by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Getting Started, Resources

Edublogs: Getting Started - handouts on setting up or using a blog.
Edublogs: How to paste, add images, images & links, and arrange your sidebar on your blog
- Handout showing how to save your student-created videos on Vimeo and add to your blog.

KidBlogs - Getting Started
Kidblogs introduction

Class Blogging Resources - includes permission forms and contracts, rubrics, set up instructions, and some recommended blogs.
Blogging in the Classroom and Beyond - Melissa's Prezi presentation
Setting up student accounts in Edublogs using Gmail - Video tutorial, written instructions
Show & Tell: Exhibit, Reflect, & Critique with Blogs- permission forms, recommended blogging platforms, and referenced blogs. Particularly good for high school.
Blogging Rubric - detailed rubric for assessing individual blog entries for for comments on others' blogs

Wikis vs. Blogs

Trying to decide between a blog, wiki, or Google Docs, and which is right for your project? Look at this comparison table.
Another simple table of wikis vs. blogs
Nixon and Kennedy debate on whether blogs or wikis are better in this remix. - great example for commenting, incorporation of VoiceThread & other Web 2.0 tools (grade 3), pages for commenting and general guidelines.
On your blog, include your class blogging guidelines and netiquette

Why Blog?

  • Publish writing for authentic, global audience
    • Helps create a sense of pride, increases student motivation for reading, writing and sharing thoughts
  • Invites reflection and discussions - including "quiet" students and others who are less apt to participate in normal class discussion (i.e. ESL students)
  • Working in pairs to write posts and/or comments helps build collaborative skills
  • Use as a digital portfolio or timeline of progression in student work and abilities
  • Practice commenting skills - reflective thinking, good for shy students to share ideas and thoughts
  • Helps prepare students for effective citizenship - netiquette, cyber-safety
  • Global collaboration opportunities
  • Reinforce geographical knowledge, including time zones, climate, landforms, etc.of different places of those who visit, comment, collaborate
  • Enables parents and distant relatives to see what students have been working on
  • Practice editing and proofreading skills
  • Quickly share or distribute information to others (i.e. embedding video, assignment, course notes, articles, announcements, homework)
  • Demonstration of what learned, found out through research - digital portfolio. Especially good with having individual blogs
  • Show off the talent and accomplishments in your class
  • Showcase of embedded student Web 2.0 projects - VoiceThread, Animoto, Glogster, etc.
    • Embed a Wallwisher and use to brainstorm ideas, get feedback, express opinions, predictions or hypothesis
    • Embed a poll tool for students or parents
    • Embed video to stimulate interest/curiosity about upcoming topic, encourage discussions, augment instruction
  • Begin an online presence in a structured, safe environment
    • It's how today's kids learn and communicate best! - preparation for future

Blogging Tools

Edublogs - includes free and campus (paid) sites. A bit more complex, more flexibility, popular education choice. Better for upper elementary through adult. Limitations with free version.
Kidblogs - Simpler free blogging for elementary and middle school students
Bloggger - Easy setup for personal blog. Some privacy options. Worldwide popularity
21Classes - Education control blogs for classes and students. Paid accounts include for individual teachers, classes, and schools.
Class Blogmeister - Protected class blogs, particularly good for elementary. Posting and embedding media not as straightforward.
Widgets such as Clustrmaps and help students see where their readers are located
Posterous Spaces - Private or public blog in which people can make contributions by sending an email to "yourblog'sname" Send images, video, or text.


What Might You Write About? - blog posting on practical writing ideas for blogs in your classroom.
  • Events, goals, interviews
  • Assume a character and write from that perspective
  • Post images from a digital microscope to comment on and invite student responses as to what they see
  • Field trips, sports days, thematic weeks
  • "How To" entries, tip of the day
  • Screencast recordingsof lecture, demonstrations
    • Good for review, absent student, pre-recorded for anticipated teacher absence
  • Include videos made by students on what they are learning
  • Student posts questions and teacher responds (all students see and benefit)
  • Publish student work (including imperfect entries) - use as opportunity to respond and make improvement through comments given
  • Post homework and require comments as the assignment
  • Students respond to prompt on blog for homework
  • Teacher posts math question and invites students to solve it - use as discussion
  • Celebrate student achievement
  • Share class routines or rules with parents
  • Form a question chain (teacher poses a question, with first student answering it and posting their own question. Next student answers it and asks another question, etc.)
  • Use as a reflective tool - especially useful if students have their own blogs.

Why did we create a classroom blog and how will we use it? - from Kathy Cassidy
1. document our growth across the year
2. inform families of what we are doing
3. expand our audience
4. collaborate with other first grade bloggers
5. use another form of writing
6. learn about writing for an audience
7. learn about digital literacy
8. document favorite events of this year
9. integrate writing with other subjects
10. write book reviews
11. write journal entries
12. respond to class assignments
13. free choice writing
14. develop keyboard skills
15. communicate with each other
16. collaborate with reading buddies from other classrooms
17. collaborate with teachers from the university as blogging buddies pictures of our work
19. learn about visual literacy through the design of our pages
20. to have fun!

Teacher Professional Use of Blogs

  • Reflect on teaching experiences/practices
  • Share teaching tips & ideas with other teachers
  • Share instructional websites and resources
  • Reflect on experience with new learning technique, tool, etc.
  • Explore and discuss educational issues

Class Use of Blogs

  • Post calendars, homework, and other relevant classroom information - can even embed Google Docs Calendar
  • Include tutorials on difficult concepts - video form, handouts, screenshots
  • Post assignments based on literature readings and have students post responses, either as comments on the class blog or as entries in their own blog
  • Use the DropItToMe tool to have students easily upload files/assignments to the teacher DropBox without having access to its contents.
  • Use as a communication tool with parents
  • For current units, include worksheets, vocabulary lists, website links
  • Post writing prompts
  • Begin classroom discussions on issues
  • Showcase student work - writings, artwork, videos, etc.
  • Create an online book club or literature circle
  • Use as a class newsletter, with students posting articles
  • Collaborate with classes around the world or invite experts to comment


Student Bogs

  • Use as a digital portfolio or showcase best writings, artwork, other work
  • Complete class writing assignments (as seen on class blog)
  • Express opinions or reflections on class happenings, discussions
  • Write comments, questions, reflections on current events
  • Journaling


  • Modeling the type of commenting you wish to get from your students is important.
    1. Jointly compose and create a comment, including the desired format and content
    2. As a class, read the comments posted by others. (It would be good to get blogging buddies to comment, invite parents to comment, etc.)
    3. Look at some fake comments and jointly decide on whether each comment should be rejected or accepted. Content and conventions (spelling, grammar, vocabulary, capitalization, composition form etc.) should be considered. Check out this teacher's practice on evaluating comments. Also discuss the difference between social and academic commenting, reinforcing the educational aspect of the class/student blog.
    4. Announce to parents and adults when a new assignment has been added or students have posted, encouraging them to add comments. Provide some prompting questions for the parents/adults so they know what you are looking for and help guide their commenting.
    5. Have two students work together to compose a comment for a classmate's post. Go over the comment draft with the students prior to them publishing the comment, looking at content as well as conventions.
    6. Encourage students to add comments in lieu of a language arts/grammar homework assignment (for students without internet connection at home, they can write it at home and post in the morning at school). You may want to inform parents about the expectations of a good comment so they can assist their child.
  • Good comments may include:
    • A specified compliment to the writer
    • Ask a question
    • Add new information to the post
    • Concise (not rambling, adding irrelevant information)
    • Don't include personally revealing information (i.e. last name, contact info)
    • Proper conventions
      • Vocabulary that is higher and more specific to the assignment
      • Capitalization and punctuation
      • Spelling
      • Topic sentence, greeting, conclusion
  • Comment Starters:
    • This made me think of...
    • I discovered...
    • I was reminded of...
    • This is important, because...
    • I wonder why...
    • Your writing made me remember
  • Some teachers demonstrate and use a letter writing form, with a greeting, body, and conclusion.
  • For increased exposure of your class blog and to encourage commenting by others, tweet your class blog URL and add the hashtag #comments4kids.
  • See the Educational Blogging wiki for commenting ideas and videos and Mrs. Yollis' Blog for commenting guidelines (includes the video below)
  • - a helpful guidance tool to help evaluate (self or teacher) blog entry, particularly on a controversial topic. For moving blog content in a more thoughtful, sophisticated manner.
  • A Socratic way to comment in an asynchronous conversation