I created this blog in August 2010 as a way to keep in touch with other classrooms that we were meeting on Skype and to share photos and info with the parents of my students. I started with a free Edublogs account to see how things would go. I began posting photos of things we were doing in the classroom and writing posts and story starters that my students would comment on in class. After a month or so, I upgraded to a Pro account so I could embed videos and have more widgets. The parents and students were really enjoying it.
The best widget that I added was the Clustr Map. My students loved seeing where people were logging onto our blog from. It became a geography lesson to figure out the location of each new red dot. We then started wondering who was logging on so I added a “Visitor’s Comment” post and later a “Visitor’s Comment” page. We had comments from relatives of my students who lived in different states telling us how much they enjoyed being able log on and see what was going on in our Pennsylvania classroom. We had a relative from Germany log on to tell us a bit about the city of Berlin and the German money system. Their comments were so exciting to read!! The kids wanted more “red dots” on our map so they began telling everyone they knew to log on. One dad traveled for work so his son asked him to log on from each new city to get us more dots. Mr. Blanco did that but he took it one step further by leaving trivia questions about each new city on our Comment Page. The students enjoyed trying to answer those questions. This blog was taking on a whole new learning experience that I had never even dreamed of! I posted our blog on the International Blog Directory and we started getting more hits. The fact that others around the world were reading our blog was so exciting to us! We enjoyed looking at other classroom blogs in the directory and finding new friends by leaving comments. It was neat to see what other classrooms were doing and it gave us new ideas for our blog.
So in just one year our blog has received 2,247 hits! Our Clustr Map now looks like this:
Last February, I allowed my 3rd grade students to get their own Kidblog account and we took part in the Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge. This challenge helped my students learn more about blogging and make connections with children their age around the world! Because others were looking at their blog, it gave made them work harder to write better posts. Our blogs also became a place to showcase the Web 2.0 projects that we were creating in class. These students will be moving on to 4th grade this year, but I plan to start an after school blogging club for them. They are going to create their own blog with Edublogs now and use it to take part in the next student challenge. Over the summer, I have also been learning more with Edublogs by taking their Teacher Blogging Challenge.
As my blog moves into it’s second year, I get excited thinking about my journey and the new friends we will make. Because Edublogs has now reached the 1 million mark, all basic blog accounts will be advertisement free. Thank you Edublogs for creating this wonderful learning platform to help my students and I flatten our classroom and make connections with others around the world!