Making Over Third Grade!: Kidblog Giveaway!
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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Kidblog Giveaway!

I have been blogging here for 2 years - some months I am prolific and seem to have a lot to say - others I have good intentions to be according to the long list of draft post titles that start but never seem to finish due to I love blogging though and I have found that my students do too.

I have always been a writer. I loved to write in diaries when I was young and have never gone more than a few months without journaling throughout my adult life. There is just something about getting your thoughts and ideas down in writing; to be able to read it later and be able to relive that moment, or see what you could, or could not, have changed.

The same is true for students and why they journal; or at least, why I ask them to journal. As a teacher, I get to know the kids so much better through their journal writing. I can find out who they may be mad at, what happy things have occurred, or what they imagine. Writing back to each child each night was always time consuming but I loved it because I knew they loved reading my responses. I also loved that I was able to see them grow as writers throughout the year and the looks on their faces when they went back and read old entires ("I didn't write like that!" "How did you read this?!").
When my class was given 1:1 devices 2 1/2 years ago I knew I couldn't let the journaling go. It is something that I see so much value in. It is something that a lot of third graders started to shy away from though as the year progressed. I needed some way to keep them interested in daily writing and to enjoy it. That is when I found Kidblog.

Kidblog is a blog site created specifically for teachers. You create your class account and students can either use their Google login or you can create one for them. They can write about anything, and everything, and when they are ready they can publish their work for you to review. Then, depending on your settings, your student posts can be viewed by just you, by classmates, by connections (other kidblog classes that you follow or that follow you), or public. Even the public posts are protected though as they are not found in a simple search.You have to have the URL to find the blog. I also love that you can link your Google Drive to your blog. Students can then post Docs, Slides, and other files from their Drive right to their blog.

Last year, my kids loved to write almost as much as I did and I didn't have a lot of trouble with most of them writing each day. This year was very different. I had tried several different ways to get them interested in blogging to no avail. Then one weekend in mid-October or so, one of my kids started blogging at home to share about something he was doing. I made a big deal out of it in class the next day and within a week they were hooked! I mean, look at how much they have blogged this year:

The kids have loved writing about topics of their choice, reading what others have written, and commenting on other students' blogs. We follow several classes and they just love it when kids they do not know comment on their work. What I have found is that they have grown as writers in ways I didn't foresee. Yes, there are still grammar and spelling issues; and yes, there are those who just don't like to write however, they have discovered their voice.

This year I became an ambassador for Front Row (more on that in another post) and my kids were crazy about my Front Row A-Team shirt. They all decided they wanted one, so they blogged about it! I screenshot their blogs after publishing them and started tweeting them, tagging @FrontRow.
Well, soon they tweeted back (after I had tweeted 3 - 5 similar student requests) that they were going to have to look at making kids' shirts!
Then one of the Front Row team members came to my classroom and gave me 2 extra small adult shirts to share with my class (we are holding a raffle this week). They were overjoyed that their voices were heard and they were able to affect change. That is the power of writing and why I love Kidblog so much. The kids have a voice beyond the classroom.

I love Kidblog so much I asked if they would be willing to do a giveaway on  my blog and they said, YES! So, if you want to see the power of blogging for yourself please enter the giveaway below. This is for 1 teacher premium account (12 months, 200 student logins, worth $36/year).

Good Luck!
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