Family Friendly

Photo of Family Guitar Hero by Sheri Edwards

Photo of Family Guitar Hero by Sheri Edwards

This blog and our class blog are family friendly.

We welcome families to read and respond just as our students do. As part of our blogging challenge, teacher bloggers were asked to create a parent handout to guide families in the purposes of and the participation in our class blog.

What do families need to know?

The Class

Ms Edwards
Consider  Create  Connect  Collaborate

The Home Page and Blog Home Page The Teacher Blog The Class Blog

The Purpose

Eagles Blog
Have you noticed the world has changed?
Or the changes in reading and writing?

  • We are Wandering Wordsmiths; Emerging Experts.
  • What else could we write? How else could we say it better?
  • Our Blog: a place to enhance written discourse and media citizenship among students.

Teaching and learning are social activities; today’s kids are connected in ways that no adult over twenty-five could have imagined just five years ago. Students today enjoy the connectedness of social networking; it is part of their very being. Our goal is to bring instruction into that cloud to teach the content required in ways that inspire online responsibility and ethics in this new, very public world.

What is a blog?

A log is like a journal, a place to express your ideas. A web-log is a journal on the world wide web (www), the Internet.  A blog is short for “web-log.” It’s purpose is to share ideas with others to add to an ongoing conversation about topics of interest to the “blogger.” Others then comment on that blog so they can add more to the conversation.
Why blog?
In this changed world, our students will be expected to participate online in responsible ways. Education now includes guiding students in this new read-write web. That’s right, the “internet” is now not only readable, it’s writable.

Our students learn to navigate safely and responsibly through the web by participating in blogs and wikis on topics of interest to them. They research and consider others’ ideas, create their own ideas on blogs, connect to others in comments, and collaborate to clarify and extend the conversation about their topics.

Through these connections, students apply their research and social skills to clearly write their ideas, converse with others in positive and supportive ways, and continue the conversation that adds knowledge and solutions to issues that concern them.
They create an online identity of which they can be proud citizens of this changed world.

How Can Families Participate?

Will You join us?

  • Read
The Teacher Blog
The Class Blog

  • Subscribesubscribeamail

In the left column, just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” area. You will receive an email when changes occur.

  • Read the blog’s pages for more information


  • Comment commentbox2

Comments continue the conversation. We love them!  Just click “Comments” under the title of the blog post. Please only use your first name.

Note to students:

Remember: A blog comment is your footprint… a path back to you… prepare your path wisely.

  • View Categoriescategories2

Look for your student’s name under categories to discover their posts. Just click the drop-down menu.

How will I introduce and welcome families?

First, my students will follow what they need to do to begin blogging. Expected homework is to share what they do, including the internet safety guidelines they follow.

Second, once students begin their own blogging, I will ask them to learn and explain the purpose and participation in their own words.

Third, I’ll share the handouts (see below) with families at parent conferences and as a homework task. I’ve always wanted to have an “Open House”  in our writing classroom, such that students prepare presentations to share with families any time they visit. We could schedule special “Open House Days” as well. Our regular lessons and projects would continue as the students of the attending families simply take them to their desk or computer and share the presentation of our work to them. This helps families and their schedules.

So, students:

What are you learning? What will you share? Prepare an agenda and artifacts. Let’s start our welcome to families to share our learning in writing class.

And families, What do you want to know and see? We look forward to learning your ideas as you read about ours.

The family handout:

parent blog info p1

parent info blog p2

Comment Considerations

Are you anxious to blog? Are you wondering how to start?

Helping Each Other

Think about it: you blog so others will learn from and share your ideas. Someone might add to your ideas. This happens through commenting. Think how excited you were when our mentors commented on our wiki. Just like everything else we do, if we want something, we need to give something.

So our challenge as beginning bloggers is to give comments to those blogs we read. If we want comments, we’ve got to give some. But what is a good comment?

A blog comment is your footprint…


a path back to you…


prepare your path wisely.

A great blog comment ?
How to write one:

•    What’s the best part of blogging?
•    Comments !

Let’s practice the best strategies for blogging by writing great comments.

1.   Be safe. Be kind. Provide no personal information and always be overly positive and kind. Remember our Netiquette.

2.    Read a post. Make a connection. While reading a blog and its comments, think about what you like, what you connect with. What idea most interested you? Be sure to read the other comments so you don’t repeat what someone has already said or asked. What was well-written and what ideas did you like? On what can you compliment the author? And, what can you add (see Number 4).

3.     Write a comment. Write it like a letter.


Hi ___[author name]___.

[Your Content– see next tip–4.]

Thank you.

4.     Share a compliment. Share a connection. Appreciate something specific. Compliment the idea, image, or other part you liked. Put it in quotes. Add new ideas with your connection (agree, disagree, experience, idea, link, question).  Add the idea you considered — your connection, agreement, disagreement (Although your idea is interesting, I’d like to add another side…). Do you have a link to share? an image? a question? How will you say it kindly?

5.    Check your ideas. Make them flow. Read your comment aloud to yourself; do the ideas flow one to another? Does it make sense?

6.   State your ideas and opinions only.  Write nothing personal. Review our Internet safety rules for keeping private and personal information off the internet. Netiquette

7.    Check spelling. Check punctuation. Edit your writing for spelling, punctuation, grammar, format so you are readable and believable, BEFORE you submit.

8.    Give one. Get oneIf you get a comment, be sure to comment back.

Remember: like handwriting, your comment represents  you!

What path will you take to write great comments? Which step to commenting do you think is the most important? Write a comment explaining the step or steps to commenting you think are most important. Have we forgotten anything?

Comment Poster

Steps to Great Comments

Steps to Great Comments

Netiquette: Every Day

Child using Laptop

“Our Blog: a place to enhance written discourse and media citizenship among students.”

What does that mean? How do we explain this to our students?

In our writing classroom, we review lessons from these sites:

Net Smartz
On Guard Online
I Keep Safe

I also added from Theresa’s Daily Question 2 Response, the following sites from which we can learn more:

And we apply them to our class behavior. The sixth grade wrote skits about bullying, which we then discussed for online safety. Daily we review or remind ourselves what is expected. We use code names, or pseudonyms, instead of our real names. Each student signs an agreement to practice our guidelines of Netiquette. Parents sign permission forms. Second to parent permission, is our daily practice in the classroom of how we treat each other: respectfully and kindly. And online we never reveal personally identifying information.

In my previous post (Ready), I discussed guidelines from other bloggers, which we will discuss and apply to our work as we begin blogging about issues important to us.

On our class blog, we will review:

Guidelines (our expectations, purpose, and safety rules)
Why Blog (pedagogy for wikis and blogs)

The design of our blog, with three columns, allows the guidelines to be posted in the left margin, as a frequent reminder to us. I will take the advice of my colleages (Mrs. Krebs, Ms Ratzel, and Mrs W) and ask students to demonstrate online their netiquette before they are allowed to create their own posts. We will comment first, then advance to posts. Students will draft first for approval second. Our students have been working in Google Apps and wikis since the beginning of the year; we have had no incidents of negative work beyond one negative comment at the first of the year by a fifth grader. We quickly discussed the issue in our writing classroom, and have not had another incident. The students understand how serious online citizenship is. At least in school, they practice our expectations.

We’re finishing up our current projects, and then plan to begin work on our blogs.  How do you introduce your students to media safety and global citizenship?

Students, when you read this, what would you mention about online safety?

Photo Credit:

Child Using Laptop: Flicker CC Attribution 2.0 By P i c t u r e Y o u t h