Our student bloggers

These past four months, I have been running a student blogging course with a group of six students from a school in Launceston. Each student has their own blog and both their home room teacher and I are the admins of the blogs. We have control over the publishing of the posts and the moderating of the comments. The students were selected by their teacher as someone who could work independently and had an interest in blogging on their class blog.

Students were expected to attend a weekly one hour online class where they were taught how to add to their blog as well as had time to write their posts. Students also could use their blog outside of school hours and could post about topics that were of interest to them.

The online class was open from 1pm until about 4.30pm so students could come in after school as well if they wanted to. The room was open both Wednesday and Friday but could be changed according to other happenings at the school involved.

All work for the course is found on the student bloggers blog and is available for anyone to use with their students. Over the Christmas holidays, I will be organizing the course more into step by step instructions for students with their own blog.

Next March, I will be running the course again, so if you have a small group of students (no more than 4) who you feel deserve their own blog and can work independently, please contact myself or Brendan Vince by the end of January.

Please check out these student blogs – Annabel, Mackenzie, Maddie, Caitlin, Jacob, Gabrielle

You may have also noticed we have a flipboard magazine which can be viewed best on an iPad but also on a PC. Feel free to add a link to this magazine onto the sidebar of your class blog. If I see any great posts written by students on their class blogs, I am including them in the magazine.

To leave a comment on one of these posts in the magazine, just click on the title of the post and leave a comment as normal.



Online classroom

I have just had a great hour with six students who have their own personal blog starting last week.  This was the first online session so it was very much let’s look at what we can do with the Blackboard Collaborate classroom.

  • Students learnt how to use smiley faces to show they understood what was happening and G. worked out how to use the confused face as well.
  • They learnt how to put up their hand in class if they wanted to have the microphone to speak to the rest of us – used the talk button and put hand down.
  • Then we had fun with the whiteboard tools – finding cups of coffee, maths symbols, making yellow ellipses.
  • We added a smiley face to a map of Tasmania to show where we were based
  • Finally we took a web tour of the main student bloggers blog, so they would know what the instructions were for the next three activities on their blogs.

The link to the online classroom is on the main student bloggers blog under the get help here link. You need Java enabled on your computer and if using wireless, make sure you choose that instead of Cable/DSL when it asks.  Allow about 10 minutes to set up your computer before the online lesson.

I will be holding online classes every Wednesday and Friday from 1.30pm until 4pm.  Any students or teachers are welcome to come and join in and ask questions about blogging.

If any teachers want me to run an online blogging class with their students or other staff at another time of day, please contact me by email which you can find in the sidebar of this blog.

Finding and organizing resources

A few great places to find resources include:

Graphite from commonsense media

  • Discover apps, games, websites that have been reviewed and rated by teachers
  • Share with a community of teachers
  • Innovate with the right tools

PolarTREC: Polar region resources – articles, lessons, activities, interactive media

Power my learning – free and flexible way to integrate blended learning into your lessons – portal to some of the best educational games. activities, simulations and videos – search by subject, create personal playlists for each student if needed

21 things 4 students – suitable for students grade 6-8 – interactive program about vital technology concepts

Atomic learning now includes an iPad app

Teaching the inquiry process – includes apps, videos and tutorials

Schools that work – produced by Edutopia – links, videos

Apps in your classroom – apps, lessons, tutorials

Math Landing – resources and tools for primary teachers including apps

Edmentum – lots of different programs and courses for all ages

Cyber Science 3D – interactivity and reasoning – class, school or district license

Take students on virtual field trips around the world – a small cost associated with the site.

Looking at using eBooks in your library? Check out this site. Or check out Brain Hive here.

Do you find it difficult to get the most out of your interactive board? Check out Gynzy with a free trial.

Want to engage your classes inside the pages of any digital book, article, PDF or document? Check out Subtext – also available as an app.

Do you need to use a graphing calculator in your maths lessons? Here is one for free at Desmos

Online databases, streaming video. eBooks and eLearning modules all online – free trial available  at Infobase Learning.

Online resources for adaptive curriculum in maths and science, suited to middle school and high school students

An eReading platform for schools – online annotation, embed quizzes, immediate feedback for students – check it out at Gobstopper


Teaching technology and connecting with other teachers

Teacher playground includes resources, PD, lessons, tutorials

As a teacher, do you want to be more connected as an educator? Join in activities in October – some will be based in Australia even though this website is American.

Here are some online catalogues with useful programmes to buy: ShopK12,

Teachers First – a site for thinking teachers – free membership, 1000s resources, free PD

Want to do some online learning of your own? Check out FLO.

Want to buy, sell or create some teacher created resources? Head to the Teachers Notebook


Organizing resources

Got your own classroom library? Track student borrowing by using classroom organizer. Can also add eBooks to your library.