News bulletin: 8 June 2014
Social media is part of everyday life for many young people – now two teachers in Geelong are harnessing its power in the classroom to increase student engagement, literacy and cybersafety skills.
Teachers Kathleen Morris and Kelly Jordan from Leopold Primary School are revolutionising the classroom by incorporating a class blog into their curriculum.
Mrs Morris and Miss Jordan, who team teach a group of 43 Year 2 students, start each day with a 20 minute blogging session.
‘Our students love our blog! It’s a wonderful avenue for student learning, global collaboration and reflection,’ Mrs Morris says.
When the teachers started the class blog four years ago they had no idea just how beneficial it would be for the students’ learning.
They’ve found the blog has dramatically increased student engagement, improved students’ reading and writing skills and taught the students about cyber safety and online etiquette.
‘Blogs are such an authentic way to teach literacy. We have seen big improvements in students’ writing skills from the beginning of the year, and we believe writing posts for a global audience is a major reason for this,’ says Miss Jordan.
The class publishes about three blogs per week covering a range of topics from classroom activities and school events, to web tips, to providing ideas on how students can improve their spelling skills at home.
Parent engagement in the blog is highly encouraged, and the teachers have held blogging afternoons and competitions to promote family involvement.
‘We feel the blog is a real window into our classroom, and developing the partnership between home and school is really important to us,’ Miss Jordan explains.
The blog is also ensuring the students see themselves as global citizens, by using blogging to regularly interact with students in America and New Zealand.
‘We have “blogging buddies” from all corners of the globe and we are involved in conversations with them through blog comments almost every day. The amount of learning that comes out of this for students is just priceless,’ says Mrs Morris.
The class even joined forces with a number of schools throughout Australia, America and China to harness the power of blogging to organise a fun run that raised $20,000 for a school in Uganda.
‘I wanted my students to be able to use these global connections for a greater good – to raise their social conscience, help others and learn more about the world they live in,’ Mrs Morris explains.
According to Mrs Morris and Miss Jordan, while creating a class blog takes time and effort it is well worth it in the long run.
'We know from experience that it is only when blogging is integrated into your curriculum on a daily basis and you set high standards for yourself and your students, that the full potentials are realised. We can’t wait to see where we’ll go next…'
To visit 2KM and 2KJ’s classroom blog, see: 2KM and 2KJ @ Leopold Primary School.
To read Mrs Morris’s blog about how teachers can start thier own blog, see: Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog.