How I Use It
Using Kidblog with a teacher facilitator, students are learning how to authentically write using technology. Kidblog is a safe, motivatiing place where students can write by sharing their analyses, reflections, evaluations or engage in conversation. I have used this app for book clubs, writing prompts, learning responses, for individual writing conference opportunities, homework and much more. Students were able to share about books they read and reply to members in their book club. The whole class could respond to writing prompts and were able to read their peers' responses and then reply. I encouraged students to ask each other questions to create conversations.
The teacher creates an account, adds students with passwords to then log in to the closed group, blog setting. It is kid safe because all posts have to be approved by the teacher/administrator before it becomes published on the blog. Only the group student-members can read or reply to comments or conversation. If a student would try to post an inappropriate comment, then the teacher is the only one able to view it and can delete it. I never had problems because my students understood the expectations for the site. My students knew that they would lose the privilege of being a member of the Kidblog.
My students used both desktop computers and IPads when using this app. I had them use this site in a writing center during my literacy block. I incorporated Kidblog in a whole group setting during my writing workshop, when we were working on revising techniques. Students would learn how to use spell check, change wording, add punctuation, etc. It allowed me to facilitate individual writing conferences with my students using their posts on the blog. It was remarkable how I could sit in the same room on my ipad and instantly could see all my students’ responses quickly. I was able to reply to them instantly and ask them high-order thinking questions to help them process their thinking. In return, they would respond back with a high-order thinking responses.
As an educator, I was looking for a way to prepare my students for the Common Core Standards that will be tested soon through computer testing and Kidblog has been that answer for my instruction. Kidblog has been an incredible authentic tool for my students to use to practice their typing skills, to learn how to manage spell check and how to revise a typed document.
It takes time to set up, train the students how to use it, and time to learn the structure of the site, but it is well worth the learning time it takes. The site can be confusing at times, but the students are never afraid to figure it out. Approving the post can become time consuming for the teacher, because the teacher has to spend time reading the responses or conversations between the students, in order for posts to become approved and then public to the group. At the same time, it is rewarding because it can be a tool to assess the students’ writing and thought processes. It is the future to grading assignments!
There are ways to be creative on the blog through whatever writing genre is presented to the students. From simple book clubs of analyzing books, to writing book reviews, to persuasive writing, it starts with a teacher’s post or question for the students to respond to through writing. It is endless in how it can be used in all subject areas. I highly recommend incorporating this into your classroom.