Going Paperless: Morning Journals Version 2.0

Note this is one of the posts I will be bringing over from my previous blog.  This was originally posted on December 6, 2012.

Last school year I used an app/website called “Lino It” for my students to do a morning journal entry.  (You can read about that in a previous post.)  By doing journals this way I was able to completely eliminate the use of paper as well as instantly see and respond to the journal entries of my students.  Lino It had many advantages, but also some disadvantages.  A few of the biggest disadvantages was that students could edit any post, not just there own, the posts would pile on top of one another and at times pile on top of and block the journal topic and students had to remember to add their names to the end of their posts.

It was because of these issues that I decided to embark on a quest to find a new way for my students to do paperless journaling.  After searching and experimenting with several different apps and websites I stumbled across Kidblog.  Kidblog is a secure blogging system for my students that I, and any other adult I grant “teacher” status to, can control.  As the teacher I am able to see posts before they go out to the rest of the class, edit posts and delete posts that need to be deleted for one reason or another.

Kidblog was very simple to set up and I was able to use the same passwords my students use in the computer lab as their Kidblog passwords.  For the past week my students have been responding to journal prompts that I post on Kidblog.  As my students respond I review their responses and then post my own response to their journal post.  Not only do students get a chance to virtually interact with me, but they also get the chance to interact with their classmates.  This serves as a writing exercise, an exercise in the use of technology and also as a way to practice digital citizenship.

 

This is what students see before signing into their account.

Using several QR Codes, that I have hanging around my room, and their iPod Touches students can instantly get to the Kidblog sign in page.  Before signing in the only thing visible (to them and to anyone who stumbles across the site) is the title of posts, the author’s username and the number of responses.  They cannot see what was written by me or any of their classmates until they have signed into their account.

One of my favorite things about Kidblog is that students do not have to remember both a username and password.  All of the usernames, which I have set up as the student’s first name, are displayed via a drop down menu.  This allows them to simply select their name from the list.  Once signed in, students can view new posts, view responses to old posts and, although we haven’t started yet, create and post to their own blog.  As time progresses I plan to have each of my students create their own blog and respond to the blogs of other students.

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