How do you use your class blog?


http://9thenglish.blogspot.com/


Once in a while someone stumbles across my work and has a question. I love when that happens because I get a chance to answer it.
"Hello! I found your "Fresh English" class blog and love it! I am wondering how you do your posts every day-do you create them the night before, then post, or do you create them off-site (Google Doc), then copy and paste them into your blog? Any info you can provide is much appreciated. Thanks!"
I've used a blog to manage my classroom since 2006, first as a newsletter and then as a daily management tool. For the first four school years I was using a blog while teaching American Lit. Last year I switched to 9th grade and opted to create a new blog for my freshmen. That's the one she stumbled on and asked about.

I do a great deal of detailed long term planning with my PLC, (I've blogged about them before here and here.) After that I create the blog posts as needed based on our long term plan. Usually, I am writing the blog post in the afternoon and using the scheduling tool in blogger to have the post go live just before my students arrive. When I get behind I do have a bit of time to pull a post together in the morning if I need to, but I prefer to get them done before I leave campus.

On occasion, there are things I need to discuss with students before posting, so sometimes I even write a post during class while students are working. Often I will edit a post with students as well based on their feedback. I want them to see how easily I can make the changes and that I am responding to their advice. I try to think of it as authentic shared writing and not "you messed up Jen and now the students have to help you get it right." Of course all typos in my classroom blogs are deliberate attempts to encourage students to correct me.

I typically compose straight into the post editor in blogger. Class blog posts are heavy on numbered lists, links and images. It's just easier to pull all that together in the blogger editor.  I sometimes use Docs to write posts for this professional blog, especially if I am expecting to go through a lot of revision or if I need to use the research bar a lot.

The best part of the class blog, as I have said before, is the automatic archiving.  That makes it so simple for me to search my own blog and find similar lessons I have done before. With my freshmen I was creating all the posts from scratch because it was my first year teaching 9th grade. With my American Lit class blog I was often able to reuse, copy and paste, bits and pieces of previous lessons that had similar directions or resources. That often saved me a lot of time.

My class blogs are a crucial part of my mostly paperless classroom. If you think you don't have time to write blog posts just think of all the time you won't be spending in the copy room. And if you have a question about 1:1 or class blogs or anything else edtechy just post a comment here or find me on Twitter @JenRoberts1