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Channel your Inner Doogie

A request from a “Novel Ideas” teacher to provide students with blogging info led me to reflect on my own journey with blogging. Two years ago I began the TechChef4u blog out of a need to have a place to put resources and info for an upcoming tech camp and partially as an online brain dump – a place to put ideas to retrieve and access later. At that point, I didn’t realize that I would have an audience or that people would utilize these resources to benefit their students. Upon reflecting on my blog and reviewing tips for novice bloggers, I noticed a significant change in the layout and form of my more recent blogs.

 

The Side by Side app compares an earlier blog I wrote (on the left) with a more recent one (on the right). Since that earlier blog two years ago, I have tried to be more concise, use spacing and images to improve layout and readability, and clean up my bullet points and subheadings.

 

Blog Comparison showcased with Side by Side app

 

The Original Blogger: Students in the Novel Ideas class would be blogging about books that they read and “selling” the book to others through their blog review – much like a book commercial. For some reason, my mind drifted to the original blogger and my childhood crush, Doogie Howser M.D. Realizing that these students would not know who this pre-internet reference was, I opted against using the following video:

 

 

Blogging Tips for Students: Rather than showcase Doogie’s concise blogging style (as seen here on his Blogspot), I opted to merely curate a list of novice blogging tips gleened from the internet:
  1. Choose the right topic / define your goals / stay true to your blog – this is pretty simple as the blogs will all focus on book reviews
  2. Ask for Help / Find a Role ModelMrs. Schubert, our librarian, shared a list of student book chat blogs that would assist students in finding their own voice
  3. Be Yourself / Throw Perfectionism out the window – encourage students to write the same way they talk and emphasize the content over form. That is not to say that grammar and spelling should be be overlooked but merely that students should feel free to find their own voice, flow, and style
  4. Visual Layout –  Utilize font and formatting features such as bold and bullets and subheadings and paragraphs to make your article easier to read and digest
  5. Pretend you have an audience –  even when you don’t
  6. Add Photos and Multimedia 
    1. Use photos from sites like Morgue File and Photo Pin
    2. Create your own visuals on the iPad using apps like Pic Collage and Strip Designer
    3. Compose audio reviews using the Audioboo app and embed the final product on your site
    4. Include URL’s to supporting or further info
    5. Include movies as book trailers (created with iMovie, Puppet Pals, or Animoto)
  7. End Post with Question – a great way to snag your readers and get them thinking

 

Feed Novel Ideas with RSS: The teacher had also requested info about RSS feeds. She wanted an app to allow students to follow other’s blogs and have access to them on the iPad. I located Feedly which works in conjuction with our google emails. It was the perfect app to search for blogs and articles and access them in a beautiful and visual way.

 

View and Aggregate Blogs and News with Feedly app

 

Sites I gleaned blogging tips from: 

 

Other Teaching Resources Found along the way: 
 

450+  iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Did you know TechChef4u had a FB page?

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