19 Things for Hamden Hall

Week 2: Writing and Sharing

Posted on: April 27, 2011

And now it’s time to begin! Week 2 is devoted to writing and sharing. The following resources might help you share resources with your students, encourage them to write, or allow them to better collaborate. Each “thing” will guide you through tasks that show you what it is and how you would use it, and then you can try it for yourself. You do not have to complete all of the tasks, but they are designed to help you get a feel for each tool.

Remember: you should choose two “things” to explore fully, and then reflect on them in a comment on this post. In your comment, tell us which two resources you looked at. You might want to discuss:

  • Challenges you had with using the resource
  • Questions you have about it
  • If you think it’s appropriate for your students to use
  • If you can think of an application for it in your curriculum
  • If you enjoyed using it, didn’t like it, etc.

A few sentences about each resource is all you need.

Click the links below to jump to the things you want to explore, or scroll down to read through all of them at once.

Google Docs

Thing 1: Blogging

What is it?

Watch this 2.5 minute video on Blogs in Plain English

How can you use it?

Read through at least two of the following classroom blogs:

Watch this video from Edublogs: Ten Ways to Use Your Edublog to Teach

Try it out!

Write a sample blog post on the WordPress blog that you set up when you created your account. You might write about:

  • Something you heard about in the news that you think your students would like to discuss
  • A thought about the book you’re reading in class
  • A reflection on a recent project that your students worked on

To create a new post, go to Posts > Add New from the dashboard or use the New Post link in the gray admin bar shown at the top of WordPress.com pages while you are logged in.

Thing 2: Wikis

What is it?

Watch this 3.5 minute video on Wikis in Plain English.

How can you use it?

Visit and explore at least two of the following classroom wikis:

Browse this list of 50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom and try to find at least two that might work with your curriculum and grade level.

Try it out!

Visit the 19 Things Wiki and add your name to the list.

Thing 3: Google docs

What is it?

Watch this 2.5 minute video on Google Docs in Plain English

How can you use it?

Browse through at least two the the following Google Docs classroom projects:

Browse Google’s educational templates (or search for your topic in the search box at the top of the page – for example, here are the biology templates and here are fractions). Try to find one that you think might work in your classroom.

Try it out!

Visit this Google doc and add your name to the list! Take this as an opportunity to play around with the Google doc – don’t worry, you can’t break anything.

Thing 4: LiveBinders

What is it?

Watch this 1.5 minute video on LiveBinders for Teachers.

How can you use it?

Look through at least two of the following LiveBinders:

Search the LiveBinders website for topics related to your grade level and curriculum. Try to find at least one that you think you could use with your students. To search, type your term into the search box at the top right of the screen.

Try it out!

Register on the LiveBinders website and click the “create binder” tab. Create a LiveBinder with at least one web page. When you set up your binder, use the following settings: Type in a title and description. Don’t worry about adding tabs. Select the “Education” category and make your binder public. Do not use Google search to fill the binder.

I hope that you have found at least two of these resources worthy of exploration. Remember, if you have any questions about using any of these tools or about the 19 Things project itself (including how to use this blog), please let me know!

Next week we will be discussing researching and using the internet. See you then!


24 Responses to "Week 2: Writing and Sharing"

I found it interesting to explore both Edublog and the LiveBinders tools. Both of these could function as a “Home Base” for students where they could find class assignments, supplemental materials, and other important information.

If I were to use either of these applications, it would seem redundant to continue using FirstClass for similar communications. I would like to know if using this type of site would replace my course conferences? Would I still be required to use FirstClass for the weekly assignments as well?

I can see that this type of site would be very useful for gathering information and communicating it in a polished way, and I like that aspect. I think it would be a great way to draw students’ attention to current news and other important concepts.

A final concern, though, would be if the students would actually spend much time exploring the site. Perhaps only if you required a certain number of comments/responses per week.

Great questions. I think these sites could replace a FirstClass conference, but I’m not sure how that would affect teacher requirements. A blog is a far more interactive tool than a conference in that your students can comment directly on each post. And LiveBinders are a great way to, as you say, have a lot of resources available in one place.

I totally echo your concern. It can be a challenge to draw students to online resources, and I think the best way is to require them to do so. Otherwise, they can get overwhelmed by the number of sites and resources they have to visit and allow it to drop off of their radar. There has to be a motivation for them to use the resource (just like we have to motivate them to read from their textbooks by requiring it).

I’m so glad you found these sites interesting. You picked my two favorites. Thanks!

You make a great point about these tools being redundant to a First Class Conference. For school continuity and emergency planning, all we would ask is that the teacher have a conference “space” with a link to their course blog, LiveBinder, Google Doc, etc. First Class is a little limiting in its communication interface. These other tools definitely have their advantages!

I looked at Live Binders with Sara’s help and found many things that might work for first graders. Looking at math and social studies.

I’m glad you liked it! I hope you find some good resources for your students.

Loved Live Binders.
Great suggestions for poetry and math.

Thanks Donna! I’m glad you had a chance to look at it!

I looked at blogging and wiki’s. We ‘ve been using wiki’s in the library this year to re-train the students to think about using library resources as the best first option in research rather than going to “Google” by default.
Its my organizational tool for the LS classes…. online videos, BBC skills, booktalks and trailers, preselected resources etc etc are all stored in one place…. I could almost say that I wouldn’t be without it except LiveBinders are coming on strong too!

Getting back to the wiki… the kids in 2nd and 4th grade access their appropriate wiki ” library class” site and use library resources for the inquiry based projects (webquests etc) I create. They embrace the independence it affords and they feel empowered when they actually find information they need. Accessing our subscription databases is only a click away. I also play with the idea that it has applications for an improved library presence on the school website.
It was interesting to look through the use of blogs at the different age levels. However, I question its educational value for the students at the grade one level since it doesn’t give students the immediate feedback in the physical presence of a teacher. I believe there is untold benefit in that.

Jane, thanks so much for your thoughts. I agree with all that you say about wikis…I have also found them to be useful and encourage independent exploration of topics.

I think in terms of blogging with the little ones, many teachers are using it more as a “look what we’re doing” tool as opposed to having the students blog themselves. The teachers can share their students’ work, pictures of the students and classroom, etc. I totally agree that young students need the physical presence of a teacher, but a blog can be a nice way to showcase what students are doing.

Hmm… When we communicate with the parents we must show that learning is taking place not what they are doing. This is an effective use of technologies tools.

I looked at Live Binders. I loved the Cool Comic Creators site. The Lego site was cool. I could have my students design a Lego cartoon and then write in French about it. Mrs. Knight’s English Binder was very well organized. I liked how she posted an introduction to her class with expectations and requirements.

I already have my students do all of their writing using Google.docs. It is always a collaborative activity. First, they compose a conversation in French together, then we work on the pronunciation together in class and the next day, they present it in class. It helps their writing and speaking skills.

Deb Cook

Deb, I loved the comic creators, too. There are so many uses for comics in the classroom. My favorite is toondoo.com, but I’d like to play around with some of the others on that LiveBinder.

The way you use Google docs with your students is GREAT. It’s the perfect use for that tool.

Now I’m really learning…

Thanks for adding your name to the Google doc and the wiki – awesome!

Totally excited about the Live Binders. We are just starting our unit on poetry and the Shel Silverstein poetry site is fabulous. Can’t wait to use it tomorrow. I will most likely need your help, Sara. Maybe we can use this resource in computer class tomorrow????

Also, I looked at blogging, which I have always been afraid of trying. It looks like it could either be a lot of work, or pretty simple. It could be a great way for more interaction and communication between parents and their kid’s classroom. Perhaps the HH website should have a link for teacher/classroom blogs for those who want to try it next year.

I am not in tomorrow 😦 but I can play around with it tonight and try to send you my thoughts on it. I bet your kids will really like it and I’m glad you found something you liked!

Blogging gets more and more simple the more you do it. At first it is almost intimidating, putting your words out there for others to read, but the more you do it the more comfortable you get with it. If you can use Facebook, you can blog! Love your idea of having a place for teachers to share classroom blogs…

I tried out some of the math live binders- tweedle dee and tweedle dum, Icarus and Daedulus. The live binders seem interesting. Lots of information. Seems to be a good way to organize your favorites or have sites for parents. I would be interested in learning more about live binders.

I’d be happy to talk with you about how to use them during a tech byte…I really like using them to share resources with students. It would be an easy way to keep all of your math or reading sites in one place so that your students could easily find them.

The Blog site was informative and I look forward to trying it out.

I have used Edublog with success as a way for students to share what is essentially an online journal in which they post and comment on quotes and questions related to our texts. This would take up a huge amount of space on our course conference, which I use for syllabi and links to curricular materials.

Googledocs has been an excellent resource for collaborative writing, in particular for writing skits in pairs. It has speeded up the process as compared with previous years when I could not have the students write and edit together for homework. The students love it, and I like that I can watch the process by sharing the document as it is created.

Seeing possibilities for using in classroom. Also for writing collaborative comments w/ Joanie. Looking forward to our time w/ you on Mon.

The “Poetry Pathfinders” in live binders is like what we’re doing in computer class on the interactive poetry website. It definitely is a way for reluctant poets to get involved- and maybe to be inspired!

I am hoping to set up a Wiki for when we start literature circles.

T. Porto
We are just finishing our book on Amelia Earhart.
Found a slide show on wikipedia that shows Amelia and all her flights. First graders loved it.

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