Blogging through the summer

July 1st, 2009

Gresham Brown, a fourth-grade teacher in Greenville, South Carolina, has written guest posts on the Stenhouse Blog about starting classroom blogs and about getting parents involved with blogs. This time, he shares his ideas about what to do with that classroom blog during summer recess.

For the past nine months, I’ve been using our classroom blog as a window into my classroom. Parents, grandparents, relatives, and friends have been able to take a peek inside our room and actually join in on many of our learning experiences. But summer is now upon us. In previous years, the classroom blog has taken its own summer break. As the kids left at the end of May for summer vacation, the classroom blog went silent until school started again in the fall. But I think the blog may stay active this summer. I’ve got a few ideas…

Book Talks – Recommending books is a daily and ongoing activity in our classroom. We share great books during class meetings, when we browse our classroom library, during share time in readers’ workshop, while we’re chatting at lunch, and as we’re unpacking our book bags each morning. The classroom blog can give us space to continue our conversations about books. Book recommendations can be posted and students can share their own comments. The blog can become a place for students to share and write about the books they’re enjoying over the summer.

Interviews and Guest Bloggers – I love reading blogs that interview authors or have posts written by special guests. It’s nice to hear a new voice or perspective. This summer, I could interview a student once a week or so and post the interview on the blog. Kids LOVE being in the spotlight and being interviewed seems to impart celebrity status. I could also invite students to write guests post on any number of topics – vacations, books, travel, what to do when you’re bored, how to keep cool on hot South Carolina summer days…so many possibilities.

Conversations – I could also invite students to read a shared book each month. I would need to choose a book that is accessible to all my students and can easily be found at the public library or local book store. I could post questions, responses, wonderings, theories – all the thinking that we usually have inside the four walls of our classroom. The blog could easily be a vehicle to capture our conversations around this shared experience..

Challenge Problems – Each week during the school year, I give my students math “Challenge Problems.” Students get points for using the correct strategy and points for finding the correct answer. I could continue to give my students challenge problems over the summer by posting them on the blog. Students could email me their responses, using writing to explain how they came up with their answer.

I love the summer. I love having more time to reflect, read, and now… blog. I’m not sure how it will all work out, but I have high hopes. I’m looking forward to staying connected to my students and their summer experiences. If you’d like to share any ideas about how to keep a classroom blog going during the summer months, please leave a comment below this post. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Entry Filed under: Classroom practice

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. judy  |  July 2nd, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I am part of an exciting project in Pakistan, helping to introduce children amd teachers to some new ideas about books and reading. We want to create a blog that provides a place for students in the US to talk with students in Pakistan. and for teachers and parents and interested others to join in the conversation.

  • 2. Shamina  |  July 2nd, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    You could pose essential questions each week concerning current news events and have students blog their responses. Allow the students to have an ongoing discussion.

  • 3. Gresham  |  July 8th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Shamina – excellent idea! We have a current events journal in our classroom that we share during our class meeting. Students can bring in news articles to share and discuss with the class. The blog would be a great way to continue that practice.

  • 4. Gresham  |  July 8th, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Judy – I’m excited about your ideas. A blog would be an excellent forum for students in different countries to share and collaborate together.

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