Last week I started a classroom blog for my AP Statistics classes. I can tell that I am really going to enjoy using a blog with my classes. I wanted to start using more technology with my students, but didn't really know where to start. It was overwhelming to consider all of the technological choices. Plus, I am on a deadline. My students need to be ready to take the AP Exam the first week of May. I didn't have time to waste.
A blog seemed ideal because I could use all of the curricular material that I have currently. I started by retyping a quiz I usually use to review students before the test into a Google form that could be embedded into my blog. I then used the WOW cart of laptops for the students to complete the form in pairs. For the next day I posted two problems from assigned homework for the students to solve by posting a comment. In class I used the blog when going over the homework to review the comments that were posted. My most recent post is a set of Quizlet flashcards for them to use to review terms relating to our current topic of study.
My Weblog has become an interactive part of my instruction. I can post announcements, homework problems, review materials, a countdown gadget to the AP Exam, photos of my class, and my favorite books that relate to statistics. Of course I could do some of this at my school website, but a blog is incredibly easier. Plus, students wouldn't be able to comment on my school website. The best part is that when the school year is over, I am going to have a record of my course organized with labels for easy reference.
Will Richardson provided a list of classroom uses of weblogs in his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. A few of his suggestions are listed below:
- Provide examples of classwork, vocabulary activities, or grammar games.
- Provide online readings for your students to read and react to.
- Invite student comments or postings on issues in order to give them a writing voice.
- Publish examples of good student writing done in class.
- Showcase student art, poetry, and creative stories.
- Create an online book club.
- Build a class newsletter, using student written articles and photos they take.
- Post tasks to carry out project based learning tasks with students.
- Post prompts for writing.
View the video Blogs in Plain English embedded below for more information on blogging.