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) _______________________________________


This is a fantastic compilation of material! What a great resource you've made; thanks for sharing.

I'm going to link to this post and share your work in a couple of workshops I'm giving next week. Thanks again Mrs. Simpson!

Thanks for the encouragement! I've borrowed very liberally from you and the other folks I mentioned. Thanks for all that you have shared! Good luck with your workshops.

Ms. Simpson,

Enjoyed looking at your blog. I have been using one for my students and parents (, one as a communications tool with my staff (, and my personal blog on organization and time management ( I created several posts in November on my blog related to keeping kids from seeing inappropriate things that you might find interesting.
Frank Buck
Great job! I have linked to you! wow! If Darren Kuropatwa is linking to you, that is something else! You're definitely cool cat teacher endorsed too! Great job!
I think that this is great. You are empowering your students to speak (or write) and be heard. At the same time you are telling them that they are responsible for what they say. (Safety obviously fits in there as well.) We should all remember these big ideas.

Andrew Pass
This was a perfect post for me to see today. I am planning on starting blogging with my students and I like how you have written this out-kid friendly language. Thanks for your work
Look at you getting the props!!! How exciting. Way to go Jeanne. It looks great, and I am definitely using it.
I agree this is a fantastic and timely piece of work. Would you object if I took your rules and adapted them for use in my own school? I would, of course, acknowledge your work.
Bravo for putting your guidelines out there to hopefully show the way for many other teachers/classrooms ahead. I've been hoping that sooner or later we'd start to see some school-oriented 'blog smart' strategies replace the DOPA and MySpace fear-mongering. At the end of the day, the kids can handle a straightforward set of guidelines that helps them be response-able in a social networking context. Bravo to you for leading the way.

Have shared part of your original post at "think:lab" along with a link back to you. Link:

Wishing you and your kids a great journey ahead!

Good work.

Komail Noori
Web Site Design - SEO Expert
Thanks for posting such succinct blogging rules. I'm beginning to blog with my 5th/6th grade students mostly as a means to share what we're doing with parents, and was quite glad to come across your rules and not have to reinvent the wheel making my own! I've cited you in my entry with the rules- thanks again!
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