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Blogging with Seesaw: The power of an authentic audience – PD in Your PJs

Today we are talking about blogging with seesaw the power of an authentic audience, i’m angela with a seesaw team, and i’m really excited to introduce to you cara, 4m who’s, an amazing teacher that has so many great examples of how she uses blogging in her classroom. So cara take it away hi everyone welcome i’m going to share with you this evening of how blogging really can be so powerful for your students and give them a voice that you may be surprised to hear and in such a good way.

I am a current 7th grade, math teacher. However, I did spend the first 19 years of my career teaching grades 3 4 & 5, and you see saw in my classroom in middle school now, as well as using it previously in elementary school as well. So I’m coming to you also from Cary North Carolina and that’s right outside of our state capital of Raleigh. If you’d like to connect with me on social media, you can find me at mrs.

Bream tweets on Twitter and at mrs. Bream math on Instagram. I am a CSUN ambassador and I’m excited to share with you, but also know that I am Google certified level 2 certified educator as well as a national board certified teacher in literacy. I know a math teacher, who’s certified and literacy go figure right. Well, I am so excited to share with you and wanted to give you our plan for today we’re going to share a little bit about why blogging is something that you could and maybe should be doing with your students and then I’ll.

Take you through just the basics of setting up a seesaw blog. We will talk about and I will show you how you can get connected with other blogs, using seesaw and as well as work on collaboration through blogs. Finally, we’ll end up with a practicing digital citizenship. With blogs and I’ll give you some tips that I’ve used in my classroom before as well, so I’m so excited to have you here to talk about blogging.

It can be so powerful for our students to have a voice, that’s heard, and not just you know, heard by the teacher or heard by their family at home, heard by you, know someone walking down the hallway or the administrator who happens to come into the room At that moment, but instead really provide an authentic audience for for student voice and give students a really safe and moderated environment in which they can develop the skills that are going to be needed as they mature and develop and become real citizens in our digital world.

So blogging really allows for having having a place for students to grow and to learn to promote collaboration and conversation and truly give students a place where they can connect with new audiences and whether that be different grade levels in the same school. Different schools at different grade levels or same grade levels or even connect throughout the country or throughout the world and vlogging also allows students to showcase the amazing learning, that’s happening and all of their success and even their failures along the way so that they can learn From each other and have someone and a group of people to to share with and to think about how they’re presenting their work and their ideas with others, so we’re going to be talking today about how seasaw is an amazing tool to use to get students blogging And connected and the basics of blogging, I promise you, if you’re not already set up with a seesaw blog, it can be set up.

Super easy, three, simple, easy steps. So what I have for you are the downright basics. Now this is so basic. You could get started with this right after this PD session. You can get your class connected and ready to go for tomorrow. The first step would be once you’re already logged in to sisa. As a teacher, the teacher would be able to select the blog tab in the top right hand corner once you open that blog tab, a new screen will come up different from the journal and activities or inbox that you might be used to and that blog tab Will tell you hey: this is where your students can share their work and publish their work around the world, so you’re going to click on the learn more button on that page.

The second step would be to set up a public blog URL. So what happens? Is that after you click that last blue button, a screen will pop up that says all right. So let’s set up this public blog and when you click that public blog button you get to name your blog, so you can choose a name for your class blog. Your blog name is something it’s whatever your class is being called. So if you call it, you know, like Miss, B’s class and that’s my PD class, then that’s what it would be called here.

Another option would be, you know, to change the name of your class as opposed, so you could capture that, but the blog URL is that web address that would be used if someone were to search for it and the beginning of each seasaw blog is the same Exact set up where its blog seasaw dot me slash, and then you get to put in what you want it to be named. If it’s an open blog address, you’ll see a little green check.

The example on the bottom is a blog address, that’s already taken, and it will tell you this blog is already taken so thing. You need to change it and tweak it. So once you have that set up, you would click on that green arrow and the next would be to select your blog settings. You have a couple choices. Do you want to allow comments on your blog, and I do have comments allowed on my blog, so the green switch just like all the other switches for see-saw means it’s turned on.

If you wanted to turn it off, then you would slide it to the left and it would look like it’s turned off or closed. You can also have your blog password protected. That’s something that you can choose to do so if you want to have a public blog but also keep it password protected in private, you could do that as well, and that’s something if you want it password protected. You would be able to turn it on once.

You have those two settings set up, then your blog is set up and ready to roll, and they she saw provides for you, your blog URL, and tells you that your students and you are ready to start tapping on the blog icon. That will now appear below any item that’s submitted in their feed view, so the students or the teacher are able to select that and share anything that they put in seiza inside of their blog.

So I want to show you just very quickly what that would look like setting up a blog from your classroom. So I have a seesaw class setup right here and it’s a sample class for PD purposes. My list of students are on the right, and this is what my journal would might look like. I have the blog button right here or I could even click on the wrench button to get there, but I’ll click on that blog button and then remember.

I would click on learn more and I’m going to set up a public blog. So this is the name of a class and you can see that match is what what I called the class here when I set up the seesaw classroom and then I would want to decide on a blog URL. So maybe I want to say blog PD. Well, let’s see if that’s available, oh no, it’s taken! So maybe I want to say blogging PD, let’s see if that’s available, Oh see that little green check right over here tells me I’m good and we will continue enabling the comments on the blog automatically gets turned on.

If you do not want that, you can turn it off, but keep in mind if you, if you have it turned on which I do for my students, all blog comments do require teacher approval. So if something were to come across on the blog, they, you might think your students shouldn’t see, or that was just you know. Students will be students and they might put something a little silly on there. You can certainly delete that, and you know, have a conversation with either whoever typed it from your class or have a conversation with your students about appropriate blog comments, so it really leads into that digital citizenship.

If you wanted to turn on your password, you could do it there as well. The blog has been created, it’s pretty awesome. Now it’s called blogging PD and anytime. I have an item for my blog that I want to add, or my students want to add. They can click on this little world icon and that will take us right into our blog. So here’s our blog, I can click on this gear to customize it even further. This will take me into you know.

I can write a description. I can add an image. So up here, instead of it being all blue, I could put a picture up there of anything that I would like to write here is that blog URL that I could copy/paste share and also see what it looks like live now? I don’t have anything in my blog, but this is what it would look like to an outside audience and so they’re not actually in my seasaw classroom, but they get to see a picture of the learning.

That’s happening all right. So that’s just a quick demo on how to get it set up and, like I said three easy steps you could certainly do that. The big push for my wife or having students blogging is to be connected to connecting connecting my students to other classrooms and being a middle-school teacher. I have different class periods of students so connecting my first period to my fifth period and my sixth period to my fourth period and so on, but also to connect to others outside of my school building outside of my school district and outside of my state and Country so seesaws connected blogs.

Allow you to do that as a teacher, and she saw already has it set up so that it’s very easy to connect with other blogs, so your students can be connected with others and search and see and share with others and grow with others as well. It’s a very safe environment, it’s all within the see-saw boundaries, and I think that that to me as a teacher and even as a mom who has a student or child connected in her classroom, it makes me feel like this is a safe, protected place where we Can learn and grow together when you receive the slides, you can access all the blog resources that I have for you like how to connect specifically connecting blogs to each other and who can I connect with, but just know again, that is a really safe environment and It’s pretty exciting because when you are ready to connect, there are teachers out there throughout the whole globe that, and you can click on this document and be connected with people instantly so, depending on your grade level from pre-k the whole way through 12th grade.

There are blogs listed in this document. It is a fluid document, so teachers are adding to it all the time, adding their blog URL to it, so that you can connect – and I just want to show you very quickly how to connect so we’re going to go back in to the blog that we Created and down here at the bottom, I have a connected blogs, a link that is within that blog page. I can also access that through the wrench.

If I scroll down here, I can find my class blog where it’s turned on. It’s enabled I can always shut it off. If I, if I choose to, I can have a blog on, but not let students post. So I could always turn that off, so they would not see that world icon. If I wanted to take a little break from that or turn it back on, if they’re allowed to post on the blog, this is where the settings might might be. What my blog appearance would look like, but down here at the bottom or the connected blogs right now.

I don’t have any blogs that I’m connected to, because I just set it up. So I would click the plus sign at the bottom to connect to blogs and notice the beginning of the the URL is already there for me. So I just want that part that would connect me to a blog that maybe I’ve um. I went to the list and I’m looking at that document and I found one: this is a PD blog that I created, so I’m going to type this in and click that checkmark.

This would give me is asking: is this a blog you want to connect to, and it gives me a description of the blog? I can even click on it and preview, the blog to see it’s really something that I want to connect to, and if that is something that I want to connect to, then I would connect that blog once I’m connected. Then that means that when my students, when they’re logged in they see that globe in the upper right hand corner they can click on connected blogs and they can select and look at that blog from the list without ever leaving see-saw.

So it allows a global connection without even you know, going into any sort of web site or web search or anything like that. It keeps things very safe. I’r going to also share with you another blog that I had students working on and I’m going to be. Sharing more information about this in another webinar this coming Thursday. Actually. But this is a blog that I use in conjunction with a third grade classroom that we worked with virtually and we created through seesaw a blog.

So when I’m done here and I go back and I I look look and see at what is connected and what’s available, if I refresh my page, the connected blogs should change over here on the right-hand side, and I can see that I have two connected blogs And here they are and I can go and click on them and there I am in that connected blog. This is the PD blog and I can go and see the items that were shared on the blog, and I could comment on that blog because remember: that’s not my students, that’s another classroom, so that connection is so simple and so easy and the best part about It is that I’ll go back to this slide.

See saw already has a document set up a Google Doc set up where you can go in and share your blog URL and get other blog URLs that you can connect with with other teachers from around the world, including some of my students as well collaboration is So powerful, when it’s done through the blog’s, because again, students are, are really working together and getting ideas from each other and sharing their ideas as well through the blog and having that very first outsider blog response is just incredibly priceless.

My students were so excited each and every one of them every time they got their very first blog response, and you can see here that I, the snapshot of this. We had a student posting and Owen from the blog responded that you know this is really cool. But if you don’t know me, I’m on the blog and the students got a kick out of this because they’re like oh look, look, look, someone from the blog is actually like, they saw it, they saw it and it wasn’t their dad.

Chad is the student’s dad. It wasn’t another student in the class. Reishi is another student in the classroom, who’s commenting on it, but it’s someone from the outside and it was so powerful for the students to see that very first blog response. It was also really neat to collaborate with others. We’re here in North Carolina and we were connected with and have been connected with, schools from across the country and a few schools in other countries as well, and some of the really close schools were actually right down the street.

And it was a little silly in a way that the students were like where, where is this school? Where is where’s mrs. Drake and mrs. Drake’s fifth graders were actually a school that was about two and a half miles away and another elementary school. That connected with our fourth grade classroom, and so these students were connecting and didn’t even realize how close they were from each other. They, it felt like a whole world away, but very close, and they were we’re sharing ideas, and you know some of them was.

Oh it, this is just so cool, or I really like this, but it gave them that audience that they didn’t get with or from their their families or their teacher or just hanging something in the hallway. But we did have connections that were from far away and we had a blog connection a couple years ago and we’re in Cary North Carolina. We were connected to a class in Dubai, so that was really neat and also was connected to a class in China.

And my students were excited about that and every time that there was a post from the blog, you know it would give another student’s name notice. Only first names are used no last names except for mine, because I’m the teacher, but it would tell us that it’s from the blog – and we would have these conversations back and forth – between students from the blog and and students in my classroom, and it was so Powerful for them and then they would start asking up, did anyone anyone post it.

I got to go on and check to see if anyone posted on my blog today, so they were really excited to make those connections, and it really fed very nicely into being good digital citizens and seesaws blog feature was a way for us to even practice that Digital citizenship, before I ever even turn the blog feature on one of the things that we talked about, and we talked about in my classroom – is thinking thinking before we post and but we actually started off with the think rule.

Did I share with you here before we ever even talked about anything social media related or blog related? We were just talking about, you, know, being a good person and showing kindness in the classroom and and then it led into a digital conversation, and we talked about digital footprints, but really it’s more of a digital tattoo. So we want to make sure that we have. We have a positive image that we’re presenting for ourselves because we’re sharing with people that we don’t know – or you know we found out some of these people were right down the street, so maybe we would meet them someday and it wasn’t just someone that was a Random stranger, so we practiced as using this think rule before ever diving into the blog feature, because I knew it was coming and I knew I wanted to use it.

But I printed this on weekly to-do list that I had for my students. We had independent checklist that we had. We had posted around the classroom, we talked about it and practice. It weekly actually started using sticky notes at first like okay. Well, tell me tell me one thing that is true. Tell me one thing that was helpful today. One thing that inspired you today, so we used those words and for a couple weeks and we just used sticky notes like an exit ticket, but it was explicitly taught my think rule that I’m talking about here was taught in my classroom, and I think that that Was a real benefit to my students because they knew that the comments that they were going to eventually post on seesaw and then blog and post on seesaw, that all those comments required teacher approval – and I always have that turned on because I felt like they needed To know that someone was reading and someone would see if you want to encourage digital citizenship – here’s a few posters in printables that you could print out for your classroom.

That see-saw provides so different ways that you could share commenting different ways that you can. You know encourage conversation, ideas about what to post and what not to post, and that leads very nicely into a question. That’s often asked is: where should I post this on seesaw? I have all these different options I can have students share in a journal. I can share it in an inbox. We could share it on the blog now so kind of keeping things divvied out into their separate sections and it kind of helps compartmentalize.

What where the sharing should happen. So a journal post would be where student wants to capture their work and or respond to activities or a personalized photo of something like you know. They took a picture of them with something so that that would be in a journal. Taking a picture and putting your picture your your image on the blog, that would not happen in my classroom, so we do talk a lot about how a blog is a public audience and when we’re connecting with other classrooms.

That book, the pictures, the comments, the information should be very its to the public and it should be very eliminating anything personal, so we’re not going to put on personal photos, but maybe we could share a picture of our work. We’re not going to put our full entire name, but we could have our first name. So we have conversations about that, but also you know, if there’s something more private that you want to share, that’s not meant for the blog that would be sending to families and or to even students and families.

Regular communication newsletters reminders class pictures from your learning experience. Whatever that might be so everything kind of has its place, keeping in mind that the blog is a public audience that you’re connecting with other classrooms, so vlogging can be so powerful. It gives students such a strong voice. It gives them a reason. It gives them a. Why – and I certainly hope that you try it with your students if you have not yet tried it and connect with others within the seesaw community.

There’s some amazing things going on out there that I know you’re doing please share with others as well, so you can do that all through. You know the different social media groups that that are out there and I’m so excited that you were here with me today and be in touch. You know you can get in touch with me on Twitter and Instagram as well.


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