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

Ready: What’s the best for the class blog…

Eternal clockMy students say it is time for them to start blogging. That means our class blog must be updated. What should I include? Whats should you include as you begin the journey?

These three blogs show excellent samples of what to include:

Dare to Care Denise Krebs

I learned much from the netiquette of Denise Krebs, Dare to Care blog here. These rules are carefully and positively written for students. When I re-read mine, I realized a few things over the past years had been deleted when transferring from wikis to blogs to Google Sites.  I added in again the parts about respecting others’ files and work, keeping personally identifying information off the internet, and sharing passwords only with one’s teacher. Her class blog is simple, yet elegant. I noticed easily what students needed to know under Pages and Categories.  Her categories is helping me think through my own assignments, and setting them up with categories relevant to our tasks.

Kids in the Mid Miss Wyatt

Again, this class blog sets up all the resources students need, including the guidelines again. I love the idea of creating links pages. I’ll be reviewing the Literacy Links here to help me create one for my students. I think I will survey my students, too, on topics of interest to them so I can pre-search sites for them. Notice that under “All Your Posts” students can click to others’ blog posts to comment. This is done with a link to a shared Google Reader.  Clever, isn’t it?

Teaching Techie Marsha Ratzel

Once again, excellent guidelines for students. Note in this post how she has enticed and encouraged steps to earning one’s own blog. I love this idea of earning one’s blog through appropriate and frequent commenting, which is what drives good bloggers. Students write WHY someone should read their blog.  Another great idea to focus students on their audience, purpose, and passion. Students follow protocols for drafting their posts on the class blogs. Comments, class blog, own blog. Browse around on the class blog and the reflection blog to see just how this teacher enhances learning through blogging.

Any one interesting in blogging will learn much from these three bloggers. I plan to share these with my students — the teacher blogs, class blogs, guidelines, and assignments — so my students can help me plan our work with blogs.

To these three colleagues, I present you a big thank you apple for helping me help my students.


Photo Credit:

Time Flickr CC  by Robbert van der Steeg

Apple Thank You Badge Flickr CC by Sheri Edwards

Location, Location, Location

Would you like to build your readership AND your professional learning network (PLN)?

Have you thought of joining a network related to your field?

Since I teach, I have several networks through which I connect to others. You can share your blog posts with them there also.

  1. Twitter: Many have already written about Twitter’s 140 microblogging strategy to share great ideas with followers.  For a how-to, see Mashable’s Guidebook . If you have personal, school, or other accounts, use a platform such as HootSuite to monitor and tweet from any of them. To understand how you can be in the conversation, see this analysis at the Digital Substitute by Shawn Urban.
  2. Facebook: I dislike Facebook, but it’s ubiquitous. I keep my page private and disable most applications, games, gifts, etc. I make sure the settings don’t allow use of my “friends” information either.I update my status on Facebook from Twitter with a #fb at the end of my tweet. Finally, I do not link from other places (like commenting, or joining a new site) through my Facebook account; I sign-up with an account for that site instead.  Yes, it’s another name/password, but it won’t be invaded by or gobbled up by Facebook, either. For a How To on Facebook, see ReadWriteWeb’s tips. Read the Facebook privacy page frequently. Click on “Preview my Profile” to check.  Sophos provides good tips also.
  3. LinkedIn: A network for with job profiles and career connections.
  4. LearnCentral: A professional network started by Steve Hargadon to create connections, work in groups, hold “meeting rooms” via Elluminate, etc.
  5. Classroom 20: A ning started by Steve Hargadon to create connections, work in groups, discuss in forums all things Web 2.0.
  6. Classroom Live 2.0: This extension of Classroom 2.0 provides links to free professional development to pedagogical, practical, and professional application of Web 2.0 tools.
  7. English Companion: This ning network for all connected to English teaching is started by Jim Burke and offers groups, discussions, book clubs, forums on all things English in the 21st Century.
  8. Edutopia: George Lucas’s educational foundation includes research-based strategies for today; join a community group for inspiring lessons, tips, and strategies.
  9. EdTechTalk , Teachers Teaching Teachers, and Seedlings: Podcasts and live webinars for professional development (not to join, but I’ve learned much here). Driving Forces: Paul Allison, Susan Ettenheim, Alice MercerBob Sprankle.
  10. Teachers First: Last, but definitely not least! A terrific resource that reviews Web 2.0 tools for use within the classroom and provides free OK2ASk webinars to show how.

Of course, as bloggers in education, we also look for opportunities to connect students with others in projects that enhance the objectives our curricula in global interactions, sharing cultures and online social responsibility as global citizens. These programs provide these opportunities:

  1. Projects by Jen: Jen Wagner‘s marvelous projects to connect classes Preschool-Grade 6.
  2. Teachers Connecting: A place to connect to others by Ben Hazzard— simple, but effective.
  3. VoiceThread Wiki: Connect for VoiceThread projects created by Colette Cassinelli
  4. Around The World With 80 Schools: Join this site by Silvia Tolisano to connect to others around the world in a Skype project.
  5. Global Education: A site by Lucy Gray to connect classrooms globally.

And, of course, add your blog to the Edublogs Directory !

Find this blog in the education blogs directory

Many more networks exist; these just seemed appropriate for our learning.

Please add your recommendations for building readership by building your network! Add in the comments below or in this Google Spreadsheet: Build Your Network.

Photo Credit:

Puzzle Connections: CC30 by lumaxart at Flickr

Widget Wonders

Widgets are part of blog design. Good design is clean and purposeful. So I choose my widgets for my readers.

I think must-haves include:

  • Short Text About Blog with author’s name
  • Relevant Photo
  • Contact
  • Search
  • Tag Cloud
  • Categories
  • Archives
  • RSS
  • Blog List of Favorite Blogs
  • Badge (Support of others or one’s own)

Other choices would be:

If a blog is educational, include:

  • Links to school-related blogs (other teachers, students, research, etc.)
  • Link to pedagogy and guidelines
  • Polls

Now, that’s a lot already, so an author needs to pick and choose, design and organize, review and revise so that the blog stays consistent, yet current and informative, yet welcoming.

I never thought I would use a Voki, but after viewing many of my fellow challengers’ examples, I’ve decided I enjoy them and so will readers. A Voki can deliver a welcome, a question, a direction that quickly engages readers.

That said, would you consider these marvelously used widgets?

Examples in Teaching Elementary

Flag Counter — Flags of visitors

Blabberize — make your own picture do the talking

Build Your Wild Self — create your own picture/avatar

Answer Garden — Ask a question and watch answers evolve

Examples in Global Student

Tag cloud — visual cloud of frequently used tags
Video of classroom (Vimeo) — embed a class video
Voki — Welcome and directions for how to comment

Examples in aimeeb

Voki — an introduction to the blog for families with suggestions
Shelfari — her favorite books or newest reads
neo planet — a revolving planet showing who’s here

Example in Home School Mom
Twitter feed

It’s a widget world –what do you think? Which are most important?

What is the most important sidebar info on a blog?… at

Photo Credit:

Rule of Thirds CC 3.0 by Nevit at

Teacher Challenge 7

Pencil Tech for Writing


One of my students’ favorite activities is power writing.  Here’s the basics:

Power Writing for Fluency

After each power writing timed session, I ask students "Please stand if you have written ten or more words... 20 or more words..." etc.
They love showing how much they can write. Power writing builds writing fluency, getting the ideas from thoughts through the fingers and into the pencil and out on paper!  Whew!

Back Channel Google Style

The Conversation by Pissarro

The Conversation by Pissarro

I had read Silvia Torisano’s blog on backchannel ideas with students, and decided that our upcoming bullying video for Personal Safety class would be a great start to try this out. Our middle school students use Google Apps in Education. Rather than add yet another app to our process of learning to write, I decided to try a Google Document that all students would use to type notes simultaneously. I set up a Google Document and shared it with my students. Before we started, I asked them to type their name in a spot on the document, making sure it was not in someone else’s area. I asked them to leave a few lines between their name and those above and below. That way, when students began sharing their ideas and questions, each student had his/her own area without interfering with another’s line of words. They could still scroll and read others’ ideas, but would return to their own space to add their own ideas.

We watched the video on bullying, typed our ideas, and then paused frequently to discuss and highlight our important ideas. Then we would continue this process: watch, type ideas, review and highlight. The great thing about this is I could see who had brought up an insight to which we could discuss and who was not analyzing and processing the information by sharing on the document. Sharing the insights encouraged everyone, and I could nudge the non-participants too. Everyone engaged in the learning. Don’t you think that’s a great reason to add this strategy to learning? Here’s a short video of our class and a screen capture of our impromptu backchanneling:
Note: I am trying the trick of pasting the embed code and immediately publishing. If you see it here, I won!

GoogleBackchannel from Sheri Edwards on Vimeo.

While watching a video, students took notes in one Google Doc, simultaneously adding to a class set of notes, and creating our own “backchannel” to the video.

Note: To add video to your blog post, see the hint in the comment below.

Help Busy Teachers

One thing I know is that teachers in the classroom are swamped, inundated with mandates to teach focused on the test students must pass. So why should they take time to blog?

What would you tell them? What prompts would help them keep going?

Your ideas could be the glue that makes the idea stick.

Please complete this form. Results will be displayed.

Thank you!

Click here to respond: Blog? Why?

Note: the embedded link below may not be working. Please respond in the link above. Thank you.


Photo Credit:

GNU License for Clock by pngbot