A Big Thanks!

Summer School is officially over for this year, but the students wanted to express their thanks to those of you who commented on our classroom blog. They were constantly asking me if I knew the people that made comments. They were excited to check, and eager to write back. I even watched their commenting begin to change just a bit within the three weeks we worked on the blog as they began to model their comments after the ones they received. It’s amazing what kids pick up. So, from the Summer Coffey Crew and from me…


Summertime Bloggers in Second Grade

I’m in the middle of teaching Summer School to some great second graders, and they have been posting to a class blog to practice writing skills.  They are really excited about the possibility of recieving comments from people, as well as intrigued with the cluster map on the blog.  If you have a free moment, would you mind leaving them some comments?  Click here to visit our class blog! Thanks!

East Salem Teacher and Students Interviewed on GenTech Podcast

GenTech logoKelly Baer and the 4th grade Bloggers group at East were interviewed on GenTech Podcast. The GenTech podcast is a weekly conversation about a particular tool or trend, and how it can be used educationally.  If you’d like to hear what they had to say, click on the links below!

Field Report #12:  Kelly Baer

Field Report #13:  Students Talk About Blogging 

What is RSS?

This past year I’ve noticed that a bunch of educators in our system have started blogging. One of the easiest ways to keep up with all these new blogs (in one place) is to use RSS. Here’s a simple explanation created by commoncraft:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/AwtmOPdrEL8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

I use Google Reader, but there are other feed readers out there like Pageflakes or Netvibes. If you want one already set up for you, check out this one on Pageflakes–it’s all set up for Salem City Schools, complete with RSS feeds for the blogs I know about (let me know if I’ve missed yours), local weather, and local news. You can bookmark it and use it like it is or create your own account so you can add your own things.

SCS Feeds Page on PageFlakes

Download Video: Posted by tcoffey at TeacherTube.com.

Update (1/7/08)

I’ve noticed that Pageflakes sometimes runs really slow at school. If you are having trouble, you can use Netvibes instead. I’ve set up the same feeds there too. Netvibes does take awhile to load initially, but if you login and save the page, the next time you visit, it will load a lot quicker. Click here to try: Add to Netvibes After you click on this button, make sure to choose “yes” to preview the page and “yes” to add it to your page, even if you do not have a Netvibes account yet.

Galapagos Trip (and blog)

DSC_0407 DSC_0165 One of my “bowling buddies” is currently on a trip to the Galapagos Islands, compliments of the website My Wonderful World. That’s right, she won the trip! It’s 10 days long, and she’s blogging about her adventures on her blog, Wandering the Wild. Since she is also an educator, she’s hoping that students and teachers will find it useful. Check it out–I’m sure she’d love to hear encouraging comments!

Image Citation:
Ratcliffe, Connie. “Giant Tortoise and Marine Iguana.” Flickr. 08/14/2007. 6 Sep 2007 <http://www.flickr.com/photos/wanderingthewild/>.

Why blog? (An incredible classroom blog example)

I’ve been watching Kathy Cassidy’s Classroom blog a lot lately. I am so impressed! She is a grade one and two teacher in Canada…and she has used her classroom blog to really open the world for her students. I ran across this interview with her on You Tube…and just had to share.


In her video, Kathy talks about blogmeister, a blogging site created for teachers by David Warlick. You can create a site for your class there or with another blogging engine (like 21 classes or edublogs). Start small, as Kathy said, and then as you feel comfortable, you can add more features later.

Way to go Teacher Bloggers!

Some of your colleagues have just started using blogs with their classes.  Check out the links below to see what they’ve done and how they are using them!  Make sure to look at the students’ comments!

4th Grade Example (click on the article title or on “Whee!” to see student comments)

5th Grade Example 

4th Grade Typing Penpals

3rd Grade PenPals

If you are interested in trying this with your class, feel free to contact me.  I’ll be glad to help you get started!


A New Type of Newsletter

If you are reading this blog, then you’ve found my new “newsletter” for the technology happenings at your school. Welcome!  Yes, and that’s what this is….a blog.  I am going to be blogging to keep you informed!   Why?  Because I can tell you what I need to tell you without having to wait until I put out a newsletter each month.  A blog also has advantages for other reasons.  You will be able to look back at past “news” if you need to.  You’ll be able to look for information I have written about certain topics using “tags” or categories.  I will be modeling for you a use of technology that I think would be very useful for your classroom.  And, the coolest part….blogging is actually two way communication!  See that “comment” link right below this article?  If you click on it, you can leave a comment about the article you are reading.  It’s even possible to have a nice discussion via the blog comments. 

So, let’s lay some ground rules: 
1) You do not have to comment, but please do if you have something to say. 
2) This is NOT another form of a “help” page.  If you choose to comment, please keep the discussion about the topic of the article to which you are responding.  Also, please do not leave comments about wanting to schedule a time with me—this is best done through email. 
3)  You do not have to leave your email address, but it would help me to at least know what school you are from….and your name if you feel comfortable.  First names are fine. 
4)  Remember that this page is part of the Internet.  Anyone can read it.  Do not use kids’ names. 
5)  Be honest.  If you don’t like one of my ideas, feel free to say so and tell me why.  If you have questions, ask.  If you have suggestions, please share.  If you used an idea and it went really well, tell me.  If it was a flop, tell me that too.  Remember that others can read your comments as well, so what you say may help someone else. 

So, that’s it!  Go for it!  I will remind you once a month to check this blog in lieu of sending out my monthly newsletter.  You can visit anytime…I will post new articles regularly…you don’t have to wait for my email!    

PS—Blogs also use something called RSS feed (you see it mentioned in the box to the right).  Using this feed might make it easier to keep up with this blog, and to keep tabs on a bunch of other really neat stuff on the web.  Keep a look out for webpages that have an RSS feed.  You might see a little orange xml or rss icon to let you know.  For now, just try and notice, and I’ll explain more about it later.


Web 2.0 Inservice

Okay, maybe it’s too soon to tell, but would you like to have a page like this?  It’s pretty easy to do…you don’t need any special programs…just a web browser.  You do everything (including picking the style of your page) by filling in forms and checking (or un-checking) boxes.  The only thing that is helpful to know how to do is cutting and pasting from a word processing program (like MS Word).  BUT, you don’t have to know how to do this.  The only reason I like to start first in Word is because I am addicted to spell check, and as of yet, edublogs does not have spell check.  If you are interested in making a page like this, you should come to one of the Web 2.0 inservices!  There will be two in October (Oct. 18-East and Oct. 23-GWC) right after school.  You’ll even receive unscheduled inservice hours…so think about it.  Email me if you want to come!