Aug 22, 2015

Using KidBlog in the Classroom

Picture this:

Teacher (thinking): "Open house is coming soon, and I don't have any recent student work on the walls!  So I better finish that art project, that writing project, that math project, and get out my stapler! Plus I have to pull out all of the student work I've been saving all year and pass it out."

Sound familiar? Well, a solution to this problem is blogging! If you have your students start blogging at the beginning of the school year and have them blog once a week or even as little as once a month, you will have student work to share at open house. On open house night, students can log into their blog and display all of the writing and other work that they are proud of, and the parents will be very impressed with their child's blog and tech abilities.

There are a few different blogging platforms, but the one I have used for the past few years is Kidblog.  Kidblog is very easy to use, and you can set up your entire class for free! Plus, Kidblog has had a lot of cool upgrades in the past few months. One of the upgrades includes being able to upload from Google Drive right into a blog post!  Kidblog works anywhere, Chromebooks too! And there is an iPad app!

If you'd like more bells and whistles, though, you can upgrade to a premium account. It is regularly $36/year, but they are offering like a back-to-school special for $29/year. Kidblog is also very safe for students.  You cannot see anything on the blog unless you are logged in (which is why I'm not showing you my class blog from last year).

Next, you might ask, what can students blog about?  Well, they can blog about...just about anything!  My class typed blog entries on many different topics.  If we did an art project, they wrote about how they went about the process of creating their project, or they wrote about what they liked or disliked about their art projects.  If we went on a field trip, they wrote about what they learned. They typed up their informative, narrative, and opinion writing pieces. They wrote about math, and they wrote about science. We also added videos of newscasts and book trailers created on iMovie. We also did some green-screen videos and uploaded them to their blogs.  I also had a page in Kidblog, and I wrote and shared some photos and videos.

Here are a few examples of blog entries from one of my students from last school year. (These are posted with her parents' permission. Also I'd like to note that Lucie is a pretty amazing writer, but is working on her language conventions.)

This is a post about an art project:

Nighttime jungle

This art project is a nighttime jungle. To create this piece of art, I drew plants, animals and flowers. Then I colored most, but not all of my jungle using regular and neon crayons. Then I painted on top of crayon with black paint, and the paint resisted the areas where I had crayon. I hope you like my nighttime jungle!


This is a narrative writing piece, with a green screen video and other photos:

Trapped inside a Snowglobe

Trapped in a Snowglobe

On Christmas Eve we were watching a movie when I fell asleep. A little bit laterI felt fluffy snow on me and I thought I was out side but I wasn't I was in a snowglobe. 5 minutes later, I found foot prints so I followed them and they lead to a underground layer were I saw a evil snowman. After a while, I decided to say something to the president like snowman and I said hi he said hi back then I said why are you in here he said I am the person who trapped you in here. Zapp, he erased my memory then raised out of the layer as fast as he could. When I woke up I saw a very magical magic stick and so I picked it up and then BOOM! It electrocuted me and when it electrocuted me it broke the glass and I fanted. When I woke up I was in my bed fast asleep, and it was all a dream. So when I went to go and look at the snowglobe it was gone I
looked high and low but I could not find it that night I wish upon a star to go back in the snowglobe and when I woke up I was in the snowglobe. But what I didn't know was that there was another me IT WAS MY EVIL TWIN!she had a evil laugh ha ha ha ha ha! And she said I am the one who trapped you in here this time she said in her evil voice and then she said when you left you were still in here and now there are two of us and we must find that snowman so there will still be two of us but you just as evil as me uh I think you got it wrong we will both tern good no yes no yes we started fighting and poof she was gone and now she was just a picture on the snowglobe. In the end, I realized that all she ever wanted was a friend. Hey! If you want to meet this snowman he lives on 322 candy cane lane.

One of the best things about blogging is that students are writing for an audience.  The students can read each other's posts and leave comments. So it is really important to have a mini-lesson on how to leave comments on another student's blog. But the good thing is that the teacher gets to see the comments and decide whether or not they are posted. I always tell my students that they should leave positive feedback and more than just a comment such as "Good job." I have them make a comment that is specific such as, "I like how you used the word "companion" instead of "friend" because that is one of our vocabulary words. You could also ask students to give feedback in the form of a suggestion for how to make a post better or more clear. I also tell students that a proper comment to a blog post only uses one exclamation point, not !!!!!!!!!!!.  You can start easy and then make commenting more advanced as students get better.

Oftentimes, I would give students a template to follow when writing their blog posts to help them.  Here are some examples for you.  I went to a presentation on using blogs in the classroom at a CUE conference, and the presenter gave us some of his templates to use, and I have taken some of those and altered them for my own use.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ My Digital Portfolio 
(Beginning of the year)

I am a ___ grade student in _______'s class. I live in ____ with ________________. At school I like to _______. Out side of school I like to _________________. I have created this digital portfolio to share with my friends, family, and my teacher. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me and my work!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Art Project

This art project is called ____________. To create this artwork, I _________. I am proud of my artwork because ________________. I hope you like my _______________________.

(Post picture of artwork.)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Field Trip

On (date) we went on a field trip to __________.We wanted to learn more about ________.  before our trip, three things I already knew about this topic is ___________, _____________, and _______________.  After our field trip, three new things I learned is __________, __________, and ________. Something I liked about our field trip is ______________. Something I noticed about our field trip is _________________. I still wonder about ________________________.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

End of Year Reflection 

I really liked/disliked third grade.  My favorite part of the year was _______ because ____________.  The part I’ll miss most about this class is ________. Three things I would tell students coming to this class next year would be ________, __________, and ____________.  If I could change anything about this year, it would be ______________.  On to fourth grade!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

So when you are ready to blog and need any assistance, I would love to help!


  1. You're awesome Jeanie! Thank you for these ideas!

  2. Sharing this with my CSUSM teacher tech crew. Jeanie, you are still a super star!