Saturday, January 19, 2008

Intro Blog: Blogging in the Early Primary Years?

Blogs can be used as a place for collaborative learning on projects. Not only can each student in the group contribute to the blog, experts from the global community can also contribute, deeply enhancing the curriculum. The Secret Life of Bees is a great example of highschool students using a blog to study a novel and contacting the author for her answer to their questions.
At first, I thought this collaborative use of blogs for learning would be beyond early primary students because their typing, reading and writing skills are still limited. I wonder though, could Kindergarten and grade one teachers begin this type of blogging using one blog for the class, with the teacher making entries as they would typically do on chart paper?
I think that with the teacher using a projector and screen, the students could follow the writing, while the teacher types the students' questions, thoughts and responses. Students could ask their teacher to post links they have explored as a class and could comment on those links. They could be guided to give reflective responses to be posted. They could summarize what they have learned in a unit of study. Perhaps the intended audience could go beyond other students in the class to include parents, authors, science experts, other classes in the school (perhaps their buddy class), the community or classrooms in other parts of the world. It would be exciting to receive comments and continue the conversation.
It would be important to begin by explaining the process to parents and obtaining permission for students to participate. Protecting students' identity would be necessary. See some samples of information letters and permission forms at Blogging Parent letters - Bud the Teacher's Wiki


Arlene said...

Hi Elizabeth,

I like the link to blog letters that you provided in this entry. I am going to add it to my blog as well.


Jessica said...

Somehow I missed this post earlier... I'm still figuring out Google Reader!

I really like your idea of using a blog to replace chart paper. First of all, because I can type much faster than I can print, but more importantly, because learning is recorded and made availible to parents.

One significant problem though: while students still have the writing process modeled, they miss out on the modeling of printing. And for now, that is still an essential skill. Perhaps if used in moderation?

Tracy said...

Hi Elizabeth,

If you want proof that blogging works... and works incredibly well... with lower primary students, check out this youtube video about Kathy Cassidy in Moosejaw, Sask. It made me a believer!

Here's a link to Kathy's actual blog on Classblogmeister: