It IS a small world after all

Classrooms blogs…huh? What could a bunch of kids really have to share with the world….turns out quite a bit. While the world of blogging is quite enormous, it appears that the world of classroom blogging is actually quite small (just like many of it’s participants :)). Many of the classroom blogs I looked at already knew each other and had worked on projects together. And let me tell you, these kids are doing some tremendous things, while making the world a smaller place to live. All three of the blogs that I am going to talk about in this post have worked together on projects even though they are thousands of miles away from each other….Small world, huh?

Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog: Voted Best Class Blog of 2012 by Edublog

These 2nd and 3rd grade students, from the suburbs of Los Angeles, CA, are creating “positive digital footprints through blogging,” as far as Mrs. Yollis is concerned. The students of Mrs. Yollis’ class are making videos to teach other students, posting all about their projects that they do in class, and interviewing people from all over the world. In one post, they interviewed Mr. Mannell, a retired teacher from Australia, via a webcam. During the interview, Mr. Mannell talked about the different animals found in Australia. This activity got me thinking. In a simple interview, the potential teaching points are endless. Not only are these students (2nd and 3rd graders mind you) learning about technology, but a lesson could be taught from every content area with just this one interview. In Writing, they could be working on the questions they will compose for the interview. In Reading, they could be reading a text about Australia so they can have some background information on the country of the interviewee. In Math, they could measure the length of the animals and graph them. In Science, they are learning about animals from other parts of the world…done. In Social Studies, they are learning about other cultures of the world. AMAZING! All from just a simple interview…made possible by technology.
Mrs. Yollis also has something for all the teachers who wish they had a classroom blog, but don’t know where to start. On her classroom blog, she has a link to help other teachers get started with their own classroom blog. Blogging Resources for Teachers. How nice of her! This site has everything you need to know…and maybe more, about starting a classroom blog. She even posted a cute video of her students talking about the benefits of blogging in the classroom. I think Mrs. Yollis knows how to hit that soft spot in your heart, putting those cute little faces up there to lure you in. So stop by her blog and wikispace to see what her class has been up to and learn about how you can also tell the world what your students are doing!

Mr. Avery’s 6th grade bloggers
This group of 36 6th graders are from Massachusetts, but are learning with fellow student bloggers from all over the world. As with many of the classroom blogs that are out there, they post about the stuff they are learning about and doing in the classroom. Each student has their own blog to which they can post about what interests them personally. Checking out a few of them would be a good idea….it’s a peak into the minds and thoughts of 6th graders. 😉
The “Projects” page is really worth taking a peak at too. To me, this is where Mr. Avery is posting the magic. This is all about the great projects that the class is doing…mostly with other classes with blogs around the world. Storybirds is a project that they are doing with an Australian class (that I will be talking about next). Storybird is a website that provides sets of illustrations for students to choose from. Then they invite another student (from anywhere in the world) to build a story around the pictures provided. Check out a few of their stories.
Another project that Mr. Avery’s students are working on is the House Project This project struck my interest because I was just in a class this semester that was learning all about perimeter and area, the basis of this project. In the House project, students work with a partner (from their classroom ;))and design a house. They measure the area and perimeter of each room and then of the entire house to determine the cost. What a real life application and fun project for students to master area and perimeter. Some of the comments about this project were from the actual students stating how they loved this project…yep loved doing area and perimeter. Now that’s a great learning activity! Thanks for sharing Mr. Avery and students!!

Last but not least, 4KM & 4KJ @ Leopold Primary School.
This bunch of 4th graders are from Victoria, Australia and in the classes of Mrs. Kathleen Morris and Miss Kelly Jordan (sounds like they are some lucky kids). This blog is to share the “great things that are happening in our classroom,” and boy are there some great things happening! Just like Mr. Avery’s students, each of these students also have their own personal blogs which are linked from this blog. Speaking of Mr. Avery’s class blog (and Mrs. Yollis’ class blog), they all follow each other! Looking at the list of class blogs that they follow, its not that many…which means that we, as teachers, need to help these guys build that list and create our own classroom blogs!
One thing I noticed about this blog site is that they have a link for Sites for Kids with a list for Literacy, Math, Apps, and more. This is a great kid friendly blog site which makes sense because it is created by kids!!
One of their “Global Projects” is the Monster Project which they work on with Mr. Avery’s students. This project seems fun and educational (always a win win situation). The students are assigned partner (from Mr. Avery’s class) and are asked to draw a picture of a monster. Then they are asked to write a detailed description of that monster. Then the students switch descriptions (via the blog, of course), but not the pictures. Then they draw a monster based on the description that their partner wrote. They learn the importance of being descript. What fun!
Under the bar titled “Learn to Blog,” there is a post about Why they blog. I will let you read that on your own, but I will tell you that it is some pretty powerful stuff and highly convincing! If you ever doubted the reasons or importance of a classroom blog, I know this link will change your mind…it did mine!

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