Welcome to the Blogosphere Day #1

Do you want to blog, but a little unsure how? I have the wonderful opportunity to teach some of my faculty about blogging. (Wonderful because we are expanding the educational blogosphere and making teachers more tech savvy 🙂 ) I have to admit that I am personally excited because this is such a passion for me. Because this is going to be a basic foundation class, I will have to reign in my enthusiasm a bit so I don’t go off on RSS feeds or editing wordpress themes on the first day!

Day #1

We will cover logging into our blogs, editing our profile, becoming familiar with the dashboard, and writing a test post.

Powerpoint from Day #1: blog-day-1.ppt

This is going to be the first installment of 4 posts centered on the theme: Welcome to the Blogosphere.

Kids Get Widgets!

Our classroom has implemented MANY different widgets throughout our classroom blog and wiki. You might be wondering- what exactly is a widget? A web widget (there are desktop widgets) is a few lines of code that can be installed and executed within a web page, blog, or wiki. Its a mini-application within your webpage. Widgets can do anything from giving you an up to date local weather forecast to playing videos from YouTube. Anybody can use a widget- in fact, the kids in our classroom have been using them for awhile now! I have compiled a list of what widgets your kid gets in our classroom!

google-map.gifGoogle Maps have been an extremely beneficial widget when teaching the continents. We really loved the ability to see the satellite images of earth. We had just finished learning about satellites in space having the ability to see the Great Wall of China… so it was AMAZING to actually show the kids the satellite images. As a class, we could chose a continent and then zoom in! We even zoomed in on West Haven!

flickr.gifFlickr Slide Show is a widget that allows you to show slideshows easily on webpages. Our class has used this widget to showcase some of our continent writing, but the possibilities range from class books to photo galleries.

polls.gifPolls and Surveys can be done easily with widgets! Simply type in your question, type in your answer choices, and you are set! There is even the ability to select “other” as an answer choice, so the user can type in their response. You can put this widget on your blog’s sidebar or in the post directly. This form of data collection is not only informative, but fun! We have used PollDaddy, but there are other data widgets available.

clustr.gifClustr Maps are one of our new favorite widgets. We can see that people from all over the world are reading our blog, and it has been especially fun since we have learned about the continents. We almost have a red dot on every continent!!


Timelines can be fabulous when you want to show data in a chronological fashion. There are two different widgets that I have seen that can create a timeline. The first widget gives you the ability to create your own timeline by adding your own information. This would be perfect for creating a class timeline of someone’s life or current events. The second widget I have seen creates a timeline of syndicated data. We have used this type of timeline on our “news for kids” wiki page. This widget shows you feeds from Weekly Reader and Science News for Kids chronologically, in a calendar- like manner. Either timeline works beautifully in the classroom!


Teacher Tube widgets are great to embed streaming, educational video into your post or webpage. We have used this widget on our class wiki a couple times when I have found a great video that pertains to a specific topic- such as nutrition (this video is from the 50’s and is hilarious) and Australia.


RSS Feed Reader is a wonderful widget when you want to show syndicated information on your webpage. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Syndicated information includes podcasts, blogs, and news headlines. We have an RSS feed reader on our wiki that shows our classroom’s latest blog posts. You can subscribe to a feed by clicking on RSS on a webpage or copying and pasting the webpage’s link in your feed reader. There are also widgets specifically designed just for a blog’s RSS feed called “blidgets” that do the same thing with a little extra eye candy.

Why blog? Watch and learn!

Blogging has become an important part of learning with technology in Room 203. There are many great reasons on how blogs can enhance our learning and parent communication. Blogs allow us to share information easily with parents about what is going on in our busy classrooms. As teachers, blogging can allow our students to answer content study questions or give feed back on thought provoking posts. There are so many other reasons to blog, that we made the following video top ten list of detailed explanations on why blogging can be beneficial to any classroom. But don’t just take our word for it- get started blogging right away and embark on the adventure to the blogosphere with excitement and ease.


Wonderful World of Classroom Wikis

You may have noticed an addition to our class webpage- our students have learned about and edited their very own personal wiki pages! A wiki is software that allows us to create, view, and edit information easily on the internet and these pages are often associated with collaborative learning. On our class wikipage we are able to view information that student’s typed about themselves.

One of the fabulous things about wikis is the ability to have students collaborate and edit information on other pages. On Wednesday we went into our wikipage and students edited other student’s pages by adding more information (what friends say about me). I have never seen kids so excited in the computer lab! They loved writing about their friends and viewing what others had written about them.

Parents- please feel free to add pictures, comments, audio/video clips to your child’s wiki. (in order to edit pages students have a unique user name and password- please email me if your child forgot and I will let you know) Keep posted for more wikis from room 203 and let’s keep SURFIN’ WITH TECHNOLOGY!!!