Part of Unit: Web 2.0
Lesson Plan Overview / Details
Students will create and populate their own blog sites using the Google product Blogger. Blogger is currently the most widely used blogging software in the world, allowing anyone to easily create and maintain an online blogging platform.
- Student lab time
- 7 - 10 Class Periods
- Student Presentations (depending on class size)
- 1 - 3 Class Periods
California Career and Technical Education Standards
Objectives and Goals: Students will be able to
- Create a blog on a topic of interest to them
- Select a theme and design appropriate to their blog topic
- Post content, including images and videos to their blog
- Create an avatar to represent themselves online
- Generate and embed widgets into their blog site
- Present their blog to others.
Activities in this Lesson
- The Generator Blog - Hooks / Set
Note: All instruction occurs in the computer lab and students are expected to boot up and login into their computers immediately upon entering the classroom. These lessons were developed and taught in a paperless classroom using Moodle and Google Docs. However, the assignments can easily be adapted and handouts created for students.
While student computers are booting up, teacher begins the hook: Using the Generator Blog to create blog content. For example, the teacher can used a typed version of the class objectives for the day to and generate pirate speech from http://www.talklikeapirateday.com/translate/index.php , or something else that would appeal to your student population. Please note, there are several hundred generators available on this blog, so teachers need to preview their selections before class to ensure selections are appropriate, and the teacher has all the materials (photos, text, etc) needed for the generator.
Provide students no more than 5 minutes to look around the Generator Blog, to see what type of materials and activities they can locate. Remind them that they will be including something from the Generator blog on the blog they will be creating in just a few moments. This is an exploratory activity, students are not expected to create content at this point .
Time recommended: no more than 10 minutes
- Teacher Intro - Lecture
Teacher should remind students they will be creating blogs over the next few days. Teacher will provide students with their assignment at this time, and read through all the assignment requirements. Answer any questions that arise from students.
Remind/assure students that you will help them with each component of the process, as well as provide time for them to work indepedently with your support.
Recommeneded time: 5 minutes
- Creating a Blog-Student Requirements [ Go to Site ]
- Creating an Avatar - Guided Practice
Using one of the sites on the student assignment sheet, the students will create an avatar to use as a representative image on their blog site.
For classes needing additional guidance, the teacher may wish to 1st preview each of the avatar sites with the class, so students know which sites are of interest to them before they begin working. Some sites will be more time consuming than others for students. Teachers should also have at least 1 avatar created for students to view as a sample. The following is a sample from Voki.
Give students a set amount of time to work, 15-20 minutes should be adequate Explain that students may want to create additional avatars later if they are not happy with their first efforts.
The teacher should be familiar with how to build avatars on any of the listed sites. Teacher should circulate as students work on building their avatars to provide help/assistance/guidance.
To save the created avatar, students should either save their created image locally on their computers, or copy and save the provided embed code on a document they create for later reference.
NOTE: Students have not yet built their blog sites. Creating this will be the next step in the lesson
Recommended time:15-20 minutes.
- Voki [ Go to Site ]
- Creating a blog on Blogger - Guided Practice
NOTE: This lesson is based on students creating blogs using Blogger,a Google program. Teachers and students will need to have or create Google accounts to use Blogger. However, there are several other blogging platforms available online that could be adapted to work with this assignment as well. If students have a Gmail account, or Google account, they can use login to Blogger using that login, or they will need to create a new Google account.
After login, students will be prompted to “create a blog” and will be walked through the process. Remind students that they can rename their blog (change to a unique URL), change their blog title, as well as change their templates, fonts, colors, post dates, etc in the future. Please note, some students may have issues getting started on actually blogging because of the number of customization options. Encourage students to make initial selections and continue to customize in the future.
Recommended time: 10-15 minutes
- Customizing Blog Appearance - Demo / Modeling
NOTE: Teacher will need to create their own blog on the Blogger site in order to be able to demonstrate how to modify and customize the blog site.
After students login and have initially created their new blog, teacher will project the Blogger dashboard for the class, to show students how to customize the look appearance of their blog site. The focus for this period will be on the “Design” tab in the Blogger dashboard.
Teacher will walk the students through the “Design” tab showing them the following in the “Page Elements” tab
- moving elements of their blog,
- previewing design changes
- moving gadgets (the teacher will walk through adding a gadget with students in a subsequent activity)
Then show students the “Template Designer” tab and demonstrate the following:
- expanding the preview
- applying changes to the blog
- exiting the Template Designer
- Template choices remind students that these are all customizable by changing the background, etc. and can changed again at anytime.
- Layout- items on blog can be rearranged here as well
- Width- encourage students to keep their sites to 800px to accommodate the greatest number of end users’ monitor sizes.
- Advanced- allows students to change the fonts and colors associated with the template selected
Recommended time: 25-30 minutes
- Customizing the Color/Appearance of your Blog. - Independent Practice
After showing students how to customize the appearance of the blog, allow students time to work independently on customizing the appearance of their blog. Remind them that the blog appearance should compliment the content of their blog and that they should be able to explain their design choices to their classmates.
The teacher should circulate at this time to provide informal assessment of student progress. Teacher should question students about their about blog topic and design choices to provide students an opportunity to verbalize and justify their choices. The teacher should assist those who are unable to make a connection between their design and their blog in making those connections by asking leading questions such as:
- Who is the intended audience of you blog? What might they find appealing?
- What is your blog topic? What design choices would NOT work. (Example: A student reviewing video games would probably not choose a floral background).
Recommended time: 25-40 minutes
- Posting to your Blog - Demo / Modeling
In the next activity, students will create their 1st blog post.
Teacher should displaying the Blogger dashboard, and direct students to the “Posting” tab and explain the following:
difference between Pages and Posts. Note- Blogger
limits the number of Pages available on each blog site to
- Pages should be used to display "static" or non-changing information. "About the Author" or "About this Blog" are good examples of content that would not change on a blog site.
- How to create a static Page
- How to create a new post
Walk students through the elements on the Posting page, including:
- Where to include their blog post title- and why each post needs a title.
- How to alter the appearance of the text in your posts
- Including hyperlinks in your posts
- Adding pictures and videos to the blog site
- Using “Post Options” to change the date/time of posts, allowing comments and back links for individual posts.
On the “Editing Posts” tab, show students that this is where a list of all their blog posts, published and drafts will be listed, and that posts can be deleted from this page as well.
Recommended time: 15 minutes
- The difference between Pages and Posts. Note- Blogger limits the number of Pages available on each blog site to 10.
- Creating a Blog Post - Independent Practice
Teacher should have students all create their 1st blog page/post at this time. Students should select the format they would like to use, either the static page or a post. This should take no more than 30 minutes to complete.
This entry will introduce the blog to reader, so it should include the following (as outlined on the student handout):
first post (or a static page) should explain your blog and
answer the following questions:
- Why did you start it?
- What type of information are you going to include?
- What will the readers find on your site?
- How often will the site be updated?
Remind students that any of this information can be changed or altered in the future.
Recommended time: 15-25 minutes
- Your first post (or a static page) should explain your blog and answer the following questions:
- Assessment of 1st blog post - Check Understanding
The teacher should have students email or submit their names of their blogs after completing their independent practice. This will allow the teacher to do a formative, informal assessment of the blogs at this point to ensure that students have been able to complete the following tasks:
-create a blog
-choose and customize the design of the blog to complement their selected topic
-create a least 1 post that provides readers with information about the purpose of and content of the blog.
At this point, the teacher can assses if any students have fallen behind or need addition assistance.
Recommended time: 5 minutes
- Posting images and videos - Lab / Shop
The teacher will provide lab time for students to post materials to their blogs. Students will need between 1-2 class periods to find and post to their blogs.
At this time, the teacher should work with students who's submitted work demonstrates that addional help is needed.
As per the assignment sheet, students need to create at least 4 additional blog posts. Additionally, students will need to post 3 pictures and one video. These requirements can be combined. Direct students to review the requirements on their assignment sheet so they understand what is expected.
The teacher should be available during this time to continue to offer support and guidance.
Recommended time: 45-90 minutes of work time
- Adding Your Avatar - Guided Practice
In a previous assignment, students created an avatar to represent themselves on their blog. The teacher will demonstrate how to add the avatar to the "About The Author" page of the blog, usually located in the sidebar. Advanced students may wish to create a static "Author Page" for their blog instead.
The teacher should also remind the students of the following requirements listed in the assignment sheet:
- Tell your readers about you so they understand who's perspective they are reading.
- Use your first name only, but do not give out any personal details like email, phone number, or address.
- Include information your interests and why this blog topic is of interest to you. What makes you qualified to write this blog?
Remind students that the use of the avatar was intended to protect their online identity. Note: some students may have created avatars that will need to be embedded instead of uploaded as pictures. Those students may need further instruction as provided by the next lesson.
The teacher should demonstrate where the "About the Author" section is located and then circulate while students post their own "About the Author" information following the assignment guidelines.
- Using Widgets - Demo / Modeling
Using the Voki from the previous lesson, the teacher will show students how to "widgets" to their blog site.
First, the teacher will demonstrate how to add widgets provided by Blogger, by going to the DESIGN tab and clicking ADD A GADGET. Teacher will need to explain that GADGETS and WIDGETS are different terms used to the same thing; a small piece of code that provides additional functionality or fun for the end user of a website. The teacher should demonstrate how to add an Archive to the blog as all students will need to include an Archive widget for their readers.
The teacher should then should students how to include an HTML block gadget will allow students to use an "embed" code they discover or generate online. As an example, the teacher should use the embed code from their Voki avatar and create a Voki Widget on the sample blog site. (Students who created an avatar that needed embedding will follow the same process)
The teacher should direct students to the Generator Blog used in the hook, Widget Box, and ClustrMaps and preview these sites with students. The teacher should demonstrated on each site how to create a widget, copy the generated embed code and create a widget on the sample blog site.
Remind students that each of the demonstrated sites can be used to complete another requirement for the assignment, adding at least 3 widgets/gadgets to their site.
One of the widgets must be the ClustrMap, but the other 2 should be of the student's choice. Encourage them to select widgets that will add to the functionality of the blog site for the end user.
Recommended time: 25-30 minutes
- Adding Widget/Gadgets - Lab / Shop
Allow students time to work on locating, generating and embedding their widgets. Teacher should circulate at this time to provide assistance and feedback to students as they work.
Recommended time: approximately 1 class period.
- Presenting Blogs to the class - Closure
Students will each present their blogs to the class. The teacher will project each of the blogs for the class, and the student will then "present" their blogs to the class. Please note, this is not an assessment, but an opportunity for students to share their blogs with the class. While they should speak audibly, they should not be graded on their "presentation" skills, but instead on their willingness to share their work with others.
Students are also provide the opportunity to "walk through" the grading criteria in front of the class before the final project has been submitted, allowing students who have forgetten elements and opportunity to include those before the final grading.
The teacher should assist students in their presentations by "interviewing" the students about their blog using the following questions:
1. What is the title of your blog and what is it about? Why did you choose this topic?
2. Explain what design of your blog. How does it relate to your blog topic?
3. Please show us your about me page, and the avatar you created. Share with us what we would find your author page. What site did you use to create your avatar?
4. Where is your 1st post? Share with us what you wrote there.
5. Show us where your images and embedded videos are. Why did you include them?
6. Show us your gadgets and explain the funtion of each of them. (The teacher made need to ask about each 1 specifically).
7. What did you create on the generator blog? Where is it located on your blog. Tell us about it.
The teacher may wish to add other questions or compliment students on what they had done well.
Teacher should then ask the class to provide Stars and Wishes to the person presenting. (The teacher will need to have established a supportive classroom environment in which students feel comfortable sharing with their classmates and receiveing respectful constructive feedback on their work.) Stars are things that were done particularlly well, shared as, "I would like to give you a star for.... " Each students should recieve at least three stars from their classmates. Wishes are areas that could have been improved upon and should be shared as, "I wish you had... " The teacher should monitor all comments carefully to ensure that the student presenting is not attacked, nor falsely praised by classmates.
Recommended time: approximately 5 minutes per student, including transitions between speakers.
- Assessment Types:
Students will be assessed based on the criteria provided on the assignment sheet. Using a rubric or checklist like the one attached, teachers will provide a formal, summative assessment of the student's achievement in creating a blog site.