Thursday, September 16, 2010

Class Blogging: Take Two

Well, there is nothing like changing the game plan after 1 day of blogging. Ugh. The entire process was successful, but I don't like the way that it looks. When the students are live blogging the class, they are posting it in the comments portion of a dated post I set up. In theory, it was an easy way for kids and parents to access the blog and see what was going on. However, students cannot adjust the format of the post at all. Look at this example,

The "post" has all of the information that was covered in class. However, the information is really hard to sort through. The vocab word is at the top and the homework is at the bottom, but the important class information is jumbled in the middle. It's just too much for parents and students to sift through on a daily basis. I needed to change the game to get the most out of this project before it got away from me.

I decided to switch the class blogging over to I had started using with my students to create Lit Circle Blogs with the students of Van Meter, Iowa. (There will be a blog post about this adventure next week!) I figured that since the kids were already using the site, it only made sense to consolidate the blogging experience. I created three class blogs and added the students names to each blog. They will now be able to create a post themselves and adjust the format to suit their needs. I posted this on my blog,

I have decided to move the class blog to because of the formatting issues. The school website clumps all of the text together which makes it hard to read. The kids are limited to the commenting portion only and that really restricts their ability to post some materials. I also think it might be easier to have all of the blogging in one spot so students and parents do not have go from one site to the other. I only want the best for these students and I learned plenty from just one day of in class blogging. The idea worked well, it just needs to be tweaked. 
Parents - To make the blogging easier for your students and allow them the chance to show some creativity, you will need to log in to  to view the days work. No worried though! I created a simple Login and Password for all Parents. It allows you to view the work posted by the students.

Login - GPSParent
Password - password (This is case sensitive)

I'm sorry for the confusion, but this will be better for the students in the long run. 
- Mr. Provenzano

I created a parent account that allows them to to view the blog. Sadly, it does require them to go an extra step to see the work, but I really think it is best for the students. They can see daily assignments on the Twitter feed I posted on my school site. If they only want to see homework, they can quickly check it out there. If they want to see a little more information they need to go to the blog site and log in.

New ideas are going to encounter some problems along the way. I told this to the parents and the kids when this entire project was announced. I think this is a small hiccup on the way to something great for the students.

After the first class, I asked the first two students what they thought of the process and they said they loved it. One girl actually called it "fun"! That made my day. Despite the annoying formatting problems, it seems like this is going to good for my students.

I will keep everyone posted on how the blogging goes in class. I hope you enjoy the ride and I promise I will fill you in on the great Grosse Pointe/Van Meter Lit Circle Experiment.

 - @TheNerdyTeacher


  1. Nick:
    I love your honestly about the trials and error around blogging. I am using with my sixth graders. We started with a generic Blog of the Day and will graduate to individual blog accounts by the end of the month.
    Questions: Since parents are logging in, your blog is not public? I am monitoring all posts--are you doing the same? What about comments? Our blog is public but I am monitoring all posts for the initial few months. We'll see how it goes.
    Check us out:
    Can't wait to read your next post!

  2. Nick,

    Another possibility to consider is WIkispaces. I'm using Wikispaces for class notes, which is similar to your live-blogging. Parents can see wikispaces without an account, if you set the permissions right (in fact, I'm hoping to give the address out on back to school night). Just a suggestion.

  3. @Catina

    The KidBlogs are limited to just the students in the group. I want to keep it self contained for now. I'm not really worried about others seeing it.

    Comments can only be made by the students registered to the blog, so I will always know who comments.

    These are high school Freshmen, so I feel like I have them trained to behave on the net.

    Since these are just recaps of the day's events, the content will should not be anything too crazy. I'll review them at the end of the day, but I'm not worried.

    Thanks for the comment and I'll check out your blog.

    - Nick

  4. Flexibility is always the name of the game in education. It is good that you realized early on that the setup wasn't ideal and did what you could to adjust it accordingly. It may be an extra login step but I guarantee it is several less steps to find important information. Good move and thanks for sharing it so the rest of us can learn from your adventures in classroom blogging.


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