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Telegra.ph - telegra.ph

Grades
2 to 12
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Telegra.ph is a simple to use web publishing tool for even the most novice creators. Click and type to fill in the title, your name, and add content. Choose the ...more
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Telegra.ph is a simple to use web publishing tool for even the most novice creators. Click and type to fill in the title, your name, and add content. Choose the camera icon to upload images from your computer or select the brackets to paste a YouTube, Vimeo, or Twitter link. When finished, click on the publish button. That is it! Your work is now online. Just copy the URL to share. Add or delete content at any time using the link to edit.

tag(s): blogs (78), writing (363)

In the Classroom

Use this tool as an easy to use blogging tool in the classroom and in every subject area. Use in language arts classes to strengthen students' writing ability and 21st century skills. Teach about proper commenting etiquette on simple first blog posts. Use for student-written book reviews for the school library. Use as a tool for class or parent communication. Engage students in discussions on current events, independent reading, literature, and more. Ask students to play the role of a historical figure and write about their viewpoints or experiences. Use the site as a forum for any simulated or real task. Invite parents to join to give their points of view on upcoming elections or public policy issues by commenting on student posts. Share a blog in even the youngest of classes, for parents to use to learn about a specific unit of study, field trips, and more. Use this site in world language classes to have students write a blog entry in the new language. Include the principal or superintendent in class discussions of students' rights as you study the Constitution. Create incredible discussions of environmental, political, or economic issues. Create a standing assignment for elementary and middle schoolers on snow days. Have students write a post about the snow using Telegra.ph and share the url on a class wiki. Post the various links on the class web page so students can comment on each other's posts after they come in from sledding.

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StackEdit - Benoit Schweblin

Grades
8 to 12
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StackEdit is a free MarkDown editor offering several options for creating, saving, and collaborating with documents. Choose the "Start Writing Now" link to create a document ready for...more
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StackEdit is a free MarkDown editor offering several options for creating, saving, and collaborating with documents. Choose the "Start Writing Now" link to create a document ready for publication to blogs. Go through the tutorial and then click on the folder symbol all the way to the right of the top menu bar. Select new document. Start typing your document adding images, hyperlinks, and more using the menu bar. The split screen allows users to preview content in HTML and see how the final view will look while creating it, making it easy to see the end product. Open, save, and collaborate using Google documents and DropBox content. Publish the finished product to WordPress, GitHub, and other blogging platforms, or save as a PDF. StackEdit is simple and intuitive, and first-timers will be very comfortable using it. At the time of this review, StackEdit ran very slowly on Chrome.

tag(s): blogs (78), coding (76), editing (79)

In the Classroom

Sometimes students (and teachers) get distracted by the appearance of a project instead of focusing on the content. Using StackEdit and Markdown language offers the opportunity to set up and format text before adding the "bells and whistles." Have students use StackEdit to create and polish content for blogs or other projects requiring HTML, then upload and add images, graphs, and maps later.

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100 Word Challenge - J. Skinner

Grades
2 to 12
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The 100 Word Challenge provides weekly prompts and will publish your writing to an audience. We all know that having an audience for our writing makes us better writers. So, ...more
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The 100 Word Challenge provides weekly prompts and will publish your writing to an audience. We all know that having an audience for our writing makes us better writers. So, write 100 words in response to the prompt on your blog, and then send the URL for the entry to 100 Word Challenge. There is a page with screen shots telling you exactly when they release the Challenges and how to get them published. Be sure to read the information about Team 100 WC, since you must have at least one adult volunteer to make a comment (100 words or less). It is also important for you read Allowing Comments on Your Blog Posts. If you have not started blogging yet, check out TeachersFirst Blog Basics.

tag(s): blogs (78), digital storytelling (147)

In the Classroom

Share the weekly prompts on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Replace paper and pencil writing journals and have students respond to the prompt on your classroom blog. If you teach younger students or resource students, you may want to apply to the 5 Sentence Challenge, instead of the 100 Word Challenge. They are both available at the same URL. The benefits of participating in a blog like this go beyond just writing. Submitting your students' writing to either of these Challenge blogs will provide the all-important publish piece that students need in order to feel accomplished and to do their best. They can also build cultural understanding through reading the responses from others to the same prompt. If you would like your students to write their blogs more than once a week, you might want to visit Thought Questions, reviewed here.

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My Live Chat - mylivechat

Grades
K to 12
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Create a polished, professional live chat on your blog or class site with this FREE tool. Create a "How Can I Help You?" message to pop-up as parents and students ...more
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Create a polished, professional live chat on your blog or class site with this FREE tool. Create a "How Can I Help You?" message to pop-up as parents and students visit the page. When in an active chat, visitors receive a pop-up asking if they wish to join the chat. This tool runs on every platform and mobile device. Be sure to check out the demo tab to understand how to use the tool in your website. Add the HTML code into your site to add the chat box and features. Use this tool to analyze site traffic so you can identify what is most used by students and parents.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chat (45), DAT device agnostic tool (171)

In the Classroom

Create a chat message pop-up for the most frequently asked questions students and parents have about finding items on your classroom site. Offer a set time for office hours published well in advance for parents and students to drop in and ask questions about assignments, homework help, or any other questions that they may have. Set up a chat time early in the school year for "meet and greet" so parents discover your website or for those who are unable to attend back to school night! Cut down on email! Encourage students to identify the questions they (or their parents) have the most as you develop the scope for your chat. ESL/ELL teachers can use the chat to provide extra written language practice for their students in an engaging way! Use the chat with your colleagues in a Teacher Lounge format to help each other in the appropriate use of technology, content sharing, or professional development.

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Quadblogging - David Mitchell

Grades
2 to 12
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Give your student writers an audience... possibly an international one! Sign up for Quadblogging and be guaranteed that your students will have at least three other classrooms...more
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Give your student writers an audience... possibly an international one! Sign up for Quadblogging and be guaranteed that your students will have at least three other classrooms to read and respond to their blogs. We all know that having an audience for our writing makes us better writers. The creator of this program has hard evidence of that. His students (in the UK) were scoring at 9% on the British writing achievement test before Quadblogging. After a school year of using Quadblogging, his students increased their scores to 60%. In subsequent years, these students continued to have their scores grow by two grade levels per school year. There are two short videos on the home page. One video explains the concept of Quadblogging, and the other is the creator speaking at BETT, the world's largest ed tech conference. You will also find the form to fill out to have your class join others in Quadblogging.

tag(s): blogs (78), cross cultural understanding (137), writing (363)

In the Classroom

If you never blogged before, you might want to check out TeachersFirst Blog Basics for the Classroom. Have your students choose a question from Thought Questions reviewed here. Have students respond to the question, and then have them ask the reader to respond to their writing and answer the question from their point of view, too. The benefits go beyond just writing. You can also build cultural understanding and world language skills through blogs. Help your students become aware of environmental issues or how to live "green" for our planet. Try Greenlearning.ca, reviewed here, or choose something from the Environmental News Network, reviewed here, for students' Quadblog projects.

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Loose Leaves - looseleaves.me

Grades
2 to 12
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Loose Leaves is a place to put thoughts that don't quite fit anywhere else. As they put it, "For Thoughts That Don't Have a Home." It is similar to ...more
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Loose Leaves is a place to put thoughts that don't quite fit anywhere else. As they put it, "For Thoughts That Don't Have a Home." It is similar to an instant web page maker. No registration required. Click on the leaf and begin composing your thoughts. Insert a title and begin writing. Edit font style, alignment, indent, and paragraph style using tools provided. Insert images using the image link. Images must already be online so you can point to them by url. Adjust image size, description, and placement in your document as desired. You can even drag images directly into your document from another open browser window! Choose Save to receive the url for your page. You will receive 2 url's: one for sharing and one to use for editing your page. Be sure to save that url in your Favorites or a document so you do not lose it! Collect lines for future poems, figures of speech that you like, or simply thoughts in this "idea bin" for writing.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (78)

In the Classroom

Use this site for students to post or collect material for simple projects such as stories, poems, and art projects. Collect a master list of urls to student pages on your classroom website, wiki, or blog for easy access. If students are creating pages, be sure to check with your district's policy on publishing student work. The beauty of Loose Leaves is that there aren't any identifiers such as email address, name, or other information about the user. Publications are completely anonymous, if desired. Create pages for quick link sharing or for upcoming events such as field trips, class party information, school events, science fair, etc. Students can create simple pages to share links to include in presentations so classmates can participate on laptops. If you are beginning a major creative project such as a literary magazine or research project, Loose Leaves is a wonderful place for writers to collect questions and ideas to be developed later. Share this one with your gifted students as a place to collect written ideas or to collaborate on any kind of writing, such as a poem or script. Just be sure your disorganized ones save both the sharing urls: the one to view it and the one to edit it. If they do not mark these and save them to favorites, they will be gone forever! (You COULD start the page for them and give them the url to edit it... but you would not be helping them learn organization skills!)

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BlogBooker - BlogBooker and LJBook.com

Grades
K to 12
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Turn your blog into a PDF book featuring all your blog's entries and comments. This tool works for the following blog tools: WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger. Creating the PDF book...more
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Turn your blog into a PDF book featuring all your blog's entries and comments. This tool works for the following blog tools: WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger. Creating the PDF book is simple. Export your blog by following the directions given for each specific type of blog and then upload the file to BlogBooker. All your content and comments are assembled into a high-quality PDF file. Note that this process can take a few minutes or longer depending on the size of your blog. This is a great way to print your BlogBook or make an archive/backup of the blog. It could also be useful for students and educators as a way to save a blog as a portfolio item. At the time of this review WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger were all 100% FREE!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (78)

In the Classroom

Print your BlogBook to share with your class. Use as a way to have an archive or back up of the class blog. Keep the PDF files for use in portfolios to show student work. Challenge students to create their own BlogBook about a subject they are learning in class. All three tools are free and fairly simple to use. In primary grades, the teacher would need to do most of the Blogbook work. Secondary students could create their own BlogBooks independently or in small groups.
 

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Pen.io - Anthony Feint

Grades
K to 12
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Write and publish a very simple blog post or writing piece instantly. This is a simple tool and requires NO membership. Pen.io is also ideal for collaborative drafts. All you ...more
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Write and publish a very simple blog post or writing piece instantly. This is a simple tool and requires NO membership. Pen.io is also ideal for collaborative drafts. All you need to do to create a page is to choose a name and a password for editing. (You may have to try a few names to find one that is unique.) You receive a URL you can give to others along with the password to be able to collaborate. Or simply share the url for them to read only. You can include an image by dragging and dropping.

tag(s): blogs (78), editing (79), process writing (43), proofreading (24), writing (363)

In the Classroom

Publish student writing projects such as short stories, poems, and reports. Publish study guides before tests. Publish directions for assignments. With the options for password protected editors, students could post a collaborative report and have others help edit the work. This is an easy way to set up a student blog, especially if the focus is on writing rather than multimedia. Have students write a progressive story where they each add a portion. Practice vocabulary in English or world languages by having students add sentences throughout the year, continuously using the newest words. Just make sure that students use the same password for all the stories started in a class.

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Edublog - Edublogs.org

Grades
K to 12
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Blog your way into the latest social technology using Edublogs. Use the free service to set up a blog as a student, teacher, or campus. This education friendly tool avoids ...more
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Blog your way into the latest social technology using Edublogs. Use the free service to set up a blog as a student, teacher, or campus. This education friendly tool avoids some of the "public interaction" that can offer inappropriate content. Upgrade to more advanced features, to include more options. The additional information on blogging makes this site very valuable even if you already have a blogging platform. Find a plethora of advice, tutorials, PDFs, and lesson plans for blogging. This site is a great reference site for all who are beginning to use blogs, or even look for more varied and effective ways to blog with students, or even other classes. Compare this tool to other free blogging tools mentioned in TeachersFirst's Blog Basics for the Classroom . This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (78), DAT device agnostic tool (171)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite for all of your blogging needs. Find very informative instructions on blogging, and follow the student blogging challenge lesson plans. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Peruse through the various subjects and discover how other teachers use blogging in their classrooms. Using the given PDFs on blogging start up, parent guidelines, incorporating into subject areas, and adapt to make them suitable for you. Look at a variety of examples to help devise your own unique style to meet your students' needs.

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Tumblr - David Karp

Grades
9 to 12
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Use Tumblr as an easy set-up, easy to use microblogging and blogging platform. Tumblr offers many ways to get content into your blog. Choose the text type of content for ...more
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Use Tumblr as an easy set-up, easy to use microblogging and blogging platform. Tumblr offers many ways to get content into your blog. Choose the text type of content for a more traditional looking blog post. Also choose to share photos, audio, or video. Use the quote, link, or chat option to share quick portions of text. Add additional context information to your post. For example, with a photo, add a caption; or for a link, add a title, description, or link. Edit posts in the dashboard, and add the content type and additional elements. It is best to stay with the plain text editor for ease of use. Create posts by email and SMS as well. Other ways to post content are available through the dashboard. Add posts by installing a Tumblr bookmarklet to your browser window. Use Tumblr to follow others and see recent posts from those people. Change templates and even customize templates. Find those you follow and those who follow you on the right sidebar. The Radar in this sidebar brings in the latest information being posted on Tumblr. This tool can be minimized by clicking the Hide link but does exist and may have inappropriate content. Use the Mega editor to make changes to a lot of posts at the same time. Find the permalink to your post by hovering over the post. The top right corner "folds down," and clicking there provides you the permalink. Note: Make additional Tumblr blogs after you make your initial one (click the + icon in the dashboard.) This allows you the option of making the blog private by password-protecting the viewing of the blog.

tag(s): blogs (78), microblogging (28)

In the Classroom

Use for posts that have visual elements such as photography and art. The ease of adding images to a Tumblr blog make this a great tool for the medium. Use for Family and Consumer Science to create a cooking or entertaining blog. Create a blog showing images from experiments or learning about the world around them in Biology with posts about pond life. Focus on genetic traits and the differences that exist including photographs of past ancestors to show traits. Create posts about elements and take pictures of items or objects that are made of that element. Or show images of various chemical properties. Create a Tumblr blog page for a specific historical figure and create posts that the person would make highlighting accomplishments, people they meet, etc. Note: It is highly recommended that teachers not allow students to make their own Tumblr blog for class but instead make a blog for ALL students in the class to use. The teacher can manage (and monitor) the blog.

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Penzu: Write in Private - Alexander Mimran and Michael Lawlor

Grades
4 to 12
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There...more
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There is a very short demo video on the home page. On Penzu you can keep everything completely private or share selective posts by email or URL. Perhaps share selections on a class wiki page? Don't have a wiki? See the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for practical management and safety tips for a class wiki. Note: Premium service is available, but this review is for the free version.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (171), homework (38), journals (21), writing (363)

In the Classroom

A class journaling program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic from current events, current social issues, independent reading, literature, and more. Any class using a journal can use Penzu. For example, science lab write ups or the problem of the week in math. Penzu can even be used for homework. Just think, no more lugging heavy boxes full of notebooks around! In language arts have students journal daily and harvest from their musings and ideas to create a short story or a poem. They can even use Penzu to develop their brainstorms and rough draft. For social studies classes, students can write posts and ideas about famous people or daily life in a time period being studied, then create a "diary" for the famous person in Bookemon or a poster about daily life. For either of these ideas, once they are ready to present a final project have them use Bookemon, reviewed here, or Easel.ly, reviewed here, to share with their peers and others and possibly add other media. See more ideas for student blogging/journaling at TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics for the Classroom. Share journals with parents as appropriate by URL. Be sure to respect student privacy before sharing.

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Weebly - Weebly

Grades
2 to 12
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Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create ...more
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Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create their own website. Besides the basic "drag and drop" features for the title, text, text with a picture, etc., the free version allows you to use cool items: photo gallery, slide show, YouTube videos, Google Maps, an assignment form, and lots more. They promise that the free service will remain 100% feature packed.

tag(s): blogs (78), gamification (82), microblogging (28), social networking (94)

In the Classroom

If you plan to have students create their own web pages, under your account, no email is needed for them, and they will have a special log in page. You will have to enter each student's name, username and a password. What's nice about Weebly is they will print out a list for you to give to students with their log in information. Though you can make your site private, you want to be sure not to use student's real names. Use a code or acronym. Suggestion: You can use the first two letters of the students last name, the first three letters of their first name, and if you have multiple classes, have them put the class period or code after the last letter. This works well if you're going to be grading web pages, since most grade books are in alphabetical order by last name.

Possible uses are only limited by your imagination! Create your own Weebly website for parents and students where they can stay updated about what is happening in your classroom, where students can submit their assignments, contact information, and anything else you might want to put on your website. You can add up to 40 students on one free website, so students can use their pages for projects and assignments. There is a free blogging tool that you may want your students to use for writing assignments, reflection, or reading journals, just to name a few ideas. You can have everything you need on one Weebly website! Find more specific blog ideas in TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics ideas.

Try using Weebly for: "visual essays;" digital biodiversity logs (with digital pictures students take); online literary magazines; personal reflections in images and text; research project presentations; comparisons of online content, such as political candidates' sites or content sites used in research (compared for bias); science sites documenting experiments or illustrating concepts, such as the water cycle; "Visual" lab reports; Digital scrapbooks using images from the public domain and video and audio clips from a time in history -- such as the Roaring Twenties; Local history interactive stories; Visual interpretations of major concepts, such as a "visual" U.S. Constitution. Imagine building your own online library of raw materials for your students to create their own "web pages" as a new way of assessing understanding: you provide the digital pictures, and they sequence, caption, and write about them (younger students) or you provide the steps in a project as a template, and they insert the actual content of their own.

After a first project where you provide "building blocks," the sky is the limit on what they can do. Even the very young can make suggestions as you "create" a whole-class product together using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider making a new project for each unit you teach so students can "recap" long after the unit ends.

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