Discussing Blog Design in 5th Grade

I had a great day today. I got to talk about web design with 5th grade students. Ms. Bulsza invited me in to talk to the class about their blogs. Over the past couple of weeks someone (OK…maybe me) taught them how to install embedded widgets on their blogs sidebars. What I found interesting is that I taught one girl in one class how to do it….two weeks later every kid in 5th grade has the most outrageous sidebar widgets on their blogs. Things that had nothing to do with education, their learning, or 5th grade…..the purpose of the blogs. Now there are two ways to handle this situation. 1) You can stand up as a teacher and say, “OK, that’s it, no more chirping birds, or iPods playing songs, or games that make noises on your blog.” Or you could say 2) “Let’s have a discussion about web design.” Now I’m not sure if Ms. Bulsza was expecting my approach, but the last thing I want to do is tell kids that they can’t make their blog….their blog. However, it is an opportunity to have a conversation about website design, as this blog/website belongs to them. So here’s the lesson I did in about an hour today. 1) I want you to go to your favorite website. Once there I want you just sit and look at the page and think about what makes this site, this page your favorite. Look at it like art work. What catches your eye? Why do you come back here time and time again. 2) Ask for volunteers to come up, plug their laptops into the projector and show the website they choose. Then have then talk about why this is their favorite website, and open it up to the class as well. Here’s where we ended up today. Youtube: What we liked about YouTube was that the best videos were right there for you to click on. They were little thumbnail images and you could easily see the title, how many people had watched them, and you knew where to click, as we talked about that blue is the color of links on the web. Club Penguin: We likes that it was simple, that you could easily tell that it was a site you had to join do to the “membership” button at the top. We liked that it had moving...

Read More