dependable RSS

In a recent post, teens who write, I wrote about the benefits of getting your students to start a blog. For one thing, teens who blog are more enthusiastic about writing which encourages them to write more. There is that problem, however, of checking all of the blog entries. It might seem easier to plow your way through dozens of papers once a week or more. It’s not. RSS (Real Simple Syndication) makes reading your students’ blog entries a breeze. You don’t have to go out searching the web for anything. Think of RSS as the loyal and trusty pooch who brings you the morning paper, with all the latest news first thing each morning.

Here is a quick video that explains the process in plainspeak:

The video mentions readers. I use Google Reader and love it, but I have also used Bloglines with great results. Both applications allow you to set up ‘folders’ so that the incoming feeds go to the folders you need. For instance, you might set up folders for the different periods you teach, or grades, or by class number.

The video doesn’t make clear that the most likely place to find the RSS icon is in the URL or location field of your web page. Look up at the top of your page where it says At the end of that input field you’ll find the RSS icon. Click on it once you’ve got your reader set up, and you’ll be subscribing to my blog.

I’d love it if you did that!



  1. justread said,

    May 12, 2008 at 5:14 am

    As a high school English teacher using RSS and student blogs, I’m still finding the “paper load” difficult. Blogs do indeed motivate students. Their discussions can generate tons of reading for me–what a problem to have! Lately, as I reflect on the year and changes and I want to make for next year, I’ve been contemplating how to manage the volumes they’re producing. What if I could arrange students in teams, with a rotating team leader responsible for reading all material, making sure team members act responsibly? Having some help with monitoring–to make sure kids aren’t posting inappropriate material–would help. I should note, I’ve never had any of my students publish anything inappropriate. Discussing up-front responsibility of publishing online to a global audience helps, I think.

    Does anyone have any other tips for managing the paper load?

  2. ggratton said,

    May 12, 2008 at 7:01 am

    Hi Lisa, I like your idea of a team leader responsible for comments. I’ve also used a ‘rotating commenting’ system, where I respond to six or seven of the blog posts at a time, eventually getting around to everyone. While the blog reading load is heavy, it helps to use Google forms for quizzes and other responses, which makes the process of grading go much faster than collecting papers, grading, and returning.

  3. John Adkins said,

    May 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I had no idea about looking for the rss symbol in the address bar. You learn something everyday. Cheers.


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