Fourth grade has been learning about copyright law and ownership of printed materials.  It seems like the more we learn about it, the more questions we have.  I have posted a video below that we will watch, review, and discuss.  Then, we'll see what new questions we have.  We thought it was interesting that the day after we first started talking about copyright law, there was an article in the New York Times about the copyright law suit that has been brought against Harry Potter author, J. K. Rowling.  That will be interesting to follow in the months ahead. 
One of the things I like about being a teacher is the constant learning...on my part!  I have been trying to learn more about copyright law and creative commons.  I have understood the basic idea of copyright law, but a lot of the time I think the students and I are in that shadier in between area where we aren't selling images and the images are being used in an educational setting.  In the past I've believed that made us fall outside of the tighter restrictions of the law (or I've chosen to ignore the nagging feeling otherwise).  The more I learn and understand, the more I feel like I can explain it to you all in a way that makes sense.  Click on this link to see what I've been reading that made it clearer to me.  Hopefully we'll get the laptops back soon and can do some exploring and playing with images to understand the legalities better.
We are going to take a break from the blogging for a couple of weeks and do some good old fashioned story reading and face-to-face discussion in class.  We'll return to the world of blogging in January.  Until then, here are some of the helpful links to give us a better understanding of "the blog" when we return. 

First, is a video simply describing "blogs in plain english," no fancy talk, just plain english. 

Second, take a look at book reviews online (,,, etc).  Look up a book you like or don't like, or are just curious about whether you would like... read the reviews and see what other people say about the book.  If it's a book you've read, think about whether you agree or disagree with specific things the people said in their reviews.  Did they address everything you thought they should?  Is there more you could add without ruining the book for people who haven't read it yet? 

Then, we'll discuss in January what are good rules of blogging "Netiquette," that is, how to write a great post.  We'll go beyond the discussion of how to be safe online and talk about what would make your writing great.  Until then, continue to play around with posts on kidblog and see what you can learn.  Try writing about something that matters to you.
The sixth grade is working on their own private blogs using a site called kidblogs.  One of the topics they are discussing right now is whether celebrities have a responsibility to be good role models or not.  The following commercial is here to give them a specific example to which they can relate the question.  Feel free to write in and give the kids your opinions about this... you may inspire some discussions on their blogs!