Blogging in Guided Reading time

IMG_3337Children in Magpie Class use time within their Guided Reading time every morning to blog about their learning over the last week. They also use this time to leave comments on each other’s blog posts.

Children are really engaged and motivated at being able to write about what they want to write about and to share something interesting they’ve done or learnt recently.

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Children taking responsibility for blogging

magpie41489[1]This morning I was talking to Miss James, teacher of the wonderful Year 5 Magpie Class, about how some of her children have been using their class blog.

She was explaining how some of her children have been really motivated by a few aspects of blogging…

 

Writing for an audience and for a purpose

Rather than only ever writing for the “audience of one“, Miss James has found that more and more of her children have thrown themselves into blogging because of writing for a real audience. This has made a difference to their attitudes towards learning, and particularly writing.

The children have been able to combine blogging to support their learning rather than being a separate activity. For example as a class they’ve been looking at the concept of ‘fame’, different famous people through time, and used their class blog to share their knowledge and thoughts with the world.

 

Attention to detail

with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility-spider-man[1]For one or two children, Miss James has used the blog as a tool to support them focusing on syntax details like capital letters, spelling and punctuation. These children have been responsible for checking blog posts and comments alongside Miss James before they approve them together. She can see how the additional responsibility of “checking” other people’s writing has helped them to take greater responsibility for these areas of details in their own writing.

After a bit more practice and support, we could well be looking at children taking “author” level responsibility for publishing their own posts and comments directly. Of course as Spiderman knows, with great power comes great responsibility!

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Using Skype to break down classroom walls

skype[1]We have found Skype to be a brilliant way to break down classroom walls and help our children to experience more than they would normally be able to. There are many positive uses for Skype within learning, but a couple we have found brilliant have been…


 

Skype Classroom

Skype Classroom is a way to connect a group of children with an expert somewhere else in the world. We’ve used it to connect with two experts so far…

Sharks4Kids

As part of our Deadly60 topic, children in Foundation and Key Stage 1 took part in a Skype Classroom call with @Sharks4Kids from Florida

Crane Class blogged about the experience here.

Betty Birney

Seizing an offer from Betty Birney (author of The World According To Humphrey series of books) to host Skype Classrooms. She spoke with Heron Class about her experience of being an author, her inspirations for writing, and how the children could think about life as a writer.

 


Mystery Skype

Mystery Skype is like an online game of ‘Guess Who’! By asking closed ‘Yes/No’ questions of the other class, you need to work out where in the world they are. We arranged the connections through the Mystery Skype website and on Twitter, which was sometimes tricky to negotiate time zones!

We’ve run a number of Mystery Skype sessions with Kingfisher Class. The first of these we blogged about here. We’ve connected with classes in Australia, Mexico and Greece.

As a teacher, getting children to understand the context of geography is really difficult. Many of our children don’t go abroad and have no points of reference for where different things are in the world. Before doing these Mystery Skype sessions, our children would never have seen a real purpose in knowing the vocabulary of how to describe different features.

For example they would never had known what a hemisphere is, how to describe the positions relating to north/south/east/west, identifying different mountains and lakes, etc. The competitive racing element of Mystery Skype meant that they were hugely motivated to get to the answer before the other class!

Mr Lathia, Kingfisher Class Teacher

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Blogging in school holidays

B443ETOne of the interesting things to look at is how much children blog during their own time. Taking their own time to contribute to the class blog is an indication that they’re motivated to write and want to share their thoughts and experiences with a wider audience!

During the Easter holiday, a number of children across the school chose to take time out of their sunny holidays to add their experiences to their class blogs. One child even blogged while on holiday in Malta!

A selection of children blogging during the Easter break…

More children left comments elsewhere on each other’s blogs, and even some teachers were keen to start back!

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