For the past 2 weeks I have started to implement Passion Projects into my classroom. My students are very excited about the projects and have been engaged in every part this far.

Here is a quick overview of the past two weeks.

- I realized that we have many websites that my students will need to visit for the project. I created a symbaloo for my students to use to find the websites for our projects.

2. I then realized that the symbaloo address was way too long for each student to memorize, so I created a Bitly for my students to remember. (bitly.com/littlefuller). While introducing these tools to my students, I explained the background and reason for using the tools. Many of my students were interested and wanted to ask more questions about tools on the internet

3. I then introduced my students to KidBlog and I was very impressed. We learned how to find the website, log in, explore the dashboard. We then learned how to find and read a post.

I wanted my students to choose an avatar on the screen, but the accounts needed to be upgraded so I could not follow through with that plan. I am going to work with the students to create an avatar on a site (similar to paint) and then we can upload their pictures. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.

4. Next we looked at how to comment on the post. I asked the students to write hi, hey, or hello and post the comment. I then showed the students how their posts would go to my account and I would have to approve the comments before it would post to the KidBlog. I wanted my students to think about how big the internet is and the safety need when going on different websites.

5. We stopped to have a discussion about internet safety and asking permission for websites. My students are very responsible about using the internet at school, but I cannot speak for my students at home. I want to provide my students with learning opportunities that are safe and teach them how to use the internet in a safe way.

6. We then learned how to write a post. I asked the students to write about themselves to experiment with the keyboard. This is the first time that my students have blogged and I wanted them to try out writing in this way. ALL students were engaged in the activity and sat in silence for 30 minutes typing away. Some students were using 2 hands when typing, students were asking for help with capitalizing letters. I have to remind some students to look at the screen to check that their sentence was not in all capital letters.

Here are some examples from my students:

The students were very excited to share some information about themselves.

7. The next day we went back to the Computer Lab to start our projects. I introduced the idea of Passion Projects and had my students review some research videos on Discovery Education. I assigned the videos to the students as an introduction to our research questions creation.

8. After the students watched the videos, I presented the questions that I wanted them to blog about. I let my students know that they questions were there to start their thinking, but they did not have to answer all the questions. I wanted them to write questions that they wanted to research.

Here are some examples from their blog posts:

This is where we stopped our project for the week. I am going to let the students comment on each other’s posts next week during centers and see if more ideas/ questions spark from reading and commenting on other student’s work.

I am excited about the process so far, but still have many questions about spelling, word choice, readable posts.

Do you have any suggestions on improving student’s posts?

What are some guidelines for younger students and publishing on the internet?

Do you work on a “perfect” sentence or let them sound out the words themselves?

Thank you for sharing this. I love how you went step by step with your students and even showed them what you needed to do after they posted. How are your students with typing on the keyboard? Do they take a long time to try and figure out where all of the keys are, or are they very familiar with eh keyboard and know where each key is?

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Heidi,

We have been practicing typing on the keyboard with the Dance Mat Typing http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z3c6tfr. My students are better with typing on an ipad compared to a keyboard. Some are getting better, but I think/ hope it will improve with time and practice.

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