On my Internet journey through student blogs, I discovered Ava’s Blog: Ava’s Words of Wisdom. Ava’s blog and the blog/website of her teacher, Mrs. Kriese, gave me more inspiration for how to approach blogging in my own classroom than my brain is capable of holding at one time. So, let’s look at the parts to keep my brain from actually exploding.
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What I found most impressive about both Ava’s and Mrs. Kriese’s blogs is that both are places of significant amounts of activity that leads to learning. Too often, classroom activities such as blogs, are begun and then fall off the radar. These classroom activities are often abandoned as the year progresses and more pressing matters take the attention of either the teacher or the students. The blogs of Mrs. Kriese and her students (of whom Ava is one) evidence constant use as a collaborative/reflective space and a resource/reference space over the course of the entire school year.
I want what Ava and Mrs. Kriese have!
- Links, Links, and MORE Links to Blogs: Both Ava’s and her teacher’s blog include links to many other blogs: author’s blogs (e.g. Louis Lowry), classrooms from around the world (e.g. Mr. Webb’s Class in New Zealand and Mrs. Gorgana’s Class in Serbia), student’s blog (both her classroom students and through other classrooms), teacher’s from the same Ava’s school that Ava has a teacher also.
- Resources Galore: On the full class blog site, Mrs. Kriese has numerous videos, podcasts, hot links, readings, among other media that are resources for the work that the students are doing in the classroom (e.g. Phantom of the Opera, “A Christmas Carol”, “voice” in writing). She also includes links to many resources that will assist the students to bring a little bling to their own blogs under the tab “Get Creative” on her class blog.
- Prompt Links: Mrs. Kriese has her students do whole class writing on certain prompts (e.g. Ava’s piece “Advice on Seventh Grade“) and on class projects for publication (e.g. “Hit the Road” Students Recommended Sites to Visit in Austin). Mrs. Kriese also includes a number of prompt opportunities that allow the student to have choice in his or her topic and to get ideas from a variety of places that can offer different perspectives under the tab “Writing Prompts,” (e.g. New York Times Learning Blog).
- Mrs. Kriese Writes: Finally, Mrs. Kriese herself has a blog and links her blog to the classroom blog for students to see her work, read her thoughts, and to know that she models and practices what she preaches.