Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Teacher Blogging Challenge 1.

My Life as a Blogger
When did you start blogging?
I began with a classroom blog in 2009.  I started that blog in edublogs and it is one I pay for.  I started this teacher one a little while later, to find out what blogspot was like in relation to edublogs.  I also started a personal blog in wordpress to see how that operated.

What did you learn about the different platforms?
Edublogs is my first preference.  I like the way it operates very much.  I don't spend enough time looking at the ins and outs of blogspot, so I can't say I am any expert in it. It does the basics for me.  The Wordpress one is fine, because edublogs uses wordpress.  What I don't like in wordpress, my one, is that you can't post videos unless you pay, and you can't put in other flash type widgets.  So I found out I had made a very good choice using Edublogs.

Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging because for a number of years I had wanted to publish student work on line.  Eventually I decided blogging would do that for me.  I explored blogging a little and set up an edublog during our summer break in January 2009.

So how did that go?
Well it was a very steep learning curve setting up that blog.  There was no one at my school who blogged, nor anyone that I knew anywhere.  I spent hours reading edublogs tips etc!  Each time I mastered something I felt really good.  When I noticed a challenge in March 2009 I joined it and sort of did it.  I began to learn about widgets etc.  I can remember the first time I tried to put in a pet widget, I spent hours!  Eventually I found a post on a student's blog from Miss W's class that gave the instructions in enough detail for me to be successful.  I blush now to admit how hard it was.  Now my students do it in a blink of an eye.  I began to want to add videos. Again that was a steep learning curve, as I tried out Windows Movie Maker.  I got there. I am someone who perseveres!

What was your most exciting moment?
I am not sure of this one, there were many mini exciting moments!  First of all the pride in mastering each new step.  However as the first challenge went on, it was things such as making contact with teachers in other countries.  Learning from them.  Last year I got a huge buzz out of the fact I could show Mrs Yollis' video on commenting to my class.  While I had started blogging initially to showcase my students' writing, I now realized that blogging opened me and my classroom up to the world.

Any other stand out moments?
We have been able to keep in contact with students who went to Australia, to Washington DC and now one is going to Tonga.  They all went because of Dad's jobs.  These students have kept in contact through the blog and a little skypeing!

What motivates me to blog?
I have a belief in it.  It has come from myself, no one else has said do it.  I like it.  I don't post so often on this my teacher blog. However I intend to remedy that this year.  Up until now much of my time has gone into the classroom blog and student blogging.  Now I have a team of students who can help others so now I am free to pursue my own interests!

So what next?
In 2011 I intend continuing the class blog, and setting up new students with their own blogs.  For this blog I want to track my development of my writing and reading programmes in my classroom.  I also want to make some videos for my classroom blog to share with parents about our learning in Maths, Reading and Writing.  And talking about parents. Well I would really like to try and get them interacting more with the class blog.  I had about 3 interacting last year. I want to up that!

What advice do I have for teachers beginning to blog?
Get in there and do it.  Ask for help.  I would ask around when I began, on other teacher's blogs. Mostly I got answers. Occasionally I didn't.  Learn as you go.  You don't have to do it perfectly.  There are still things I don't get perfectly, but from others you eventually pick it up.  One such instance for me was attribution of pictures.  Thanks Miss W. who did a great job there, educating us.  The other word of advice is read other class blogs. That is another place I learned. Oh, they can do that? So I can too! Be a copy cat!  Kids get so upset when others copy them!  I see it as a way to learn.  Of course I am not talking about out and out copying word for word.  But getting ideas.

What am I most proud of?
My student blogs!  Some of them have taken blogging to a higher level than myself!  I think of Teegan who entered my class after the middle of the year.  She took to blogging like a duck to water, it was a joy to behold.  Some of them haven't got that far!  It's okay.  I am still reflecting on boundaries for my students with blogging.  I want it to be their own, where they make most of the choices.  However I also recognise it is a student blog and they have certain responsibilities and tasks to accomplish.  I am still working on that one.  Also some of them get their blogs so full of bling that it is overkill.  My pet hate on my students' blogs?  Sounds that keep going when you arrive on the blog.  I HATE THAT!
So what is your pet hate?


  1. Great post - thanks for sharing!

  2. I know what you mean about the bling. I feel the same way about students' PowerPoints. It's hard to convince them the content is more important than the "bells and whistles."

  3. Love the questions that you have answered. You are a great example for others showing what can be achieved with determination. Like you, I didnt have a clue how to set up the blogs and posts effectively, how to add widgets etc but with time, patience, lots of questions of lots of people, lurking around others' blogs I am able to do most things that I would like to. "Upping" the parent connections via comments is a great goal as that partnership with the classroom is such an important one. However, it is sometimes a difficult goal to achieve. I had one parent adopt a few other children as their parents did not have the internet on at home. All the best with your goals for 2011.
    I also love the words that were visually highlighted in your wordle.

  4. Thanks Murcha I like that idea of some parents adopting those who don't have the internet at home.

  5. Thanks for the great post - you've done a fantastic job at learning how to blog and are a great example for others in how to 'teach yourself' with the range of resources and support that is out there!

    I'm intending to start student blogs this year and am trying to build in specific tasks/boundaries as, having taught information technology last year, I know some students will run with it and complete major miracles while some will barely begin. A definite challenge!

  6. I would love to share your blog(s) with my colleagues! I am trying to get them to blog, even though I've only been blogging a few months. But, if they see how others use blogs, they will be inspired to try it. You're not afraid to try something new, and that is an inspiration to all teachers!

  7. Theresa tell me about trying to get colleagues interested!! In 2009 I got most of them going. We are only a small school,6 teachers and a Principal and last year 2 of them kept them going. However one of those two now wants to get it going more and another teacher wants to join in as she is getting some of my students this year who blogged last year. It takes time I think.

  8. Hi Kathryn

    Like you, I started our LRC Blog without knowing a lot about blogs and it was a steep learning curve! Many hours were spent teaching myself how to do things and I was so proud when it worked!! The students were so supportive of my efforts and that kept me going.

    I would love our teachers to have their own class blog, but I'm not having much luck. One of our teachers started a class blog last year and the students loved it and learnt a lot and connected with other schools. What saddens me is that this year they won't have a class blog...I'm hoping they will put a bit of pressure on their new class teachers!!

    Kim :)

  9. Kim
    I think the thing is you have to want to have a class blog. Otherwise the passion and drive are missing. Like you I found that as something was successful it gave me the incentive to try something else.

    Sometimes I get a bit behind with it or a bit down, but then a parent or someone just gives that extra boost and I am off again.

    I also have a couple of really outstanding class blogs in the USA that I keep my eye on, it's how I learn and take things another step.

  10. Love your voki. Great to have it on your sidebar! Well done! How did you go with it? Any problems? Any tips for others?


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