Free images for your blog

The-Ultimate-Guide-to-e1415831158352[1]Some images can be protected which prevent their use elsewhere, or at least require attribution. We’ve been pointed in the direction of this helpful list of The Ultimate List of Free Stock Images for Your Blog Posts — No Attribution Required!

Thoughts on how to use images on your blog…

  • Simply as decoration! Like the image on the right, it doesn’t add any value to the post apart from making it look a bit nicer. An easy place to start (if the image is relevant to the content!), but not a good place to end…
  • Brainstorming vocabulary. Works best if there is an image which fits with the lesson already – use it as a a quick activity to get creative juices flowing. Start with some of our suggested online resource sites like Padlet or Lino to add post-it notes around the image. Useful to then pick up later in the lesson.
  • Write about my picture. Similar to the old image prompts – either as a standalone/cold activity, or having built up to it with some shared work. This is easily seen within fiction writing but can also lend itself to some great non-fiction writing including non-chronological reports, journalistic writing, etc. It could be that only some children or some groups have this as their task while others do a similar task in other ways.
  • Talk about my picture. A more supported idea from the one above. Could be useful for children who need to build their confidence about their writing. By using AudioBoom they can record up to 10 minutes (they won’t need anywhere near that much!) of them speaking about what they could say about the picture. This could be having planned some notes first, or could be a recording of a conversation in a pair or small group to capture all of their ideas. The AudioBoom recording then gets uploaded for you to embed in your blog.
  • Improve my writing. Editing skills are much-needed and finding different ways to approach this area is important. You can put up some of your writing which needs editing. This can be differentiated either by separate posts or within the same post – for example some focusing on capital letters and full stops, others looking to improve vocabulary choices, and others with a more intricate set of success criteria to apply. The children can copy and paste your writing into their comment box then improve it from there.
  • Real shared writing. We’re all used to doing shared/guided/group writing which is often led by a teacher with a flip chart taking ideas from the children to create a similar piece of work. Collaborating online through Google Docs is a way to encourage all children to be involved in the writing at the same time. More information is online here, here, here and other places.
  • There are bound to be other ways to use images that you discover. Comment and let us know!
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What should be on my blog?

Often it’s difficult to know how to strike a balance of different content on a class blog. How much of it should be showing off what we’re doing through photos, videos, etc.? How much of it should be the children writing? How much should I encourage them to comment on each other’s posts?

There are no magic answers to these questions, and the balance of each will feel different in each class because of the teacher’s interests and what the children find most engaging to stimulate their writing. The graph below might give some thoughts about how things could progress as children move through the school – but it’s far from being a definitive answer!


 

What on the blog

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How does blogging change through school?

We’ve talked a few times about who blogs in a school at different age groups. How much should the children be doing for themselves and how much should be adult-led? How much should be directed and how much should be independent?

There’s no fixed or easy answer to any of these questions, but it might be helpful to think of it on a sliding scale where the amount that children and adults contribute to the blog run opposite to each other.

In younger classes, children will need lots of modelling by adults to understand it with occasional opportunities to contribute. Moving through the middle of the school you can see a balance where both adults and children contribute. By the time children leave primary school they should be comfortable and confident enough to blog independently and for their contributions to be purposeful!

The indicative graph below might help to visualise how this journey might look…


 

Who blogs

 

 

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Planning to blog

shutterstock_131767742[1]Blogging can happen in lots of different ways depending on what works best for your children. The emphasis is to improve children’s attitudes towards learning and their attainment in writing.

There will be a sliding scale of adult-pupil balance moving through the school. For example in the Early Years, blogging will be adult-led with input from children. By Year 6 the children will be leading their blogging with adult support.

An example of how we could plan blogging into a weekly timetable is available here: How can I plan for blogging to improve my class

Blogging does not mean 30 children sat in front of computers typing something up something ‘in best’! It should be a helpful tool to use in the learning process, for example:

  • Intervention group of reluctant writers to use technology & a global audience as a hook
  • Research group task to find information and paraphrase into their own words what they have learned
  • Younger children write for older children to leave them constructive feedback to improve (see 1-2-3 comments)
  • Writing a draft version on the blog for other children to comment on for improvements (see 1-2-3 comments)
  • Blog a version of a specific text genre (e.g. journalistic, non-chronological report, poem, etc.) then tweet to experts in the field (e.g. Newsround journalists, encyclopedia authors, poets, etc.) for their comments
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