Hip Hip Hooray!

hip hip horray

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We had another fantastic week in my classroom!  At the end of the week the last blog permission form came back to school.  Now all sixteen of my grade two students have permission to take part in our classroom blog and create posts on their own blog.  Everyone is allowed to have their picture posted onto our blog and can have videos or audio clips posted onto the blog as well.  (Insert happy dance!!)  I was able to finishing creating the remaining individual student blogs for those two students who handed in their permission forms.  I was beginning to think about what those two students would have done if they did not return their forms back while the other fourteen students were blogging.  I was thinking about students creating a notebook blog and if they handed in their form then I could scan their work and upload it onto their blog. Has anyone else experienced students not handing in a permission form?  If you had students that could not participate on the blog what did you have those students do while other students were blogging?

My students are almost finished their community project!  Please take a look at my students working on building their community projects!  They all have been working very hard at finishing up their project and adding in their own creativity.  It has been a lot of fun watching their designs come to life.  Next week we are going to put the final touches on the project by creating roads and placing their buildings on the roads around the community.  I was hoping to record an audio clip or video of my students finishing up this project and talk about their community.  I was wondering if anyone knows if you are able to post audio clips or videos without using Youtube? Or is Youtube one of the only ways you can post videos easily onto a blog?  If Youtube is the main way to post videos onto a blog then do teachers need to get parents to fill out another permission form if you are uploading videos onto Youtube?  If you have any tips or advice on the best way to post videos or audio clips onto a blog please leave me a comment on my blog.  I would really appreciate it!

I was able to accomplish almost everything from my to do list that I wrote about in my previous post.  My students each drew a self portrait of themselves.   A few students were away so they will need to finish their self portrait next week.  I was able to help add their self portrait onto their individual blog pages and create their blog avatar.  We talked about why they were using a drawing for their avatar on their blog instead of using a photograph. It led to a good discussion about posting pictures onto the Internet.  For the header of their blog my students decided that they wanted to use their Dot Day art work that they created.  During Dot Day  my students rotated around to different stations and were able to create a variety of artwork pieces using different mediums.  Each student choose their favourite piece from Dot Day to become the header artwork for their blog page and I helped them post their art onto their blog as well.  My students were really excited to see their work posted onto their blogs.  Please explore our classroom blog and check out my students art work!  A lot as been added onto our blogs this week!  I know my students would be excited to see that more people have visited our blog and their own blog.  If you have time please leave a comment on my students individual blogs as well.  My students would be thrilled to read your thoughts!

oct 23 blog

Photo Credit: Picture Taken By Mrs. Kyle

On Thursday my students brainstormed ideas of what they wanted to write for their about me page as a class.  During our class discussion I wrote down their ideas of what they wanted to share on their about me.  After the brainstorming was over students recorded their ideas in their journals.  On Friday I taught my students how to log onto their blog so they could create and type their about me page.  I am very thankful that I have a Smartboard in my classroom because it made it easier for my students to follow along and for me to model what to do.  I was also lucky that I had another adult in the room during blogging time.  She was able to help my students as well if they had any problems.  I had a few students away Friday and some had to leave class a bit early for Missoula Children’s Theatre practice since they performed Friday evening.  Check out Secret Agent #15s about me page and all my other fabulous Secret Agents in my class! This coming week students will be given the opportunity to finish or create their about me page on their own blog!

I was away from school for a few days so we did not have time to co-create criteria together on what they think a good blog post looks like.  I plan on co-creating criteria for a blog post on Tuesday. Then later in the week when students create a blog post about their community project they will have a guideline of expectations to follow.  Since I was away we did not have a lot of time to blog during the week.  I did have a few students who typed out their about me pages fast and wanted to continue blogging so they created their first blog post discussing what they have been learning about in school.  Last year I found so many of the students who struggled with writing and did not want to write, but loved blogging using Edublogs.  I am not sure if it was the novelty of being able to type on the computer or having an larger audience of people reading their ideas and seeing pictures of their work, but I enjoyed last year seeing their faces light up while they were blogging.  I looking forward to seeing my students reactions while they are blogging and hearing their opinions about blogging as they begin to understand more what a blog is and what they can post.

This past week my students did a great job remembering safety online when reviewing the going places safely lesson.  On Wednesday I will introduce my class to the common sense education lesson about ABC Searching.  As a class we will talk about the proper way to search online and I will introduce to them to a picture dictionary.  I will have students go onto the websites that was suggested on lesson plan and have students work together to create an ABC book.  I am looking forward to continuing to reflect on the safety topic as students work on their searching skills.

Please check back later in the week to read about how my major digital project is progressing with my students!

Slow and Steady…I am Continuing My Race!

Wow!  Where did the week go!  This past week has been very busy for me because on Monday, October 5th our division had a Professional Development Day and our school brought in a fabulous presenter Jeanne Corrigal later on during the week.  She talked to the different grades in our school and taught our students about some Metis and First Nations teachings that she learned from her father’s friend Jim Settee and her family.  My students learned a lot from her presentation and as a class we created a blog post telling everyone what we learned from Jeanne.  I was so impressed with her presentation and how she was able to keep our Kindergarten to Grade Two students engaged while delivering her message.  I am excited to extend her lesson and teachings into my classroom with the resources that she provided us!  It is so important to bring teachings from different cultures into the classroom often throughout the entire year and not just special events or holidays.  This week my class also created a post showcasing what they have been learning about during the week throughout their day.  During this time I have been modeling to my students about the blogging process and I have been showing them how to navigate around our blog.  We have also been exploring and looking at other classroom’s blogs so they can see what different classroom blogs can look like and what their classroom blogs about.  Next week we are going to begin to co-create criteria together about what a good blog post looks like!

Near the end of the week I have been busy working on creating my student’s individual blogs.  I have been waiting to get all my student’s blog permission forms (Permission Letter to Parents About Using A Blog 2015-2016) back before I began to create their blogs.  As of right now I have fourteen out of sixteen student’s blog permission forms back.  I decided to create those fourteen students blogs and I will create the remaining students blogs when their form gets handed into me.  Last year I had all my students hand in their forms and everyone was allowed to participate so I am hoping for the same outcome this school year!  When I was beginning to create my student blogs I could not remember what I did and what that process looked like.  Thankfully I blogged about this process last year so I was able to look back at my blog called “Approaching The Starting Line…”  When I looked back at my old blog post and I clicked on the Edublog link that explores and outlines student blogs and tips on when creating student usernames.  I could not remember what I did when it asked for my student e-mail addresses.  Since my students are young and only seven or eight years old I did not want to create individual accounts for each of them.  On the Edublog website it gave helpful information in how to create student accounts using one email account.   When I read over the information on the link I was happy to remember that my students did not need their own e-mail accounts.  The Edublog website has been a fabulous resource for as I have been using my classroom blog again.  I am looking forward to my students creating their first blog post!  My students have been asking me many times when they get to blog so I know they will be excited to get started this week too!

students on lap tops

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This week I also decided to add in another widget onto our classroom blog.  I created a flag counter widget!  When someone from a different country visits our blog this widget will showcase the country flag of the visitor onto our blog page.  This widget will allow students to view different flags from a variety of countries.  I am hoping that it will open up conversations about places around the world like the ClustrMaps widget does.  The ClustrMaps widget puts a dot on the world map of where the visitor lives who came to read and view our blog.  Last year my students enjoyed getting their agendas out and exploring their world map when we looked at the ClustrMaps.  In grade two students need to learn about mapping skills in social studies so this one widget provides a great learning opportunity for the social outcome-DR2.3.  When I went to create the flag counter widget I could not remember what to do since I created ClustrMaps  widget last year wither.  I read through the Edublog support for adding in widgets and then Youtube came to the rescue again as I found a video that walked me through how to add the new flag counter widget onto a blog.  That is the beauty and power of the Internet!  It is amazing that I am able to find resources and receive support at the click of a button.

This week I have a few goals set out that I would like to accomplish:

  1. Begin to co-create criteria with students about what they think a good blog post looks like.
  2. Have students draw a self-portrait of themselves so they can use their drawing as their blog avatar.
  3. Have students choose their own favourite art work that they created.  Students can create their background picture for their blog using their favourite drawing.
  4. Students will write in their journals to plan what they want to say in their about page for their blog.
  5. Along with our learning buddies we will review the Going Places Safely lesson and have open conversation about what they learned about.
  6. Give students time to do their first blog post!

My blog post “Approaching The Starting Line…”  gave me inspiration for the title and the direction for this blog post “Slow and Steady…I am Continuing My Race!”  I believe that blogging is a never ending journey!  My students and myself might cross the finish line by reaching some goals or tasks that were set out, but there is always more to learn about.  I only created my first classroom blog last year so I have so much to learn!  I am looking forward to a busy week with my student!

Please check back later this week to read about my progress with teaching my students about digital citizenship and the blogging process.  If you have any recommendations of other great resources and supports regarding digital citizenship and blogging please let me know.  I always look forward to learning new things and expanding my ideas!

So….What’s Next?

grade 2

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It has been a very busy few weeks in my Grade Two Classroom! My Secret Agents have been learning so much!  I am so proud of their growth and I am excited to continue to watch them expand their thinking and explore the world.

In my last post “Who’s Excited For This Week??? This Teacher Is!!!” I spent time reflecting what I have done so far in my classroom blog.  Since my previous post we have added some posts onto our Classroom Blog and my student’s individual blogs.

class blog

My Classroom Blog:

On our classroom blog we have posted a few more posts as a class.  One post we discussed learning about what good commenters do on a blog.  I got the idea from my EC&I831 classmate Danielle Degelman.  On our discussion page for the Google Plus Community for our #eci831 class she posted a picture and commented that she gave the students sentence starters to help them when they are giving a compliment, creating a comment, making a connection, and asking a question on other people’s blogs.

In another post we talked about even and odd numbers.  My students learned a song called “Odd Todd and Even Steven.”  They enjoyed singing that song so much that we decided to video them singing and posted the video of them singing on the blog.  I was very happy with how easy it was to upload the video onto the blog.  I will continue to add videos onto our classroom blog!

We also posted a blog that discussed my student’s learning projects.  My students and I are looking forward to begin creating their animal projects starting on Tuesday! They have been busy bringing materials from home after I sent a note home explaining the project to my student’s families.  I have not seen so much positive energy from my students this year.  I am hoping to try #GeniusHour sometime later on in the year with my class during learning buddy time.  I think Genius Hour ignites student’s imagination, creativity, and curiosity to explore topic that they want to learn about.

Finally on our classroom blog we posted a brief post showcasing what we have been learning about numbers.  My students have been busy exploring place value, describing numbers, and representing numbers in many different ways.  On Twitter I saw that Sue Waters @suewaters tweeted about being able to add in a picture gallery onto a blog post.  I wanted to try to insert a picture gallery onto one of our classroom blog posts.  One day I went around with my camera and I took some pictures of my students representing numbers using number tiles and base ten blocks on form two part mats.  I followed the steps that were listed on the link and inserted the picture gallery rather easily.  Sue also tweeted about being able to add in tiled galleries onto a blog post.  I am going to follow the instructions on that link and try out the different examples of tiled galleries another time on our classroom blog.

Here is a tour of our classroom blog:


My Student’s Individual Blogs:

Most of my students only had an about me page and only a few had art work for the header at the top of their blog.

about me blog page 1

Now my student’s individual blogs are starting to show growth that allows visitors to get to know each of my secret agents a little better.


I created a to do list in my previous blog post about my major digital project.  I am very proud that I was able to check everything off of the list and also did a few more things as well!

1. I did upload my student’s self portraits onto their individual blogs.  Their self portrait also became their avatar for their blog as well.  My students are very excited to have their very own avatar on their blog.  They have an avatar on their Mathletics account so they were thrilled to have one for this account too!

self portait
2.  I uploaded pictures of my student’s math increasing pattern work onto their blog. Then student’s added a comment of a description of their pattern explaining the pattern rule.

linking cubes
3.  My secret agents had the opportunity to create a blog post on the topic of their choice.  So many students choose different topics so I encourage you to check it out!  I also had my students blog about what they like about blogging so I was aware of what my students liked about this project.  Then I could get some ideas of what I should do again with my class.

kids posts
4.  This past week my students have been busy beginning their animal project.  They were able to choose an animal or two animals to create their project.  My students will get three afternoons to create their animal.  If my students chose two animals they had to be from the same animal family.  Once they choose their topic my students created a plan for their project.  They drew a picture of what they wanted their animal to look like and then labeled what they were going to use for each part of their project.  Along the side of the plan my students listed what materials they were going to use to create their project.

animal plan
5. Once my students were finished creating their plan they were given time to blog about their project.  Later on I added their plan onto their page.  I was able to copy my students work on the photocopier and email my students work to myself through the photocopier.  When I sent the work to myself I turned the files into PDFs which allowed it to be easier to add the work onto my student’s individual blogs.

animal blog post

6. Some of my students completed some artwork during center time.  After they were finished I help them choose what part of the artwork they wanted to go onto their header of the blog and then we posted it.

art work for blog

7.  Last week after going through what good bloggers do when commenting I modeled to my students what to do.  We went on some different teacher’s classroom blogs and left a comment on their page.  After lots of practice I gave my students time to write their first comment on a friend’s blog.  To make it fair I handed out secret agent number popsicle  sticks from a jar to my students.  Then they went on that friends blog and chose what post to comment on.  It helped out a lot when I gave my student’s sentence starters for the 3 C’s and Q.  (Thanks Danielle for the fabulous idea!!!).  Also one day I gave my students the opportunity to read the comment I left on a post that they wrote.  I wanted each student to have at least one comment on their blog page!  Before the Christmas break I am going to get students commented back to each other and the chance to reply back to me too.   We are still taking baby steps in this area, but we are starting to make progress! Slow and steady wins the race!

Here is a tour highlighting a few of my student’s individual blogs and some of the things that I just talked about in this post:

Blogging is one time of the day that I never hear complaints from my students about having to write.  My students ask about when they get to blog next if it is not on our schedule for the day.  My student’s favourite part is looking at our clusters map on our blog to see who as looked at our classroom blog.  Then we go on a journey on Google Maps to explore what city/town/country that person is from.  I am thrilled to have my students blogging about their animal projects this month.  I think it will allow my students to truly showcase what they know about animals!

My digital project maybe ending for this class, but this is a life long project for me with my students.  I am excited to continue this journey!! I am glad that I took this class so I actually started something that I always wanted to do, but did not have the support or the know how in what to do to get this process started. Through blogging now I am able to see my student’s growth in just a short period of time! Please continue to explore and read our classroom blog! My class would love to hear from you!

But before I go please tell me….How’s Our Blogging??

colourful blog

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Who’s Excited For This Week??? This Teacher Is!!!

After a weekend of rest and now that I am feeling healthy I am very excited for this coming school week!

excited teacher
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I spent a lot of time this weekend looking at my classroom blog and reflecting about what I see when I look at our classroom blog.  I asked myself what have I done so far???

1. I began this journey by starting our Miss Stephanson’s Classroom Blog and each of my students have their own secret agent blog linked onto our blog to showcase their learning.  I also got permission forms back from each family allowing them to participate in the blog! (Insert happy dance!)

2. I created an about our secret agent classroom page.  It gives details about our school, classroom, and about myself professionally.

3. I also added in a blogging guidelines page.   It allows people who look at our blog to know what my expectations are and what the guidelines are when leaving a comment.

4. Finally I created a contact me page.  I thought it would be a good idea to have a contact me page so people can ask questions and get a hold of me privately through e-mail without having to post my personal e-mail address online.

5.  As a class we have created a few posts together.  When we wrote the posts about Remembrance Day and what they know about germs my students told me their ideas and I typed them out.  Since we did not have a lot of time those days I quoted my students ideas and in brackets I wrote what secret agent gave the idea.

pic of germ blog entry  remembrance day entry

When we blogged about the Firefighter Presentation and when they participated in the Missoula Workshop my students helped me create the introduction.  My students also added their own comments onto both blog posts to showcase their learning.

Does anyone have any ideas about what else I need to add to our classroom blog? Is there any pages that I should add onto our blog?

After reflecting about our classroom blog I started to look at my student’s learning blogs.  When you clicked onto my student’s blogs some of them have their artwork as their picture on their own blog page.  While some students still need to post their artwork.  Most of my student’s personal blog pages look like the picture below.agents blog page 1

The only thing my student’s have on their learning blogs is an about me page.  When people click on the page link they are able to get to know my amazing and intelligent students!

about me blog page 1

So what’s next?? Why am I excited for this week??

I sat down and started to create what I do best….a to do list!!  I am going to get my students to add some posts to their personal blogs.  Then their pages will not be empty anymore!

to do list

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1. My students have made fantastic self portraits already so I thought that would be awesome to add their portrait onto their blog page.  All I need to do is scan their work or take a picture of it.

2. My students just finished learning about increasing patterns.  I thought it would be perfect to upload a picture of an increasing pattern they made in class.  Then they can describe their pattern and tell everyone what they know about increasing patterns.

3. I am going to ask my student’s what they want to add to their blog.  After all it is their learning page and their opinions and ideas are very important!

4. I am going to have a discussion with my students about comments and teach them the 3 C’s + Q model that I discussed in my “Just Keep Blogging…” post.

5.  On Tuesday and Wednesday it is our Student Led Conferences. I am going to have laptops in the hallway opened up to our classroom blog.  Then students can show their parents our blog and it would be a great reminder to parents to check out our blog weekly.  By having our blog open it will also allow for other parents and students in the school the opportunity to check out our blog too!


Photo Credit: AJC1 via Compfight cc

I am hoping to have everything checked off my to do list by the end of the week!

Does anyone have any advice in how they got their students to blog more independently? Do you upload the pictures yourself or do you get your students to upload their own pictures?  Do you upload work onto your student’s blogs only during school hours or do you upload work after school too? 

I am open to any ideas or suggestions about our class blog or advice what has worked great when blogging with your class!!   Please share!!

A Great First Week…

student blogging

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I was very nervous to begin blogging with my class, but I was so happy with how our first week went. We are beginning to have some great discussions about their digital footprints and learning a few blogging terms. Each week my goal is to teach one lesson about digital citizenship to my class.

I was happy with the amount that we accomplished in our very first week of blogging. As I mentioned in my previous post “Exciting News About My Class Blog” my students worked on creating their about me page.  First they wrote in their journals and decided on what they were going to say for their about me page.  As a class we brainstormed and created some sentence starters to help them with writing their first ever post.  Then the next day I signed out the laptop cart and walked my students through what to do by demonstrating it on our Smartboard.  Since my students have logged onto other accounts before such as Mathletics it made that process a lot easier.  The hardest part was walking them through how to get onto their dashboard to add their first page.  Once they were able to type their post the process became a lot smoother.  I did not edit my student’s journals or their posts.  I want them to be able to see their progress and growth.  Below I typed out the post in brackets modelling the correct spelling and grammar.  Later on I am going to get my student’s to reflect on their posts and make goals in how they want to improve.

Finally last week we added two posts onto our classroom blog together. On our first post we welcomed everyone to our page.  My students were so excited to find their very first comment the next day.  Thanks to Kelly @kwhobbes for taking the time to go to our blog and type a comment to my class.  That is what makes having a public blog exciting.  It allows students to have a voice and for it to be heard.  I encourage you to check out Kelly’s personal blog and explore his great work!

While I was reading through the Edublog Blogging with Students resource I liked the suggestion of writing a post as a class and then have them add a comment onto the post. During the week we had two volunteer firefighters present to our class about fire safety.  We created a post as a class about the presentation then on Friday some of the students commented what they learned about from the fire fighters.  Instead of having everyone type their comments at the same time I had my students add their comments in during center time.  Today the rest of my students added their comment onto the blog.  I found it easier only having six students blog at the same time so I was able to get each student faster and help answer questions.  Once my students know how to navigate around the blog then it will make it easier to have them blog at the same time.

Goals for the week:

*Have my students create an avatar for their page. (We were not able to get to it this past week like I planned).

*Post my students art work that they created on Friday at the top of their learning page.

*Create a post or two as a class to add to our blog to show case our learning for the week.

*As a class check out one or two other class blogs to see what other students are learning about!

Check out how our classroom blog to see how it has developed over the past week. Please leave a comment! My students would love to hear from you!