Over the summer I refurbished the class blog (using a new template and banner image) and, with school underway, am using it all the time.
One way is for homework as I have a page for this. On it is an image of a page from their plan book (scroll down to the end to see it) showing exactly how I want them to record their nightly reading (as it is the most important homework I give).
And then I’m using it to post lessons. That is, after doing one, I’m putting up the models, instructions, and such for kids to refer back to if they need to. These are also there for parents to see what we are doing. For example, the first writing assignment is what I call an “author blurb.” After looking at two for E. B. White from the back of different editions of Charlotte’s Web I pair the children off, they interview each other, and then write up short blurbs. On the blog I put the instructions and my model interview (with a colleague) and the draft of the blurb I wrote in front of the children.
And then there is our bigger immigration oral history unit. This takes months as the children interview immigrants, transcribe the recordings, and create picture books. Before they do these individually we do one all together. So first I posted an overview of what we’d be doing. After I did the model interview I posted the transcript and a podcast of it. (The podcast is at the very end of the post.) It was very cool to be able to have the children listen to specific parts of the interview while looking at the transcript. This way I didn’t need to tell them what the ellipses and brackets meant — they figured them out all by themselves!
Now the children each have one part of the interview to illustrate. Once they’ve done so I’m going to teach them how to scan their illustrations and will put them up on the class blog as well.
By January when I will give the children their own blogs they should be very used to working with them because of this class blog. Or so I hope!