Friday, February 12, 2010

"And I am blogging now because my teacher told me I had to."

What did you think of the blogging experience? Answer any or all of these questions (or give us some other insightful comments that related back to our readings, etc). Did you have a hard or easy time finding a blog you were interested in following? Have you ever blogged before? Do you see yourself continuing to use blogs as a professional resource? Would you consider using blogging as an instructional tool to get your students reflecting and writing?


Christine Southard said...

Technology has freed me. I blog professionally and my fifth grade students also blog. I believe that blogging has had a positive impact on my professional career because I've been able to read about and make connections with educators that I never would have known/met before. Prior to technology, my knowledge after college was limited to the information shared at the building I worked in or the journals I subscribed to. Now, through blogs, social networking and online webinars and chats, my knowledge of teaching and learning has grown in leaps and bounds, and in real time, thanks to the Internet.

For my students, blogging has given them access to a venue and audience that goes way beyond the original audience they had when they only used pencil and paper. I'm an inclusion teacher, and ALL students are much more motivated to learn and apply their writing skills when they realize that their blog will not only be read by their teacher(s) and parents, but their peers and anyone else that chooses to visit their blog. The students love to receive comments too. (Moderated by their teachers of course.) Receiving a comment on your blog is exciting for kids, and it makes them even more excited about blogging some more. (Shhh... They're actually learning literacy skills when they're reading and writing blogs).

I have found blogging to be a positive experience for teachers and students.

Beth Poss said...

Adult bloggers love to receive comments, too! Thanks for contributing your thoughts on blogging here.

Matt W said...

Okay, so as you know i have been trying to find an educational blog that interests me. I tried two others last week and did not get any responses. Then i noticed that the blogs were really old and there wasn't many comments. So, i found another blog on Middle Schools. There were about 60 comments on this one, so i responded to it. Since my last post nobody has made any comments. I'm starting to think that i might just be bad at this blogging stuff. :) If anybody would like to add a comment to the blog, that would be great.
Thanks guys.

Beth Poss said...

It is disappointing when you put yourself out there on the web with a blog post or a comment and no one responds, but that is all a part of the blogging experience--for good or bad. Keep chugging along and keep participating in blogs that interest you, because when a complete stranger does respond and you engage in a conversation on a global level, it is a really gratifying and thought provoking experience!

ccelli16 said...

Would you like us to post our Web Filtering reflection assignment under this post or somewhere else? I have been following my blog for two weeks now and am excited to share!

Beth Poss said...

Yes, please post your reflection on blogging right here as a comment!

ccelli16 said...

The blog I chose to follow for the Web Filtering/Blog Assignment project was the NY Times Learning Blog. You can find this blog at I searched the web for a week looking for a blog that could be useful to regular classroom teachers as well as have specific information I would find useful as a Physical Education teacher. Most blogs I found that were geared towards PE/health teachers were out of date or they updated only about local/regional sports teams in their areas. In my job I need to stay informed on the national and global level sporting events happening every day. I like to keep my students excited about what is happening around them and link it to the skills and concepts in our curriculum. For example, last weekend was the State Wrestling Tournament held at Cole Field House at the University of Maryland. Not only did I want my students to know about this event and perhaps attend it with their families, but I could use it to tie into our unit on balance and weight transfer. All of a sudden students who were reluctant to participate in a skill “only for gymnastics” were excited to try challenging balance positions and could see how it applied to their interests.
What is unique about the learning blog is that it creates educational resources for students and teachers based on takes articles, posts, videos, and pictures published daily in the NY Times. It offers lesson plan ideas divided by content, a student corner which invites students to reflect and respond on various topics and issues, teaching tools like graphic organizers, words of the day, crossword puzzles for students, a section that is aimed to help teachers learn more about teaching, and (my personal favorite) a wellness blog! I can see teachers of all subjects and all grades using this website every day with their students. An idea for secondary teachers could be to have the blog posted as the students enter the class. They could then use the student opinion section and have the students do a warm-up written reflection on the topic and share it to begin the class. As a homework or in-class activity the teacher could ask the students to complete a K-W-L chart from the blog for a topic, this could then lead to further research to be completed outside or inside class. Teachers of any grade could use the “Times Storyboard” to retell any article via pictures and captions. Or all teachers could use the blog for their own purposes to keep up to date with current events and find ways to link it to their own curriculum.

ccelli16 said...

Part Two!!!
As I stated earlier, my favorite part of the Learning Network Blog was the wellness blog connected to it ( I found this section linked to an article posted on the learning network blog about the Olympics two weeks ago. Although this section is not as student-friendly as the learning network blog, it is really relevant to my interests and job. Although I read a number of blog posts and comments I chose to comment only twice so far. (I say “so far” because I am sure I won’t be able to resist adding my two cents every once in a while.) The first blog post that caught my attention was an article about US children snacking constantly on bad food. You can read my comment at my comment was number 159 and people are still commenting. So far, no one has made any comments directly to my post but the conversation is ongoing so we’ll have to wait and see. My second comment was not quite as professional as the first because it involved my own personal interests in soccer. The article was about the health benefits linked to competitive soccer for adult females. I posted my comment at the following link my comment was number 27. Once again, no one has commented directly towards my comment but I can always hope! I have discussed both articles with my students since my postings. Right now my younger students are learning about healthy food and activity choices. I thought it was a great time to discuss the issue of snacking and I created a tag game where they had to make name a healthy food choice to become un-frozen. They loved it! I also brought up the topic of team sports with my older students and how important it is to choose a social sport they are interested in and will hopefully become a lifelong sport. I discussed the soccer article and my blog comment with my students as an example for how soccer (MY LOVE) has been such a big part of my life and is in fact keeping me healthy in many ways. Some of my students were really interested and found many links to their own lives as well. I see myself using this blog as well as others in the future as a personal tool and as a teaching tool. I just may be hooked.

TINA said...

The Blog I decided to follow is ISTE stands for The International Society for Technology in Education. It’s a site where educators can benefit from “professional development, knowledge generation, advocacy and leadership;” a place for educators to share ideas and generate new ones. I had a hard time finding one and an even harder time following it. I have never blogged before and I’m not quite sure if blogging is for me, or perhaps it won’t be until I find something that really works for me. I found it time consuming, more because the site didn’t lend itself to a lot of discourse. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading the information, but responding was difficult for me. I received 2 responses to my blog response. The first post I responded to was to a 7th grader who was voicing her opinion about technology in the classroom ( I thought it was great that a student so desired to have a chance at using technology to enhance their learning. The simple fact that it came from someone who is directly affected by it and not someone who would implement it because it was part of their teaching practice intrigued me. My second response ( regarded how educators collaborate using technology. This was actually the response I got from “George” who just-so happens to work in the county and wanted to be a part of MCPS 2.0 and asked that I invite him. That was exciting because I would never have thought that the person around the corner would be following the same blog I am, considering how vast the internet is. My last response ( was about using presentation tools in the classroom. This interested me because we have promethean boards. The person who wrote this blog post sent me an email to my MCPS account thanking me for responding to her post. I responded back through email. I thought that was nice of her! Overall, it was good experience and I do plan on checking in on my blog choice in the future.

Beth Poss said...

Sounds like you had a really interesting blogging experience--how great to see a student reply (talk about bridging the generation gap!), and also to connect with a fellow MCPS educator on a national (even international, perhaps!) forum.
Small world, indeed. ISTE does have a great blog. I am getting some good ideas for an upcoming session for our class after reading a post there this week....

ccelli16 said...

Thanks Tina for your ISTE blog.
I really liked the way the webpage was laid out. I found it easy to navigate and it had a lot of different blog posts and comments for a variety of topics. I took some time to read the blog posting about Skyping in the classroom. I know of a teacher who uses it to talk with their "sister school" in India. It is really cool for the kids to see what a classroom is like in a country so far away. On your website I also found it interesting that a teacher used it with a student who had broken her leg and couldn't come to school. I thought that was such a great idea because not only could the child keep up with what was being learned but they could interact with other students and the teacher. I could see that in the future we may use tools like Skype to totally change the dynamic of the classroom.

David said...

Part 2 -

Slowly I noticed people respond to his post in comment form. One person inquired about how Karl might be doing his daughter’s homework for her. I like how he posted the comment in a joking way and using a smiley so it wouldn’t be take the wrong way. Karl quickly responds by way of a comment. As time goes on, more comments trickle in. A few days later, I posted a question to Karl about the results of the assignment. (I noticed unlike Beth’s blog, his blog is not moderated since my post appeared on the blog immediately at Unfortunately, after this point, no more postings have been made to the blog yet and I did not receive a response. Through this activity, I have come to realize that some blogs seem to be very active for a period of time and then quiet for awhile. Given there were a number of postings in late February, I was thinking there would be more opportunities for responding to postings in early March. I’m going to continue exploring other blogs and look for more active blogs to participate in and follow. Although I didn’t receive a response to my post, I did use a blog to help a fourth grader in Colorado collect data for her homework assignment. Nevertheless, I know I have learned a lot about blogs and how their possibilities really are endless. I continue to be fascinated by the possibilities of web 2.0.

David said...

From our previous class discussions, I was glad to hear I’m not the only one coming in with little experience with blogs. As much as I use the internet for my daily and professional life, blogs are one area I somehow skipped over. I had never even read a blog up until a few weeks ago. This assignment gave me a reason to begin learning about the positive and negative aspects of blogging.

I explored the web for awhile looking at various types of blogs. For the Web Filtering/Blog Assignment, I chose to follow a blog called The Fischbowl. This blog can be found at The title of the blog initially grabbed my attention. I read the biography of the blogger. His name is Karl Fisch (hence “the Fischbowl”) and he has been teaching for over twenty years. He is currently Director of Technology at a high school in Colorado. Surely, this is a man I could learn a few things from. Not only has he been teaching much longer than I have, he seems to know a few things about technology.

Being unfamiliar how this all works, I decided to monitor the blog for about a week before attempting to post anything. I saw the blog was pretty active in February, but for awhile checking in became disappointing for me because nothing new was posted. After learning about RSS feeds, I recognized the RSS icon on the blog. I clicked on it and set up an RSS feed to my Google Reader account. I also noticed there was the option to subscribe to posts and comments via email as well. I did that as well just to compare. I’m not in the habit of checking my Google Reader, but regularly check my email. I found this more efficient than constantly checking the blog. This will be a huge timesaver if I begin following multiple blogs.

On Saturday, March 6th, my patience with the blog paid off. “Trivia Survey for a 4th Grade Math Lesson” was posted. In this post, Karl Fisch was asking his audience for input. He created a brief survey to assist his daughter with a homework assignment. I noticed the survey form says “powered by Google docs.” I have limited experience with Google docs, but never thought of integrated them into a blog. That’s something I would like to try at some point. I took the survey and noticed the results were displayed in spreadsheet format as a Google docs file inside the blog. It was amazing to see all of the places people were taking the survey from. (If you scroll down eventually you’ll see my data with location as “Maryland.”) I think that’s great. What a quick way to poll people all over the world. I remember doing a similar assignment in elementary school and getting on the phone and trying to call people on the phone to poll. I’ve also noticed how some people use their Facebook page to take an informal poll. This is kind of a more formal way of doing the same thing.

On Sunday, March 7th, Karl posted the entry “Sometimes This Stuff Still Amazes Me.” Here he reflects on the process he went through in creating the survey and collecting the data. He mentions how he quickly received about 300 responses in a day’s time! Wow! Makes me wonder how much time would it take to call and poll all those people? Web 2.0 applications can be such a time saver!

Jessica said...

Through this assignment I’ve experienced the ups and downs of the blogosphere. Reading Richard’s chapter on blogs got me excited to use blogs for educational purposes. It would be a space for my students to read, write, and share ideas. However, the actual experience of blogging for the purpose of this assignment was not as easy and constructive as I thought it would be.
I had a difficult time finding a blog to follow. First of all, there were so many of them. I wanted to find a blog that was up to date, with many followers who contribute their personal ideas to topics of my professional interest. Some were outdated, some didn’t have the sense of community for collaboration, and some just weren’t interesting. Also, some blogs were just uninviting in terms of visual aspects (we’ve mentioned this before in our previous discussions on ELC.) It took me awhile until I found the coolcatteacher blog. ( She had interesting ideas that involved technology and education and updated new information daily. So I posted several comments and waited for them to be posted and hopefully to be replied (the blogger moderated the comments.) However, I checked back the next day and my comments were not posted. She had added new contents to the blog so she must have seen my comment requests. I checked back many times and they were yet to be posted. I was very disappointed. But there was no time to waste since the due date for this assignment was coming near so I went searching for a different blog. One positive thing about the coolcatteacher blog was the blogroll. She has a list of blogs that she followed as links on her site. I looked through them and came to 2Cents Worth. ( It has met all my “criteria” and the layout was very clean and inviting, more so than the coolcatteacher blog (no bitterness intended ) It was managed by David Warlick, a verteran educator/administrator who created the class blogmeister and the citation machine. I found his ideas on educational technology to be extremely thought provoking. He had insightful posts centered on the use of technology in classrooms. I commented on his post called 5 Tips for Communicating. He talked about how the readers have a choice of what they want to read that is published online. We, as writer on the internet, are competing for attention. He suggested 5 simple ways to “get heard.” I thought it was very useful for me since I’m a newcomer to the blogosphere ( ). I also commented on his post about creating a wimpy self, like the book The Diary of a Wimpy Kid ( ). One of his current posts was about what the technology infused classroom should look like ( ). I found it extremely helpful because he gave me some guidelines to create a learning environment that is powered by technology. It served as a model and listed the “look-for’s” as I infuse technology more into my daily instruction. His posts reaffirmed the usefulness of using technology as a tool to drive instruction and learning.
I think blogging is such a powerful tool for both educators and students. Following blogs such as 2Cents Worth will help me grow professionally; it will help me be aware of some of the most current issues in education. However, I think we have to be careful when we follow blogs (or anything that is published on the internet) because it is a personally managed page filled with opinions that can quite often be skewed based on the blog master’s beliefs. I definitely see myself using blogs with my students. As the digital divide closes in, blogging will be an exceptional tool that will not only engage, but motivate students to learn in a multidimensional approach. I would like to create a blog where the students, parents, and colleagues can come together and voice their ideas on things surrounding our community, classroom, and curriculum.

David said...


I also found the actual experiencing of blogging for this assignment to be harder than I thought it would be. I’m sorry to hear how your comments were never posted on the first blog. I wonder why. I think that brings up an interesting thought. If a blog is moderated, the blogger has control over what is posted. I’m not at all saying that is what happened in your situation, but a blogger can very easily filter posted responses to convey a certain view on a topic or reaction to a post. I think it’s just something to keep in mind as we read posts and comments. We’ve talked so much about reliability of what we read on the internet.

I took a look at David Warlick’s website and noticed he has a link to a wiki. He admits that his wiki is an experiment. I noticed he has pages on a variety of topics, such as social networking for educators and podcasting for educators. A great benefit of using a wiki in this case would be that anyone can add their own knowledge on these topics. For instance, if I had extensively used podcasting in my classroom, I could edit the page and share my knowledge and experience with others.

On his blog, I noticed he has a “listen now” link. I clicked on it and it read the blog contents to me. This would be great for using a blog with ESOL students or struggling readers in the classroom!


Beth Poss said...

Love reading all of your comments here and on the blogs that you chose to follow. An important thing to realize, is that not every blogger is able to respond to every comment. That is however, a part of the blogging experience. Blogging for a class activity could of course be different, especially, if you were trying to give feedback to your students on their writing/blogging. I often look at the role of a blogger as a facilitator of a conversation--sometimes you add to the conversation, and sometimes you monitor it. Kind of a bummer though that CoolCatTeacher did not respond to your email.
Blogging on a much smaller scale than either her or Karl Fisch, I do try to respond to comments regularly (and of course b/c I am trying to give you all feedback for this class!), but I know when educators that I follow respond directly to me, it is a very cool personal connection :)

ccelli16 said...

I really like the way David Warlick's blog is so easy on the eye. I think that is definitely something to consider when creating a blog or wiki. I can't count the number of blogs I skipped over when doing research for this project simply because they didn't catch my attention. "2 cents worth" is easy to navigate, colorful, the font is easy to read, it has some pictures, but it is not cluttered. This is an interesting balance that bloggers need to perfect or they will turn away readers without even knowing it. Something to consider for sure when we are creating our wiki.
Thanks for sharing.

Kory said...

I spent awhile searching blogs on yahoo and google trying to decide on one to follow. I was not a huge fan of many of the ones I kept finding because they did not seem to have any bearing for me and my current professional life. I finally ended up settling on this one: Free Technology for Teachers ( It is a blog run by “Mr. Byrne” who posts new and interesting free technologies that have educational uses. He also posts interesting articles and events that he hears about for technologically inclined educators. In just the few weeks that I have been following this blog I have discovered SO many other interesting and amazing technologies and they are all FREE!

I commented on a few of his posts ( , , and a few others) mainly thanking him for the ideas and telling him about how I could see using the technologies personally or passing them on to others. I also asked him ( if he knew about how to get around the MCPS blockage on one of the free webhosting sites he mentioned (I actually ended up talking to our ISS about it, and think I have it figured out now). He did not reply to any of my comments, nor did anyone else, but I am not too terribly hurt by that.

Before this experience I had previously visited and followed a few friends’ blogs, but they were primarily recreational/inspirational and not used for educational/professional development. Now that I have found this blog, and read about a few others from the experiences of other students in the cohort, I will definitely continue to follow blogs as a professional resource.

I had not really considered using a blog as an instructional tool either before this experience but am now VERY excited about the possibilities that it warrants. I actually used one of the links that “Mr. Byrne” provided and started a classroom website that has a blog feature. I haven’t fully finished setting it up yet, but would love to see my students answering readers response questions on our classroom blog or posting ideas for class assignments, etc. The possibilities are seemingly endless!

Amy said...

I have had some positive and negative experiences with this new world of blogging. When I first heard the assignment I was thinking "Well, that sounds easy. How hard can it be?". I quickly realized that it was not as easy as I was expecting. I started off confused on what exactly I was supposed to do wich led me into researching different blogs on a topic I was interested in. I decided to find a blog that was educational but also one with technology. This was not an easy task. There are so many blogs out there I found myself submerged in information.

I ended up finding a blog from a teacher who was blogging about her attempts to incoorporate technology into the classroom. I thought this would be a good blog to follow since the reason I am in this program is to learn new forms of technology. It seemed like the teacher would be posting every 2 weeks or so. On her last post (March 1) she wrote about how she tried to give the studnets an assessment on google docs. She went on to say how it didnt quite work out the wasy she had planned. I found her blog to be interesting since I could relate. I like to try new ways to incorporate technology but they may not always work out the way I intended. After reading this blog I explored google docs to see what it was about. I still have not fully grasped how to navigate through it but once I do I think it would be a useful tool! I cant wait to fully understand google docs and use it in my classroom. I posted a comment on her page posting a question and she never responded. I then saw that I was her only follower. This led me to locate a new blog to follow.

The new blog that I decided to follow was information on new forms of technology called The Persuit of Technology Intergration Happiness( I found this blog very useful. There were a lot of interesting applications and tools that could be used in the classroom. I posted a comment to the March 13th post since I found that one to be the most useful. There were some great applications on that post such as picaaboo, which is an online photo book that you can create, and also preceden, which is a program that you can use to make timelines.

I have never blogged myself and have never really read a blog. I have heard of it before but it never really interested me. I do not think that I will ever create a blog for my personal use. It seems to be very time comsuming which I do not have a lot of! I wouldn't want to disappoint my readers (if there were any) by not posting regularly. I do think that I would continue to check the second blog that I have decided to follow. There are some interesting posts and some useful ones that I could use in the classroom. I think blogging as an instructional tool sounds like it would be a great idea! I do not know how my 2nd graders would do with blogging but it might be worth a try.

Rebecca said...

The blog that I decided to follow for 2 weeks was “My Wonderful World blog” (a.k.a. MWW) ( The underlying theme of this blog is internationalism and geography. The bloggers are definitely knowledgeable and passionate about different cultures, world events, and taking care of the planet. However, these are the very things that made me feel intimidated and hesitant about commenting on their blog. I felt like I didn’t have the credentials or experience that qualified me to respond. I found myself racking my brain trying to think of something profound to say, or at least something that would be worthwhile for the blogger to read. On one particular entry (, the blogger was introducing herself as a new intern for My Wonderful World. She was speaking of her experience in Rome, and I was able to recognize several of the images that she posted on her blog from when I was teaching the unit on ancient Rome a few weeks ago. The blogger made a particular statement about traveling and experiencing the world, which really resonated with me. She said that she felt a greater connection and responsibility to the world as a result of traveling. I have been trying to express this idea to my students every time we learn about a new culture. Seeing that we are a 6th grade World Studies classroom, geography and culture are topics of significant relevance. We throw around the word “global citizen” all the time, and I was thrilled to see that the blogger was highlighting this point with her entry (connection to others and stewardship to the world)! Anyway, this is something that I am passionate about, and because of this, my fear and intimidation was replaced by a desire to connect and be understood. This is what gave me the courage to comment on her entry.

Rebecca said...

That was my first time commenting on a “true” blog. I say that because to my surprise, I found out from the Richardson reading that blogs are the entry into a “global conversation” and that journaling is not necessarily blogging. Blogs engage the audience with provocative ideas and questions and connects the audience with relevant resources. So I used these standards to see how MWW measured up to Richardson’s standards and found that the MWW set up numerous situations for the public to learn and share. They provided links and opportunities for discussion. For example, one entry ( mentioned that this week was “Geography Awareness Week”, and they posted up a challenge to practice conservation of water. They had a link to another website that gave over 100 ideas/ways to conserve water. MWW opened it up to the public and requested that we share our own water-saving stories. This is something that our students, school, and community can get involved in. In fact, I responded to this post telling the blogger our annual Green Day and how it is an entire day dedicated to informing and involving the community about geography and being responsible citizens to earth. I haven’t received a response to this comment yet, but I am checking at least twice a day anticipating a response from the blogger! This made me think about how motivating it would be for the kids to comment so they can see a response. In fact, like the reading says, I began reading the MWW more frequently (thanks to RSS) not because I wanted to be informed, but so I can find something to comment on! We are “…reading to write, not be shaped by what we read.” (29)

As a side note, I noticed that there were 0-2 comments per blog entry on MWW. After seeing all the other instructional blogs having several comments per entry, it became clear then that this would be a blog that I would definitely read and enjoy because I know that my words will be read and acknowledged by someone. I know that sounds a bit selfish and attention-seeking, but I found great satisfaction when I received a response to my comment.

After reading the different ways that blogging can be used instructionally and professionally, I am so excited at the prospect of creating my own blog for those purposes! I really like the idea of using the blog as a course management tool and having everything I do in class be “transparent” for other people in my school, students, and parents.

Beth Poss said...

I am posting this for Geoff, who has been having difficulty commenting for some reason!

For my blog experience, I followed a blog related to a music notation software called ‘Sibelius’. I have used this software since its first days, and now they are on version 6. The blog they have is more of a discussion forum, but they call it a blog, about the software, the features, what people are using the software for, and even hints and tips on how to more efficiently operate the program. It is a good idea exchange mechanism between the people who use the software, and is even lightly moderated by the company who publishes it. People are able to bounce ideas off each other, and ask and answer questions about how to do things with the software.

I think that my students would benefit from this type of experience, especially if I were able to teach a portion of an Electronic Music class in a high school or middle school setting. The students could log in to and follow this blog to ask questions about the software that I wouldn’t be able to answer. I’m pretty up to date with it, but it is like Access or Excel, there are so many features in it that you could hold a college class just on the software for a semester and not touch on everything that it does.

As far as professionally, I would like to see a blog about new music selections, or even old music selections that people have found good, or bad. Pieces of music to stay away from, or pieces that should be in everyone’s library. I think this would be an excellent resource for music teachers. Even for teachers in general, blogs by subject area could share ideas about how to teach certain material in the courses, or ways that don’t work to teach them and to try to avoid.

I think blogs can be effective tools for students to reflect and write about experiences in school. The comments would certainly need to be moderated so that nothing offensive or derogatory was posted. I think having students participate this way will bring them into the 21st century through using technology. There is always a way for students to access it, either at the school, or via the public library. I don’t think that students who may be economically disadvantaged would be restricted in this type of assignment because there are many ways for students to get to the web