Saturday, February 15, 2014

Today's Techology Tidbit: Blogging in the Classroom

It's been awhile since I posted how I've been incorporating technology into my classroom. I thought I'd talk today about something I just started using this semester: BLOGGING.

I have a Weebly page that I use for my website, where I post digital copies of handouts, as well as the agenda for the week. I have really enjoyed this platform more so than because you have more design options to choose from, and it is so easy to input things like YouTube videos or embed documents. I'd highly recommend Weebly if you're looking for a place to host a classroom website.

One feature they also have is a blog component you can add to your site. I have primarily used this with my juniors, but I also do some blogging with College English as well.

Each week by Monday (I usually actually do this on the weekend), I will upload a new blog. Some days, it ties directly into a lesson we did that week. For instance, one week we learned three new tier 2 vocab. words, so their blog activity had them do some writing with those words.

Other weeks, I have them read a current events article and answer some questions I pose. I think students need to learn how to read dense and difficult text more fluently, and I also think it's great to make them critical thinkers about things currently going on in our country/world. So often, the only "news" they get is what's on their Facebook or Twitter feed. Both can be used to garner information about the world, but we can't be sure students are actually using them for that purpose.

My favorite place to find articles is Kelly Gallagher's website. If you are unfamiliar with him, he is an English teacher from CA who is "dedicated to building and sharing his knowledge about literacy" (from his website). The link I posted above takes you to his article of the week. He picks a lot of great, relevant pieces each week for students to read and ends with a few follow-up questions. It's a great resource to use if you don't want to have to scour the Internet for just the right article for your classes.

So, students have until that Friday night at midnight to post their blog response. I do moderate comments, so no comments get posted without my approval first. I have had absolutely zero issues with inappropriate content doing it this way. We occasionally work on them in class, but 80% of the time, this is an outside-of-class assignment, so they are doing some critical reading/thinking outside the classroom as well. The following Monday after I've had the weekend to grade their responses, we talk about it in class. I will sometimes have students read and respond to other students' comments as well to get a discussion/conversation going on the blog.

Since we are going to 1:1 in the very near future and also getting some sort of Learning Management System (like Canvas or Schoology, etc), blogging and online discussion forums will be making their way into more teachers' classes, I'm sure. I've loved experimenting with it this year and will definitely continue blogging as an extension of our classroom activities.


  1. Our school won't let us use Weebly and such because of the ads that pop up on the site that are "inappropriate" bummed. Excited you have luck with it though!! :)

    Tales of Teaching in Heels

    1. Hmm that's weird; I haven't ever seen an ad on my site or any other teacher's Weebly.

  2. Using Weebly looks interesting. I def have to look that up. Sounds like a really great idea. =) Yay for being your newest follower.

    Just Wild About Teaching

  3. Really very informative post.I am totally impressed and You break it down nicely.

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