Posted by: Kathy Cassidy | September 7, 2008

I Love Classblogmeister

I really do.My new class of six year olds (actually some are still five) has begun their blogging adventure, and I have been reminded about how exciting blogging with this great tool can be.

Last week I held my Grade One Parent Night, and I used the blog of one of the students from the year before to demonstrate the dramatic change in children’s writing in the first grade.The parents were riveted by the fact that their child would have a similar online portfolio.During the presentation, I mused aloud “if you have some free time tomorrow at 1:00, come and give us a hand getting started with our blogs”.Four adults showed up (actually, I did too so that makes five).What a difference it made to have so much help.There is a feature in Classblogmeister that allows students to choose the colours in their backgrounds instead of the provided templates.It is a bit complicated for young students, so I don’t usually mention this feature until after Christmas.With so much help, the students were able to all choose their background colours, select a title, tell an adult a couple of things about themselves to be included in the “about me” section AND write their first blog entry. They were enthralled with what they had created.

By the next morning, someone’s parent had commented on her blog, so we all had to have a look.That led to us to checking everyone’s blog to see how many “reads” each one had had.Thanks to a workshop of teachers from Grand Forks who had talked to my class via the Yackpack on our class blog during the morning and had promised to check out what we did in the afternoon, almost everyone had at least 15 page reads, and one child had 35.Huge grins all around.The child who told me, “I don’t know how to write” and “I don’t know what to say” visibly sat up straighter in his chair when he saw that he had eighteen reads.He is now beginning to think of himself as a writer.The addition of the “page reads” feature was a brilliant stroke by David Warlick when he created Classblogmeister.

This year, David added a new feature that allows the blogs of my “orphaned” students from last year to be picked up by their new teacher.This means that they can continue to blog and show their growth in the same online space—a two-year portfolio.The only thing better would be if their grade three teacher would allow them to blog as well.

I love that nothing is posted online unless I see it first.I love that there is a Classblogmeister Yahoo email group where users can ask and answer questions.I love how responsive David Warlick is to questions and suggestions that users have.But most of all I love the fact that my students have an audience can begin to see their place in a global community.

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Responses

  1. Hi Kathy
    I’m hoping to get a few of our lower school teachers interested in blogging this year. Your class is an inspiration!

  2. Hi Kathy!

    I am embarking on my first class blog with blogmeister this year. I am excited but a bit nervous. Waiting for permissions to finish coming in….

  3. In the interest of full disclosure — I am not always that responsive. As most CB users know, I make most of my income from public speaking — and over the next two weeks, I’ll be in China. So my responsiveness will depend on such things as access to Wifi, time available, and what I ate last night 😉

    再見

  4. Maureen and Sheryl,
    Good luck with your blogging. I think you’ve figured out that I’m addicted to Classblogmeister and I know you’ll have a good experience.
    David,
    Yes, CB users know that you are extremely busy, and are all amazed that you are able to respond as quickly as you do. Thanks for all you do for us!

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  6. Hello Kathy,

    This sounds great. I am a librarian and I would love to try this with my first grade classes. Hopefully their teachers will work with me on this. This is a great collaboration project for me. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. I love your idea of having a parent night to explain blogging to parents. I plan to do that next year with my first graders. I’ll leave my current blog as is so I can show parents what we did this year. How do you start a blog with new kids in the fall? Do you delete your entire blog from the previous year and start over? I’d like to think that my previous class might want to go back to it occasionally. Love to hear how you handle this. Thanks for your willingness to share your experiences with those of us who are hungry to learn.

  8. Hi Jan,
    The only way to create a totally new blog in Classblogmeister is to use a new email address. I know some teachers that do this–they have a different blog for each year that they blog.
    Classblogmeister has a feature that allows you to “orphan” the students from your class instead of deleting their pages. They are still there on the web, just not linked to anything. This is what I do. In the spring, I tell the parents that I will be doing this, to allow them time to bookmark their child’s blog. I leave the student’s blogs up over the summer so that they can continue to blog, but orphan them just before I put up the new student’s blogs. That way, the url of my blog stays the same.


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