NCEA, Here We Come!

Hey Kids!

On April 8th I have the opportunity to share two of my favorite joys: teaching and blogging!  As a presenter at the NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association) Convention, I will help other teachers learn how to blog.

I Helped Out! Enokson via Compfight

  Will you help me teach the teachers?


I need your input to show everyone how great blogging is.  As you read this post, think about your own experiences with blogging.  While you are reading and thinking, I’ll be sharing our class experiences.    I’ll start with a little powerpoint that explains why I began blogging in the first place.

Next up, I’m going to show this video which explains what blogging is.  Do you remember the first day you went into the computer lab and got your own blog?   How cool was that, right?

I’ll need to mention, of course, the importance of digital safety and the responsible use of technology.  Have you ever had a problem with inappropriate material on your blog?  Think about copyright use, too.

We are going to learn all the important blogging terminology so that the teachers can write fantastic posts.  We’ll be learning about embedding videos, adding widgets, creating avatars, and giving attribution, in addition to lots of other blogging skills.   All the best blogs use these concepts.  What are some of your favorite blogs out there?  As my kids know, we are great buddies with the kids and teacher (Ms. Smith) at Huzzah!, and I am sure we will take a trip to British Columbia, Canada, to visit them.  I would not be here at the NCEA Convention in Orlando, presenting to other teachers, without my BBB (Best Blogging Buddy) Ms. Smith.  Also, I would never even have begun my blogging journey had I not been inspired by third grade teacher Mrs. Yollis in California  and her blogging buddy Mrs. Kathleen Morris in Australia.

We love exploring blogs, reading about all the great learning that is going on in the world, writing quality comments, and connecting with other kids and teachers.   Reading posts from other classes really makes me feel as though I have discovered a “captain’s log” from a ship sailing in a distant land.  Or even perhaps from a  ship sailing in space; I often hear the voice of James T. Kirk in my head as I begin to read a new blog, “This is the captain’s log…”  Do you have a favorite entry/post that you would like us to visit? 

Some of my favorite posts involve special blogging activities we have done, like our blogging parties for reaching a goal.   I also love the Skype visits we have had with author Graham Salisbury; movie producer Dana Hankins; Shakespeare birthplace curators Lisa Peters and Anjna Chouhan; and Mrs. Emerick’s 6th grade class, Making Waves.  Another great experience for me was our guest lecturer, Mrs. Joanne Chonody, who connected with a friend she hadn’t spoken to in over twenty years thanks to Family Blogging Month and our quest to collect visitors from all 50 states.  All of these events were possible because we blog.  Have any of your special memories from school been the result of blogging? 

Under The Blood Red Sun March 26 at 3:14pm · Edited · Here’s our favorite Florida classroom wearing Under the Blood-Red Sun beanies and baseball caps that they earned by partnering up with us. Our website EDUCATION page includes curriculum and a list of schools that have received bookmarks & posters & pin buttons – Please share to help us reach more schools/classrooms teaching the book and/or movie this year!


Of course, I love blogging mainly because it gives us an authentic audience for our writing.  As soon as we write our first post, we have become internationally published authors.  Do you remember Malala?  She started a blog in order to bring attention to the plight of girls’ education in Pakistan, and she was certainly successful!  In 2014, at the age of 17, she became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.  While most bloggers don’t achieve global celebrity, blogging has become a bona fide career for some and an enjoyable hobby for many others.  As of 2011, there were 181 million blogs all vying for a piece of your screen time.  In order to become a successful blogger, you have to be a proficient writer.  We use blogging to sharpen our writing skills; that’s an important job in a language arts class.  Do you enjoy writing and blogging enough to make it your living?

Okay, now here’s the part where I could use your help.  Would you take a few minutes to think about a specific experience you’ve had with blogging and then share that story in the comment section?  I know the teachers at the convention will want to know about blogging from the students’ points-of-view.  This is how you can help me teach the teachers. 

As my new blogging friends from Hawaii (Graham Salisbury and Dana Hankins) say,

Mahalo and much aloha!

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30 thoughts on “NCEA, Here We Come!

  1. One experience that I really did like was the time I first got my blog. It was around Christmas time, we went down to the computer lab. We went up to you and gave you the name of our blog and our password. I wanted my blog to just be happy and enjoyable where of someone is feeling blue they could jump on over to my blog and be happy again. Back to the main topic though. So later on she made all of the 6th grades blogs and we where ready to go and choose the background/backdrop of our blog. The. I put up my first ever post. I kind of explored the whole new blog thing. Now I have a growing blog ready to be read by many people. If you don’t already have a blog I suggest you make one soon.

    Happy Blogging!

    • Thanks for writing, Shane! I love it that you chose such a happy theme and that your goal is to cheer people up! From now on, when I need a dose of happy, I’ll hop right on over to your blog! ~Mrs. Donofrio

  2. I have two experience that I want to talk about my first would be when I first got my blog because I was ver excited for having it and I can connect with other people out there that might like the same things I like. Maybe stuff how I like video games and YouTube and other and other things like that. My second thing would be when I hit 100 visters on my blog i was really happy because I got 100 people that had seen my blog. Those would be my two favorite experiences on my blog

    • Hi James,
      I remember having that exact same feeling when our class blog hit 100 visitors. I even wrote a post just about that day! I remember being in my kitchen…we hadn’t even gone back to school yet from the summer…and telling everyone in my family that 100 people from all over the world had read what I had written. Pretty amazing, huh? I also like reading about things you like, things that I wouldn’t necessarily know about you if you didn’t have a blog. For example, now I know that you really like Minecraft. It helps me to see you as a round character; do you know what I mean by that?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  3. Dear Mrs.Donfrio,

    Some experience from blogging is writing I like to write. We can share our things that go on in our school: The Under The Blood Red Sun party, March book madness and lots more. Writing on the blog is a lot of fun and we can share our thoughts. Do you like to write on other peoples blogs?

    • Hi Courtney,
      I do like to write on other people’s blogs. I love receiving comments on our blog, so I imagine that other people like receiving our comments on their blogs. It’s kind of like getting an unexpected letter in the mail. I often call blogging a “high tech pen pal system”. You reminded me, also, that I need to take a photo of the bulletin board and use it in a March Book Madness post! Thank you! Were you inspired to read any of the books that were contenders for March Book Madness?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  4. Hi Mrs. Donofrio!
    I loved in your blog post, especially all of the different fonts and colors you used for the writing… It really brought my attention to really think about the questions. The big question to answer in your post was “What is your best blogging memory?”
    The all-time best memory I have from blogging is winning the award for the best post at the showing of “Under the Blood Red Sun” this past school year. (The link to the post is here: my post was about the people in my life that inspire me most, visit my blog if you would like to see, it is called “My Inspirations…In Depth”.
    Considering I just moved to Venice, Florida this school year, the memories I have of blogging are slim, but the award I won for the best post was just spectacular…out of all of the kids in my school, I won! It was great and I even got a piece of “Spear Mint” gum! See you in class Mrs. Donofrio!
    Erin Szablowski

    • Thank you, Erin, for noticing the colors. I tried to match them to the NCEA theme colors! Did you happen to click on the power point in the post? There is a photo of you winning your blogging award in the power point! Pretty neat coincidence, yes? I forgot all about the gum until you mentioned it; you also won a book from the book fair, too, I think. Interesting that you mentioned the gum and not the book! Have a great vacation, Erin. See you in class!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  5. Hi Mrs. Donofrio!
    The first day that I got my blog I was very excited to set it up and customize it, as was everybody most likely. I haven’t had a problem with inappropriate material on my blog. One of my favorite blogs that I visit often is Huzzah. I enjoy reading through their posts because they are super interesting. I think that some school events are the posts that I enjoy writing the most because I enjoy writing about my past experiences. I dont think that I would make blogging a living for me, but I would like to keep one just so I can post every now and then.
    My favorite blogging experiences have to be when I connect with people outside of the USA. I think that it is really neat that you have things in common with so many other people who live thousands of miles away from you!

    • Hi Raina,
      I agree with you that making connections outside of the U.S. is pretty neat. While, of course, Huzzah! is a wonderful blog, it is also cool that they are from British Columbia, Canada. That is 3,408 miles away! They are in a completely different time and temperate zone. Someday I would love to visit Ms. Smith and her class. Wouldn’t that make an excellent field trip? Ms. Smith and I are kindred teaching spirits, I think. Also, I first heard the phrase “kindred spirit” when reading one of my favorite books of all time, Anne of Green Gables, which takes place on Prince Edward Isle, in Canada. That’s another place in Canada I’d love to go. Let’s think about literary field trips we can take around the world. Are you up for Mount Everest as in Peak?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  6. Hey Mrs. Donofrio! A specific experience that I have had with blogging was my first comment. It was very exciting! Alicia commented on my Disney post; in the post, we seemed to have a lot in common! I believe that blogging opens a whole new point of view of writing and is extremely enjoyable. Do you remember your first comment? Thank you for sharing the blogging experience with me and my fellow classmates. Visit my blog at

    • Hi Gracie,
      What a great question. I actually do not remember my very first comment, which I now think is strange. I will have to go back and look. I know that I got some comments early on from other teachers who had been blogging for a while and who encouraged me. One was Mrs. Krebs and another was Ms. Smith. I think I heard from Mr. Webb in New Zealand early on as well. We will be sure to visit your blog while we are at the convention. Thank you for inviting us!
      What will you be doing this vacation?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  7. A specific experience I’ve had with blogging is when I frist showed Mommy my blog. I showed her my all about me page, and it had a picture of a cat that looked just like my Grandmouther’s cat named Ginger(we call Ginger Ging for short). When my Mommy saw the cat she said “Ging! How did you get Ging on there”? I started laughing becase that cat did look just like Ginger! That was the experience I remember most becase it was so funny.

    • Hi Shannon,
      I am so glad that this experience with blogging was funny, and fun, for you! As I read your words, I can imagine the conversation between you and your mom because I have seen you two interacting and laughing just like that before. You did a nice job writing that dialogue. Perhaps when you become an author, like your mentor Erin Hunter, you will have a blog with lots of cats on it! Did you know that some authors write a chapter of their story a day on a blog? It is a way to build a readership. Perhaps you would like to try that with all your writings?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  8. Hey Mrs. Donofrio! There have been so many sublime blogging experiences but one of my personal favorites was when we hit 1,000 visitors. I remember we had a big party with a popcorn machine, candy and soda! It was like a real movie theater experience. We also watched a movie but I can’t remember the name. It had something to do with football. Another super cool experince was skypeing with the people from Under The Blood Red Sun! I also loved the party we had when we watch the movie, Under The Blood Red Sun and ate all of the red foods. What was your favorite part about our last blogging party? Hope to blog you later!!


    • Hi Hannah,
      Great use of the vocabulary word, sublime! I think the football movie we watched was Facing the Giants, one of my all-time favorites. I really loved the Under the Blood Red Sun party, too. My favorite part was finally getting to Skype with Dana Hankins and Graham Salisbury. Ultimately, we had a lot of contact with them through all kinds of technology: emails, Twitter, the blog, Facebook, and finally Skype. Of course, we also had contact with them through the regular mail. I never thought that I would have so much direct contact with an award-winning author of a book I really love and a movie producer! It was also super cool when the actor who played Tomi’s dad started re-Tweeting our Tweets! Do you think we should shoot for the moon twice and try to connect with Gary Schmidt?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  9. Hello Mrs. Donofrio!
    After reading this wonderful article, I am going got answer some of the questions you put on here.

    1) Do you remember the first day you went into the computer lab and got your own blog?
    Yes, I do! I was in seventh grade, and all of the other students had already gotten their blogs in sixth grade, but I had just come there that year. I didn’t really know how to blog, but once you showed me around the website and gave me my own blog, I was happy and excited to start!

    2) have you ever had a problem with inappropriate material on your blog?
    Honestly, I don’t remember but if there was a problem. I would have told you immediately. I always cite my sources on my pictures and videos, and always stay on safe sights, so I don’t think there has been a problem or will be one in the future.

    3) What are some of your favorite blogs out there?
    My two favorite blogs out there are Huzzah and Mrs. Rombach reads. Huzzah’s teacher and student posts are always well written, and I constantly visit their blog for new posts and fun activitys they have written about. Mrs. Rombach Reads is a creative blog, and always gives me new books to read or look at.

    4) Do you have a favorite post you would like us to visit?
    No, none in particular but I would recommend reading some of the posts on Mrs. Rombach reads or Huzzah. Also, Mr. Webs class in New Zeland has some very interesting posts about some fun activities they have done!

    5) Have any of your special memories form school been the result of blogging? Actually, yes! The memories are small, yes, but still are very special to me. I love loging onto my blog and checking out new posts and comments, and more importantly learning about writing and how to use the Internet. Blogging is a great way to help students know how to build up life skills, writing skills, computer skills, and Internet skills.

    6) Do you enjoy writing and blogging enough to make it your living?
    Well, this one is a bit tougher the the others. If I had blogging as a job, I would most likely make it a side job. Of course, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but do you think if I never went out of the house and stayed inside all day blogging, that I would have many things to blog about? Of course not! If I had to blog for a job, I would blog about my main job. Also, running a blog about your job could help you gain publicity and find customers. If you were in the medical field, you could make a blog or website about your work and what kind of doctor you were. If you run a shop, you could blog about the items in your shop. If you made art, you could blog about what art styles and materials you use, and upload pictures of your work onto the blog. If you want to have a side job as blogging but not about your own work, you could find someone who is very busy with their job, and help them blog about their work (sort of reminds me of the show Sherlock). But the answer would have to be no, because I don’t think blogging would b big enough to fill up one job, but can be a great help to your job.

    Okay, okay, bows here the question inactually have to answer:
    A specific experience I would have to think of is probably

    • Hi Katie,
      You are a prolific writer. I really think you have the soul of an author. Someday I will see your name on the shelf at Books-a-Million. I will stand in line, waiting to have you autograph a copy of your newest book for me. Perhaps I will save an old essay of yours to have you autograph someday, too. I love your answer to question 5 and am so glad you see blogging as way to build up life skills. I agree! Reading and writing of all kinds build up life skills, and that is what blogging is all about. Also, I agree that Mrs. Rombach recommends really good books! She is a good source for our summer reading books. I am also glad that you haven’t had any problems with inappropriate comments on your blog. After nearly three years of blogging, I have not had any students receive unkind messages. I did, however, have an issue with copyright with one student a couple of years back. Copy and paste is NOT the way to go! I am looking forward to hearing about your favorite blogging experience.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  10. Hi Mrs.Donofrio,
    My experience with blogging has been amazing so far! I like connecting with others on different topics. I learned that commenting on other blogs creates a chain reaction of conversation. You get to learn things from people all over the world! How cool is that!? You can learn different cultures,customs and experience writing in a whole new way! I love blogging and connecting with others and I will continue to keep blogging. My specfic experience was commenting with others, how do you comment with others?

    • Hi Alicia,
      I am so glad that you like commenting and posting with others. I just write a comment after a blog I like; I don’t have a formula. I’m not too sure what your questions means, actually. How do you comment with others?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  11. Hello Mrs. Donofrio!
    I am so sorry for the delay, but here is the answer to the last question.
    Q: What is a specific memory that you have had from blogging?
    A: I haven’t had any memories in specific, just one time, but I think the memory of blogging and language arts is an experience in itself. I have small snippets of memories, like staying up late to finish a post, or reading other peoples posts and relating to them, then commenting. I think in writing, it’s the little things that matter. Small, specific details that make one whole idea or image in your mind.

    • Hi Katie,
      Your comment reminded me of one my favorite quotes about writing:
      Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors.
      —Rhys Alexander
      You are right; it’s the details that matter. I would say that I think you may be a writer one day, except for the fact that I think you already are a writer. You have knack for observation and then for describing what you observe with a unique lens. Have you read Faith’s blog at Huzzah? She also is a writer. Check out her posts. I think you may find a kindred spirit. Have a great vacation, and thank you for finishing that last question. I will make sure to get on your blog and leave a comment for you, too.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  12. Hi Mrs. Donofrio! Congrats on getting this awesome opportunity. If you can make reading sound fun, you can do anything.

    My experience with blogging is fantastic. When I first started blogging, I actually didn’t like to write, so I expected I wouldn’t like to blog. But after I’d written a couple posts I had some much fun writing post and putting them out there. You encouraged me along the way by commenting on my post, and just encouraging me to do more.
    One of my special memories from blogging is when I was nominated for best student blog 2015. Even though I didn’t win it was a honor to be nominated, and I just started to blog about a year ago, so that a big accomplishment for me.
    My favorite blog is also Huzzah. And another blog that is great is Faith’s blog.

    I’m sure if I would make blogging a career, yet, but when I retire I want to write my own critic/traveling blog on food, restruants, things I’ve done, and traveling I will do.
    When u get back from the conference can you tell us some ways that we might be able to improve our blogs?

    Good luck!
    Xoxo, Christine

    • Hi Christine,
      Thank you for this lovely comment. It was a pleasure to nominate you for Best Student Blog; I really like your idea of writing about the “Event of the Day”, like Ice Cream Day or Comic Book Day or whatever the day is. I thought that was a very clever way to motivate yourself to write daily. I agree with you about Faith’s blog. She is an excellent writer. When I first read her comments on our class blog, I thought she was a teacher! Imagine my surprise to learn she is a student in the 7th grade Huzzah! class. Perhaps when you retire, we can write travel blogs together. Of course, I will be long retired and a very old lady by then, but that idea just sounds so fantastic to me that I would love to join you! I will have to keep myself in excellent health in order to blog with you in retirement. Let’s see…if you retire at 65, I will be 99! Good heavens! I better start taking extra good care of myself! Perhaps I should go for a walk right now!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  13. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    This is a little late, but I am trying to make it work. I love how you use so many different colors and fonts in all your posts.
    One experience that I will remember is getting my own blog. I think it was after our last Christmas break. I was so excited to write my first post. Writing my first post was exciting, but as exciting as getting my blog. When I first got my blog, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was wondering what I could do for my next post.
    I think everyone should have a class blog or a student blog because it improves your writing skills. Blogging is also a good way to connect with people around the world. Blogging is very fun, and I’m so glad I have a chance to do it. Do you remember your first post? What was it about?
    Have a great time!


    • Hi Julia,
      I do remember my first post. I think it was called “My First Post”! I was also vey excited when it worked and I could see what I wrote on the blog. I also loved seeing the Clustrmap tick up. So cool to know that people around the world were visiting our classroom through the blog.
      I hope you are having a good vacation! Thank you for commenting!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  14. Hi Mrs. Donofrio

    Great to hear your presentation went well!

    As discussed here are the answers to the questions participants asked at the conference:

    1) If they have multiple classes, with 150 students total, do they need multiple blogs?

    It isn’t possible to separate student blogs into different groups using My Class. Using a unique blog URL and blog title for each class does allow you to group the classes together (e.g., 1A Max’s blog, 2B Emma’s blog) however all student posts will appear together in the reader inside the dashboard. If it isn’t an issue for students to read posts from other classes than I would use one class blog, with all student blogs attached and assign categories to posts on the class blog for each different class ( ).

    If you need the student work for each class to be kept separate then it may be better to use a separate class blog for each class and use bulk upgrade credits.

    2) Are all student blogs included in the $39.95 or just the teacher’s (class)?

    Edublogs Pro subscription ($39.95/yr) includes the cost of the class blog and all student blogs attached to the class blog via My Class. You can attach up to 200 student blogs to My Class.

    You can read more about how My Class and the reader works with student blogs here –

    3) Someone asked why go with Edublogs instead of a free platform. I told them Edublogs has a free option, but Pro offers more.

    You can read more about which platforms educators use and why here –

    Depends on how you plan to use your blogs. For example, My Class on Pro blogs makes it easier for the teacher to manage all student blogs, allows them to decide if they want to moderate all posts and comments, control the privacy on student blogs, and a teacher has access to all student blogs. It also means that students can easily read and comment on each other students’ post directly inside their dashboard using the Reader.

    Hope these helped and let me know if I missed any questions.

    Sue Waters

    • Thank you, Sue Waters, for your expertise! I am a devoted Edublogs fan for two reasons: the outstanding product itself (ease of use, options offered, great-looking themes) and the exemplary customer service, both on Edublogger and personalized through email help. No product in any market comes close to the return on investment (ROI) that Edublogs delivers. Your attention to my conference and offer to help answer questions is the proof in the pudding.
      Thank you, thank you, thank you for making my job more enriching every day.
      Mrs. Donofrio

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