or practice of grammar/writing skills
*making global connections
*showcasing the great work of the students
*writing with a real purpose as the world is our audience