Guest Post: Blogging About Your Passion

Thanks to Paula for a great story about introducing kids to blogging!

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Each year, many teachers have their students start the new school year by completing an All About Me activity sheet. I wanted to get to know my students from the first day of school on a deeper level. So we began by talking about our passions. I introduced the lesson by asking them to define the word “passion”. Some of my fourth graders were very unsure of what the word meant. However, as our discussion continued, they were soon all chatting about what their passion is. I asked guiding questions like – When did you realize your passion? Who helps you pursue your passion? Is there someone you know who shares your passion? How much time do you get to spend pursuing your passion? I also shared with them about my passion for integrating technology into all of our lessons. Once I had them all fired up about their passion, I asked them to write about it.

First we did a paper blogging activity like Karen McMillan does with her students. Then we learned how to leave quality comments by watching a video made by Linda Yollis’s third graders. I explained that both of the teachers whose work I shared with them are members of my personal learning network (PLN) I got to know because I blog. I explained that they too could build a PLN through their blogging.

Next we practiced leaving comments of each others blogs using sticky notes.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally I introduced them to their very own blog. We use the kidblog.org platform. They each wrote their first blog post for the 2011-2012 school year about their passion. Their passions range from various sports to singing, playing the piano, ballet, and even shopping. One of my favorite lines is from A’lijah’s blog where she says, “I love ballet so much it’s like a best friend.”

To demonstrate the passion of some great teachers, I tweeted about my students’ blogs using the hashtag #comments4kids on Twitter. This hashtag was the brainchild of William Chamberlain and is invaluable for getting your students’ an authentic audience who will leave comments. Those passionate educators didn’t disappoint. Within a short period of time my students were receiving comments from some of the great members of my personal learning network (PLN) who are spread all over the world. Some of my PLN who left comments pointed my students to websites where they could learn more about their passion.

My hope for this year is that I can help each one of my students pursue their passion and start to build their own PLN of people they meet through blogging.

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Paula L. Naugle teaches fourth graders math and social studies in a public, suburban school in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has been teaching for 35 years and reignited her passion for teaching by integrating technology into all of her lessons. Some of the many webtools she uses are Edmodo, kidblog.org, Skype, and Glogster. Paula is a moderator for #4thchat on Twitter on Mondays at 6:00 CST. She also presents at various conferences like LaCUE and ISTE about her experiences with integrating technology and innovative teaching.

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  • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

    I want to go back to school and have YOU as my teacher!

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    Paula is amaaaaazing! Her kids are so blessed to have such a passionate teacher leading them! 

  • Maureen Devlin

    Sensational post.  I plan to use this lesson in my class–terrific ideas that will develop student confidence, self knowledge and even greater passion.  Thanks.

  • http://palmerlanguage.blogspot.com Bekah

    Wow, I love the idea of the sticky notes for comments to introduce students to the idea of blogging comments. I also think that the idea of studying what a good comment is and leaving peer comments could be great for building writing confidence among (computer literate) adult language learners.

  • http://betsycross.blogspot.com Betsy Cross

    I have friends who look at me sideways when I mention sharing their kid’s home-based business on a blog, Facebook Fan page, Twitter, etc, I think it teaches excellent communication and marketing skills. They are afraid of the social “dangers” of the internet, so they won’t allow it.

  • http://educateandlead.wordpress.com Dave Edwards

    Paula is truly UnCONveNTioNaL! :) Love this post Angela. 

  • http://www.mrstg.com mrstg

    Absolutely LOVE this post, Paula! Thanks so much for sharing your step-by-step guide in introducing blogging to kids. Love the idea of doing a paper blog with sticky note comments so they “see” in a more concrete manner what’s really happening when they publish and comment. Also love the idea of blogging about what they are passionate about.
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! :-)
    -Michelle TG

  • Hillary Manaster

    What a great idea and fabulous lesson! Makes me miss being a classroom teacher!

  • Anonymous

    @Bruce, @Hillary, and @Dave Thank you for you kind words. Angela has helped me reignite my passion for teaching and I’m passing that on to my students.

  • Anonymous

    @mrstg:disqus  I knew when I heard about paper blogging that I wanted to use it to introduce blogging to my students. They loved the activity and it got they fired up to begin online blogging. I will also use this activity to introduce other educators to blogging. We will be exploring their passions throughout the year. 

  • Anonymous

    @Betsy, I believe that I need to teach my 4th graders how to use social media sites properly so they can function is the world today. Sticking my head in the sand and being afraid would be irresponsible of me as an educator. Let’s teach our students digital citizenship and online safety when they are young, and before they begin exploring sited like Facebook on their own with no guidance or understanding of the possible problem that could crop up if they don’t know how to be safe. 

  • Anonymous

    @8d6ecd0703ae5a85a4a7163644004739:disqus Yes, paper blogging could be used in many areas of education. The final products made a great display for Open House night too. If a classroom has limited computer access, kids could still learn blogging skills. 

  • Anonymous

    @c2e72476bc482448a06a6415bb942f15:disqus Thank you. Let me know how the lesson goes for you and your students when you do. See you on Twitter. 

  • http://www.notesfrommcteach.com Karen McMillan

    Paula, thank you so much for being such a tremendous advocate of paper blogging! I think half the people who stop by my blog are sent there by you! I hope you know how much I appreciate it. By the way, I usually ask my kids if I can hang on to their paper blogs until Open House. They look awesome on their desks as the parents walk through!

  • http://twitter.com/chaugen Catina Haugen

    Great guest post Paula!  I followed pretty much the same steps with my 6th graders last year, and reading your post makes me miss my classroom.  But as a new elementary principal, I’m encouraging my teachers with blogs like yours.  Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/chaugen Catina Haugen

    Great guest post Paula!  I followed pretty much the same steps with my 6th graders last year, and reading your post makes me miss my classroom.  But as a new elementary principal, I’m encouraging my teachers with blogs like yours.  Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    I think to some readers, blog comments can be more important,san jose airport limousine service

  • http://www.gekko-byg.dk/varmepumper.php Cristi Fermin

    I just remember my teacher way back in pre-school. She’s my favorite teacher because she’s simple and intelligent. I admire her a lot. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    We respond to, relish, and remember passion! 

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