I have recently been thinking about the best way to introduce blogging to the new class – how can you explain the jargon and etiquette without trawling through endless blogs pointing out the features. I then stumbled upon a blog post about paper blogging: http://theinspiredclassroom.com/2012/06/making-paper-blogs-to-prepare-for-the-online-experience/ I shared this idea with my class and together we worked through how we would teach a new class all about blogging.
Here is what we came up with, it is written in more depth than is probably necessary but it was always meant to be a guide for those who did not know about blogs and blogging themselves.
Introduce the concept of blogging
Begin by asking the children about the word ‘blog’, have they heard of it? Does anyone know what it means? Explain that it is short for ‘web log’ and is a bit like a diary or a scrapbook where you share with other people everything you’ve been up to. Tell the children that this year each year group at BVS will be having a blog to share all of the learning they have been doing with the world. Explain that other schools have blogs which over 500 different people have looked at from 10 different countries and some have even left comments on pieces of work they think are particularly good. This means they will be able to show any of their relatives a particularly good piece of work and they’ll be able to comment on other people’s work across the school.
Introducing the paper blogging activity
If you have time, create a paper blog of your own, if not use the photographs of the real blog and the paper blog to allow children to see the different parts.
Explain to the children that their ‘post’ in the paper blog is going to be something about themselves that they would like to share with you and the class. Here you need to briefly mention E-Safety and that to be safe online we must not post personal information about ourselves such as our last name, email address, phone number etc. Explain that when commenting on posts they will be asked for their email address which is fine as it’s not posted on the internet but they MUST use their school address.
Look at the example blog/paper blog and discuss as a class what they might use for the different sections e.g. post title, post content, tags etc. Children need to create a blog post about themselves including all the different elements they would in a real blog post. A short piece of writing is all that is needed for this activity – no need to spend more than about 10 minutes on it.
As the children finish their piece of writing they may begin creating the other elements of their blog, it is clearer if they use sugar paper for the blog and lined paper for the post. Here they can be creative deciding where they want to put any navigation/sidebar, what they would like their blog title to be and if they want to include any widgets (e.g. number of visitors, world map of visitors, photos, links, countdown, search, popular tag counter, follow blog button). Allocate an area in your room (just for the lesson/day) as ‘the internet’ and when the children have completed their writing and paper blog they can ‘publish’ it to the internet by adding it to your space.
If you have children finishing at different times a possible extension is to begin getting them to think about some ‘Rules of Blogging’ to keep everyone safe and happy on the blog. Share these and create the final rules.
When all the posts are published bring everyone back together. At this point you may want to share some of the blog posts and talk about how to make them interesting to other readers; however, you may want to save this for another time, such as a Literacy lesson.
Explain that the best part of blogging is that you get to send and receive comments about other people’s work. Explain that all blog posts and comments will be checked by an adult before they’re posted on the internet to ensure they’re not rude or offensive. Tell the children that you have created some comments for blogs but you want to know if it is a good comment: ‘Great blog!’ – discuss with children how this is not a good comment as it does not tell us anything; improve it together ‘Great blog, I especially like when you describe spaghetti as squirmy worms’. Talk about constructive criticism.
Use post-its for the children to comment on each other’s paper blogs, allow for a set amount of time and then allow children to read the comments they have received. Discuss how they felt about receiving comments and how we need to give as well as receive them!
Make your first post on the real blog!
Now is a good opportunity for you to create your first blog post as a class. Explain that you want to share your thoughts/feelings about the paper blogs and shared write a post together. If you have taken photos as you were going along you could include these!