Block Two - The Review


Introduction

Proficient readers spontaneously and purposefully create mental images rich in detail as they read (Keene and Zimmerman). Tap into the potential of a blog to communicate unique interpretations of text and to socially negotiate meaning.

A blog is a personal space to record and communicate thoughts, discoveries, and understandings. A blogger observes their experience, reflects on it, and then provides a written response. As the written commentary has a global audience, others are able to read your reflections and respond from their perspectives by commenting or writing their own blog article. Learning, therefore, becomes socially negotiable, as reading the varying perspectives cause one to analyze and possible refine their viewpoints.

A post from the Eide Neurolearning Blog, the Brain of the blogger, outlines five benefits of blogging:
  1. Blogs can promote critical and analytical thinking.
  2. Blogging can be a powerful promoter of creative, intuitive, and associational thinking.
  3. Blogs promote analogical thinking.
  4. Blogging is a powerful medium for increasing access and exposure to quality information.
  5. Blogging combines the best of solitary reflection and social interaction.

Block Two Overview

In this block of learning, we will focus on collaboration and conversation as we continue to explore the Newbery and Willow award nominees. You will begin and become part of the conversation by using a blog to write about the books you are reading and by commenting on and responding to the blog posts of others.

Outcomes

Learners will use digital media and environments to communicate and collaborate including at a distance to support individual learning and contribute to the the learning of others.
  • collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts and others employing a variety of digital media and formats
  • contribute to project teams to produce original works, interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.

Achievement Indicators

Each learner will have created a blog and have written at least three posts and commented on the posts of at least two participants or another edublogger. Each post contains one hyperlink and one of the posts specifically comments upon or discusses the post of a participant.


Learning Activities

Read Blogs

Before you create your own blog, it is a good idea to examine different blogging platforms and different blogs. The type of blog you create will depend on your purpose for blogging. Start by reading Blogging Techniques for the K-12 Classroom, an article which addresses four core methods to use blogs with students. This post, from Clarence Fisher, outlines three types of blogging: comment blog, scribe post, and central post (mother blog and kids).

The purpose for your blog determines the type of blog you will create and therefore the blogging platform that you choose. While we have a specific purpose for your blogging in this professional development program, hopefully you will continue to blog in the future and so now is a good time time to read and think about your purpose for blogging. Of course, you can always choose to have more than one blog and to use more than one online blogging platform.

Examples:
Teacher-librarian Blogs
Blogs about Books and Reading
Joyce Valenza
Eclection
NeverEndingSearch
Gargolyes Loose in the Library
A Year of Reading
American Indians in Children's Literature
The Goddess of YA Literature
Muller in the Middle
Classroom Blogs:
Comment
Scribe
Central
Student Reflections on Night by Elie Wiesel
I am David
Carlene Walter: grade 2/3
AP Calculus
Kathy Cassidy
Mrs. Sparrow's Blog

Online Blogging Services;
There are several free online hosting services: Blogger, Wordpress, Edublogs and ClassBlogmeister. I would suggest using Classblogmeister if you are working with younger students and Blogger if you are creating a blog to post your own thoughts and ideas. Edublogs works well for scribe and central blogs with older students. I (Donna) have enjoyed using Wordpress for my Classroom Tech Tips blog, but lately have found that it does not allow the embedding of many of the new multimedia tools on the Web. You can embed just about anything in a Blogger blog.

Create your Blog

tryitout.jpg
Create a blog.
Write a post that provides insights and connections with the book you have selected
Add your blog to the menu on our wiki page.
Comment on posts of other participants

Blog Writing Protocols... you should always link back to the post that you read. This is the way that referencing is done in the blogging world. When reviewing or discussing a book it helps to have a link to an online bookstore or the publisher where the book can be purchased. I find it easiest to copy and paste the URL of the website I want to reference. Open the website in a new tab or a new window. Highlight the URL of the blog post/article/web page. Return to your blog and in editing mode type and highlight the word you want to link... click on the link button in the tool bar and paste the URL in the new window that opens. Example: Looking For Alaska

Remember when you have created your blog and written your first post add it to the menu on the left hand side of the wiki page. This will allow other participants to read and comment on what you have written. The conversation begins!! Over the next few weeks continue to read, review, write, and comment.


Learning Resources:

Follow these three easy steps to create your blog. You may want to print the instructions.
  • Create An Account: For this tutorial, Blogger will be demonstrated due to its extreme ease of use. However, if you already use a different hosting service, you are welcome to post your responses on your existing blog. Setting up a blog through Blogger, requires the creation of an account. Google asks you for an email address - this becomes your username. Remember to write down your Username and Password.
  • Name Your Blog: As a blog's title and address are public, you may not want to use your real name. Consider creating a blog name that’s anonymous, yet uniquely you. The URL for your blog will look like these authentic examples - http://librarywriting.blogspot.com/ or hhttp://librarianinblack.typepad.com/.. The format is name.blogspot.com when you use blogger.com software. Please note that there are no www in the address when using Blogger.com software. Also, remember your URL address and/or bookmark it.
  • Select Your Template: Blogger has several templates. Select one that represents your unique flair.

Getting a Blogger Account

This tutorial will also help you set up your blog. Pay particular attention to the comments section which will show you how to you select the setting which will allow you to moderate comments.

Blogging Responsibly

Tools to assess student blogging:
  1. This blogging rubric is a useful tool for evaluating your own blogging effort and the posts of your students. external image msword.png ResearchBlogRubric2.doc
  2. This excellent post describes an process for evaluating student blog writing, Making Assessment Personally Relevant (Blog of Proximal Development; Konrad Glogowski). Visit his flickr site to find screenshots for the assessment tools he uses with notes (the square boxes on the images) that illustrate his expectations of his grade eight students and student samplers.

Picture_3.pngFinding blogs of professional interest.
The best way to find new blogs is to begin by reading the blogrolls of your favourite bloggers. For example, when you are Joyce Valenza's blog if you scroll down the left hand side of her blog you find her blogroll which is a list of the blogs that she find useful and reads regularly.

You may also want to view some of the student, teacher, administrator blogs at Support Blogging.

To create your own blogroll in Blogger you add a page element and choose links. This video tutorial shows you how to add page elements to your blog. (links, polls, video, etc.)


Timeline

Participants are expected to complete this block, The Review, by September 22, 2007.



















Block 1: The Nominees | Block 2: The Review | Block 3: You Oughta be in Pictures | Block 4: Lewis Theatre