Friday, January 27, 2017

Using Weebly Blogs as "Cloud Storage"

This year my school has 2 computer labs that the elementary classes can access, when they are not being used for testing. I also have 6 computers in my own classroom that students use regularly, so we have quite a bit of access to technology. However, we don't have any school specific "cloud storage." So, at the beginning of the year, my students would begin typing a story in my room and then we would go to the computer lab and they wouldn't be able to get to their story. My school alsodoesn't allow flash drives because some students were accidentally bringing viruses to school with them. So I had to think up a quick way to have "cloud storage" for my students. 

Use weebly to create cloud storage in the classroom - ideas from Raki's Rad Resources

I decided to have my students type their writing on their very own Weebly blogs. This way the students could work on their writing anywhere that they had access to the internet. We generally type in the computer lab, but my fast finishers can use those extra 5 minutes to type on the computers in my room. My slower typers can continue typing while we move into another activity, or even take the typing home for additional practice. It's been a life saver this year, and on top of that the kids have created nifty little "writing portfolios" where they can see their own writing progress and share that progress with their family and friends.

Creating Weebly blogs is quite simple. As a teacher you can create up to 30 blogs for free on your account. Then the students can access them with their own individual usernames and passwords. The students have the ability to individualize their blogs and to create many different kinds of posts, including those with picture slideshows, hyperlinks and embeded text. This year on their blogs my 3rd graders have:

 - published realistic fiction stories

 - published narrative stories about a time they were brave

 - published informational articles about animals where they added pictures with captions

 - completed a 2 day "quick write essay" about a book we read in class

Next week the students are publishing their completed storybirds by ebedding the HTML code directly into a blog post. While this may sound complicated, Weebly is set up on a very intuitive drag and drop system that the students pick up on very quickly. In fact, the students often figure out additional things they can do with their blogs that I didn't even know was possible. This is generally because kids are more open minded than adults, and because they have more time to fiddle around with things.

So if you're looking for an easy and free "cloud storage" or a way to make student blogs, Weebly is the place to be.

*** I am not in anyway affiliated with Weebly, these are own observations based on really using this website with my own class.