Today was my first day blogging with the fifth graders so I had to use my favorite blogging lesson - blogging 101 (some of the fifth graders worked with me last year on this lesson but a refresher can't hurt). The group of fifth graders I am working with is a social studies class and every Friday this teacher shows Week in Rap from Flocabulary, so after talking we decided to tie Week in Rap and blogging in together. Each week the class will watch and discuss Week in Rap then the students can choose what topic they wish to blog but.....
Before we can go to the computers....
We needed to start somewhere and show the students how to blog because many of these kids have never blogged before. After watching Week in Rap video and engaging in conversations with the students about the different topics each student received a piece of paper title "Week in Rap Blog" along with post - it notes for responses. The students were given some time (about 5 - 10 minutes depending on where students where at) to WRITE their initial blog post. The classroom teacher and I walked around and made it a point to stop and talk with some of the students whose responses didn't allow for communication with other students (example: I liked the panda story). Our purpose for this lesson is to teach students that in order to keep the conversation going you need to include reasons as to why you chose the topic you did and if possible you need to tie in connections that you may have with the story. This is really hard for the students to do and being able to practice a few times on paper has really helped!
After the students finish writing their initial posts everyone passes the paper one person to the left, the students each get a post - it, read the initial post, and find a way to respond. Again the classroom teacher and I walk around and now focus on the students responses (a lot of what we see at first is "I agree"). We want the students to again understand that in order to keep the conversation going you need more than just "I agree." This process continues until each member of the group has responded on a post-it and then we come back together as a class and talk about the different problems we face with blogging and keeping the conversation going. We also talk about ways that would have made it easier for our group members to respond.
I always take the blogs home and read them over, separating the students who understand the concept from the students who might still have some trouble, the next day I pull those students into a small group and we talk about what we could do different next time. We also do a new blog with just our small group members really focusing on keeping the conversation going.
This lesson has and probably will always be my introductory lesson for blogging when working with the students because it allows us to put the "fun" of using technology aside and really focus on our purpose!
I will post pictures of the students blog as soon as I get them back from the homeroom teacher so check back soon!