I am working on setting up some blogs for my sixth grade math classes. I like the idea of having the students work online. I believe it will be useful to give everyone the ability to contribute to writing a post on what we did in class each day. They will be able to see it at home if they are out sick or away.
I want them to contribute from home. I am working out a method to have it help their math grade. I have been following a post from a math teacher in Canada who has been very happy with his results. He has some great ideas.
Since this is my first time doing this, I have to remember to take it slow. I can always build on this idea in following years.
I have had a fair amount of work getting this first blog set up prepared. I chose Blogger since it is free and I saw other teachers in the US and Canada who seemed successful with the web site.
Next, I had a fair amount of thinking to do. I knew that I wanted a space to keep a journal on what happened in class. Since it was going to be a journal, rather than a collaborative work, I wanted it to be a blog.
I did not like the navigation bar at the top of the screen since I don't want the kids to have easy access to inappropriate web sites. It was not as easy as I would have thought. I finally ended up using Google to search for blogger navbar remove.
I like the idea of indexing all the posts and worked on the "Labels for this post" link at the bottom of the Edit Posts window. Then I had to customize the settings to see it on the main blog page.
I also wanted a contributors list. So I made a fake student (this account) and added it to a test blog. The test blog is useful because I can check things out before I put them on the actual class blogs.
It will be interesting to see where this end up in the final analysis.
Last year, I created a class Geometry wiki with the sixth grade math classes. I liked it, but they only saw it as a computer class project. They didn't contribute from home or outside of class time. I will still create a wiki with this math class, but I will probably make it clear that they should feel free to look at it and edit it from home. Since I am going to have them sign up for a Blogger account, I will also have them make their own wiki account. I have to remember to include that in my parental permission slip.