Saturday, January 28, 2006


Safe Blogging

I have been blogging for a little more than a month, and I have found it to be a very exciting project!  I have received quite a bit of positive feedback from parents and students.  I am now ready to take the next step and invite students to contribute to my blog.  I am asking for email addresses in class, and I will set up a blog for their class to discuss what we are doing in math.  They will take turns being the “scribe” for the day.  The scribe will post a summary of what happened in that day’s class.  This will include the homework assignment and an explanation of what was learned.  There are links to other math blogs in the sidebar of the blog that students can use for inspiration.

We will be blogging on a site I created using Blogger.  I do not endorse any blog found through this service except mine.  This is a free service that is very easy to use.  Students can set up a personal blog through this site, but it is not necessary to have your own site to participate in my blog.  Many students have blogs created through other sites like Xanga or MySpace.  I would recommend monitoring your child’s use of these sites very carefully.  You are supposed to be at least 18 to join these, but I found that several of my students have created “spaces” there.  I have found several articles discussing students’ use of these sites that you might find interesting.

Pew Report on Teenage Blogging

Helping Your Kids Blog Safely

A Difference
A wonderful discussion about how to handle the dangers of blogging

How Can Children Stay Safe Using Blogs?
Australian government site offers tips for any kind of Internet activity

Blog Safety
Where teens, parents, teachers and adult bloggers can learn about the benefits of safe blogging.

I will monitor the content of my blog on a daily basis, and I will deal with any inappropriate posting as if it occurred in my classroom.  The students are very excited about this, and I expect that they will treat this as a privilege.  I will be distributing a blogging policy in class for students to sign before participating on the blog.  I have borrowed ideas from Darren Kuropatwa, Bud The Teacher, East Side Community High School, Vicki Davis, and Anne Davis.

Blogging Guidelines
Blogging is a very public activity. Anything that gets posted on the internet stays there. Forever. Deleting a post simply removes it from the blog it was posted to. Copies of the post may exist scattered all over the internet. That is why we are being so careful to respect your privacy and using first names only. We do not use pictures of ourselves. If you really want a graphic image associated with your posting use an avatar -- a picture of something that represents you but IS NOT of you.

Students using blogs are expected to treat blogspaces as classroom spaces. Speech that is inappropriate for class is not appropriate for our blog. While we encourage you to engage in debate and conversation with other bloggers, we also expect that you will conduct yourself in a manner reflective of a representative of this school.

Never EVER EVER give out or record personal information on our blog. Our blog exists as a public space on the Internet. Don’t share anything that you don’t want the world to know. For your safety, be careful what you say, too. Don’t give out your phone number or home address. This is particularly important to remember if you have a personal online journal or blog elsewhere.

Again, your blog is a public space. And if you put it on the Internet, odds are really good that it will stay on the Internet. Always. That means ten years from now when you are looking for a job, it might be possible for an employer to discover some really hateful and immature things you said when you were younger and more prone to foolish things. Be sure that anything you write you are proud of. It can come back to haunt you if you don’t.

Never link to something you haven’t read. While it isn’t your job to police the Internet, when you link to something, you should make sure it is something that you really want to be associated with. If a link contains material that might be creepy or make some people uncomfortable, you should probably try a different source.

Freedom of speech comes with personal responsibility.  Everything you post represents you.  You shouldn’t post anything you wouldn't be comfortable with anyone, from your parents to potential employers, viewing.

Mrs. Simpson’s Blogging Policy
To use the CRMS school blogs, you must agree to the following statements.
  1. I will not use any curse words or inappropriate language.

  2. I will not use fighting words or provoke anyone.

  3. I will avoid the use of chat language.

  4. I will try to spell everything correctly.

  5. I will only give constructive criticism.

  6. I will only use my first name.

  7. I will not post pictures of myself.

  8. I will not give out any personal information about myself or anyone else.

  9. I am responsible for anything posted in my name.

  10. I will not plagiarize.

  11. I will use common sense.
I recognize that breaking any of these rules could lead to any of the following consequences depending on severity and repetition:
  1. warning

  2. deletion of some or all of the post

  3. temporary loss of blogging privileges

  4. permanent loss of blogging privileges
I further recognize that the blog is considered a virtual extension of our classroom, and therefore all CRMS, Decatur City Schools, AL Department of Education, and US federal Rules and Regulations apply. I am aware that violation of any of these rules may be referred to the School Administration.
(Print Name) __________________________________________

(Student Signature) ______________________________________

(Parent Signature) _______________________________________


Sunday, January 08, 2006


Making Sense of RSS

So now that I am into this blogging thing full speed, I have decided that I need to learn something about RSS feeds. I found an article (through Darren) that explains it better than anything I have seen so far.

I understand that RSS makes blogging more powerful. I know that I want the readers of my blog to have access to it through RSS, and I think I have set it up properly. I also know that I can subscribe(?) to the RSS feeds of other blogs and be notified when they are updated. I have done this through Bloglines in some cases, but I'm not sure how to add a blog to Bloglines if it doesn't have the Bloglines button. I can also track blogs through my Yahoo home page, but I want them all in the same place.

What I don't know is how to explain this to parents and the other teachers at my school so that they can make the most of this 21st Century Tool! I am expecting the Fellows' Elluminate session on Tuesday to enlighten me. :-)

Here's another thing... I would like to link back to Darren's mention of the article in his blog, but I don't know where I found it! I have not found an efficient way to browse and post to my blog at the same time. I would think that RSS could somehow make that work for me, but I'm not sure how. I have begun using the "link to this post" button and saving it as a draft until I can get around to blogging about what I find. I guess that would be when I could copy and paste a quote to accompany the link? I feel my thinking beginning to clarify as I type. Oh, the power of expressing one's thoughts in words!

Friday, January 06, 2006


Making progress...

Two teachers at my school told me today that they have started blogs for their classes. I am excited that blogging is catching on so quickly at my school! My principal and I are planning to set up the official school blog on Monday with links to the teachers' blogs. I need to decide (or have the facts ready for my principal to decide) which blog service would work best for us.

I need to work on blogging this weekend. I have mentioned blogs to one of my classes, but I have not started a blog for them. I am going to start one for all of my classes on which I post general information. After parents have had a chance to see what my blog is like and what it can do, I think will begin blogging with one class.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Happy New Year!

I was excited that several teachers expressed an interest in blogging after my presentation today. I didn't expect a very positive reaction given that I spoke at the end of a day full of sitting and listening! I'm really glad that I was able to show the Will Richardson video. I think it is very powerful to hear the students speak about their blogs.

I hope that the teachers at my school can work together to get our blogs up and running. I always accomplish more when I am working with a partner or a group. We might be able to work together in the computer lab one day after school. If anyone is interested, please let me know.

One of the things I really like about blogs is that I can finish a post in a short amount of time if necessary. I can spend five minutes if that is all the time I have.

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