In terms of the tech side of the project, we have been pretty much figuring everthing out as we go. Thankfully blogging is mercifully simple, so it has been pretty smooth. Here’s the breakdown of what we have done so far:

Step 1: If you don’t already have an Acceptable Use Policy that includes blogging, create a permission slip (here’s ours) that gives students the permission to have their own blogs.

Step 2: Set up a “main blog” as a sample for the students and a “home-base” for all outgoing information. We have been using ours to post homework as well as lesson reviews and important news.

My advice is to think about both the URL for your blog and the presentation carefully before you share it with the class. I am now wishing that I didn’t have the URL I’m using, and I’m constantly trying to add new features to the blog (as I learn them) and have simply been lucky that my template has them all (for example: I want all of the links I post in categories, not just a jumbled mess in alphabetical order, but only some of the WMU templates allow Link Categories. Also, We wanted extra pages, at least one for our .pdf resources, but only some of the templates allow additional pages. I personally like the design of this template because it allows me to log-in directly from my URL instead of having to remember to add wp-admin.php to the end of the address, which would make it much easier for students. I also like how this template lets me edit each entry directly from the post.

Step 3: Get the core content down. We’re doing our blog about current events, so we spent our first full lesson discussing what current events are, what is an acceptable even to use for social studies, and developing class criteria for finding an appropriate current event.

Step 4: Cover the basics of the project. Once students have an idea of what current events are, get them used to the idea that they’re going to make a blog. We have a one-page project outline that gives a general overview of the whole project. We spent about a half hour discussing all the details of the project with the kids.

Step 5: Start getting used to the idea of blogging. After our first lesson, we had students respond to our blog posting (which reviewd the lesson of the day) by posting one “acceptable” current even link and one “unacceptable” current event link as a comment.

My advice is to start your students off right by explaining what the comments section is, where it is on the page, and showing them exactly where you want them to comment. For example: we had 3 different class blocks of grade 6 students responding to the same posting. What a mess! It took ages to figure out who was in which block and then we had to go through again to find who had done the homework properly. I recommend titling your post with the specific class block and showing students exactly where to respond. Once we figured this out, checking up on homework became a breeze.

A continuing problem is that the students still want to post their links in the “URL” section of the comments form. We have explained to them that they should only use that section if they have their own website, but I think they’re so excited that they know what URL means that they still copy and paste the current events article URL there. I wanted to see if I could simply take that section out of the comments box, but it appears that I can’t. I wonder if there is a different template that doesn’t have it?

It took us 3 one and a half hour lessons to go through all of these steps with the kids. By the end of those 3 lessons, students were comfortable posting homework in the correct comments section, re-reading other students’ comments, and sharing their websites with sample articles in pairs.

Our next task is to set up student blogs at

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