Blog with us!

Next week, the NSW DET’s “Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge” Book Rap goes live! Ian McLean and Jenny Scheffers, teacher librarians, will be coordinating this book rap.

The “Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge” Book Rap, discussing the picture book by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas, is aimed at students in Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) and has programming and planning information by Mandy Kirk and Jenny Scheffers, addressing outcomes from the NSW English K-6 syllabus. (Interstate and overseas rappers are also welcome.)

The Rap is live for viewing and subscribing (at no cost) the week of 18 February 2008. The Rap itself starts 25 February 2008. We hope that primary school teacher librarians and teachers will enjoy taking part in this exciting learning experience. This year, instead of an email listserv, we are using blogging tools and wikis to share the responses between participants in the rap. The blog format will have many advantages over a listserv, so please think of this as a learning adventure.

When teachers and teacher librarians first log in to the “Edublogs” site, they should be aware that the user name they choose for themselves will appear each time they post a blog message. For example, my “Edublogs” user name is “ianmclean”, but I could have chosen “mrmclean” or “class2z” or “penrithbloggers” instead. “Edublogs” suggests using a school-related email address if you’ll be posting blog entries from school, because you’ll need to acknowledge receipt of your welcome email message before your first post. If that message goes to a “hotmail” address, for example, that mail service may well be blocked by a firewall, or “Edublogs” might assume you’re not really connected to a school. “Edublogs” is a free blogging service from “WordPress” for legitimate educational purposes.

Further details are at:
http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/raps/wilfrid08/index.htm

The rap blog also has a Teachers’ area, to support the learning of the adult learners as we all gain more confidence with Web 2.0 facilities. The updated rap FAQs and “beginner’s guide” is at http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/raps/beginnersguidetoraps.htm and should prove useful.

During the first weeks of the Rap, participating classes post a short group introduction to the Rap Blog (under the tab called “Introductions”). In their post, they can describe the class group participating in the Rap and give brief, interesting details about the school. For example, you may wish to tell us about the size and location of your school, the uniform and emblem, or any special facilities. Please make sure that students’ individual surnames never appear on blog entries; it’s best to keep to a class identity.

As groups of students are reading other schools’ Introductions during the next few days, your class may wish to plot the locations of other book rappers on a Rap Map, templates of which are available on the book rap site. Schools might also use websites such as “Google maps” or “Whereis.com”.

Teachers are encouraged to visit the Teachers’ section regularly. We look forward to rapping with you all.

Ian McLean (Penrith PS) and Jenny Scheffers (Caddies Creek PS),
“Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge” Book Rap Coordinators.

One thought on “Blog with us!

  1. For those starting to grapple with the method of joining “Edublogs” for the NSW DET “Wilfrid” Book Rap this week, here are our (successful) experiences.

    The rap coordinator was already signed up as an educator with his own blog and username, and he’s using that username to post coordinator’s messages to the “Wilfrid rap blog” site at http://rapblog.edublogs.org/ but it was very easy to get a new, separate “username” identity today for the class groups to use.

    Firstly, we went to:
    http://edublogs.org/wp-signup.php

    Even though the online message reads: “ ***NB: Please try not to use aol.com or school email addresses as filters can stop emails from us… please use gmail, hotmail, yahoo or other email accounts instead.*** “, we were successful with the regular teacher email address, which was allowed to pass through okay. Remember, you’ll receive your receipt by email and if you can’t access the chosen mail server at school (ie. Hotmail from NSW DET schools), then you won’t see your emailed receipt or get the required code to answer until you get home.

    You’ll also be offered:

    * gimme a blog!, or
    * just a username, please.

    We chose not to get a blog at this time (you don’t require one for the “Wilfrid Book Rap”, just a username) and then chose “penrithpsrappers” as a generic class group usename.

    We were then informed by a webpage message:
    penrithpsrappers is your new username
    But, before you can start using your new username, you must activate it. Check your inbox and click the link given. If you do not activate your username within two days, you will have to sign up again.
    Activate your usename by clicking the emailed link. After you activate, you will receive *another email* with your login.
    Your account is now active!

    The message came through immediately and the class group’s account is now activated. I’ve been able to add my class group’s introduction message to the rap blog in the “Introductions” section. A few minutes later, it appeared on the list when it had been moderated by the rap blog owner.

    (PS. Sometimes a big blue rectangle warns about Cookies needing to be activated, but that message seems to appear on some browsers even when everything is okay. Under the warning frame, simply click the link that says “Back to..”.)

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