Blogging Workshop

Blogging Workshop
Professional Development - Blogging
Time Frame:
1/2 to 1 Day
Teachers will work individually, in small groups and as a whole group to explore existing blogs, discuss the affordances and constraints of using blogs in the classroom, and learn the basics of creating posts and comments.
  1. What is a blog? (Jigsaw) - Teachers' create own definition/explanation
    • Process:
      • Step 1 - Form groups of 3-4 (works best if you teach different grade levels or subjects) and have each teacher select a different resource (see list below)
      • Step 2 - Individually, write bullet notes summarizing what their resource tells them about blogs
        • Option 1 - good, old fashioned index cards
        • Option 2 - any text program
      • Step 3 - As a group of 3-4, using the notes you each gathered while exploring your resource, draft an explanation of what a "blog" is for a parent audience
        • Option 1 - as a comment/reply to a blog post (best option for modeling the use of a blog while learning about blogs)
        • Option 2 - as a comment/discussion on a wiki page
        • Option 3 - on a wiki page for each group on main page
      • Step 4 - Affordances/Constraints Chart for teachers to add notes to as they work on other parts of the workshop and give them a few minutes to brainstorm affordances/constraints
    • Jigsaw Resources:
  2. How have others used blogs?
  3. Blogging Basics - Creating a blog post
    • Demonstration of basic skills
      • Make a new Post
      • Add and format text
      • Add links to another website
      • Tagging
      • Challenges - Add an image or file
    • Learn/Practice blogging skills (can be done in pairs)
      • Add a post that answers the question, How do you foresee integrating blogs into your classroom, plc, school, or district?
      • If working in pairs, follow the practice of switching who is operating the computer every 5 minutes (facilitator can use a timer)
      • When helping others, practice the "soccer rule" - No Hands, meaning you can help with your words and pointing, but don't touch their computer
    • Read the other pairs' posts and select one to comment on
  4. Revisit affordances/constraints
    • In groups of 4, revisit your list of affordances and constraints now that you have used the tool some more.
    • Select the top 3 affordances (challenge, put them in order) and top 2 constraints
    • As a whole group share your lists and post to a wiki page (preferably in a table format similar to the 4 quadrant chart
  5. Project Design Time
    • Leader can quickly overview projects not visited during Annotated Blog list above
      • Reflective or writing journals
      • Assignment submission and review
      • Dialogue for group work
      • E-portfolios
      • Create diary entries for a fictional character or historical figure
    • Discuss what elements of projects get at the affordances of the tool
      • Comments/Discussion
      • Multimodal
      • Pair/group work
      • Work at school or home (anytime/anywhere)
      • Ability to view others projects (and comment)
    • Design Time
      • Option 1: Create a teacher blog (students could still submit content to the teacher for this)
      • Option 2: Create a class blog
      • Option 3: Modify/Create a blogging activity plan for your class
      • Option 4: Create a example blog post/project to exemplify what you want (or counter example)
      • Option 5: Create a student resource to help them with a blogging activity (posting, replying, etc.)
      • Option 6: Jump ahead and start working on an assessment tool (see below)
      • Option 7: Decide how you want to manage your project(s) in general
  6. Assessment - Depending on needs/interest, this section could require additional time
  7. Reflection (Which of these can be moved to a section above?)
    • What skills, content, standards are being met when students blog? What older activities can be retired that were meant to hit those same skills, content, or standards?
    • How much direct instruction is needed? Assessment? Are students better served by just doing it? How do you balance those?
    • How do you build a classroom community of writers? How do you build a virtual community of writers? How do you build a blended community of writers?
    • How does the change in audience affect students and their writing? How do we safely expand that audience?
    • How should the concepts of digital footprints and internet safety be integrated into your work with students?
  8. Q & A - Make sure participants know that this should be going on throughout the workshop, not to save their questions for the end. If there are questions that can't be addressed in the moment, model the use of a ThinkTank.
  9. Notes - as written, this is a very fast paced 1/2 day workshop. It would probably be better run a bit slower as a full day workshop. This would allow for more depth and time to collaborate on project development. Below are modifications to consider for a full day workshop:
    • Give teachers more time to look at existing uses of blogs and have them annotate 4-5 blogs/projects/posts
    • Give teachers time to create the first post of their blog, welcoming students, parents, and other educators
    • Have educators work in pairs to create two projects, one for each classroom. Having a partner/editor can generate worthwhile discussions, interesting questions, and projects more likely to succeed the first time. It also will result in less technical questions and more time for the facilitator to focus on the projects being designed.
    • Have educators determine how they would assess this project and the students' process. (They may not want to assess the students very first project with this new tool, but it could be used for students to reflect on their projects at the end.)
  • To understand how blogs can be used for curricular projects
  • To understand the affordances/constraints of blogs
  • To learn basic blogging skills
  • To modify/create a project to use in the classroom in the next week or two
  • To observe a few pedagogy/management methods
  • You could assess the projects teachers design
  • You could assess the implementation of teachers' projects
  • You could assess the teachers' reflective editing of their project upon completion with the students
  • Already linked in Tasks section above


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Jordy Whitmer