Thursday, 23 September 2010

iTeach180 Project Day 9

Yesterday we incorporated RSS of student blogs into our iGoogle page. Students learned how to add an RSS feed for posts and comments to their iGoogle page so they could easily access their peers’ blogs. Today I expand on what an RSS feed is and how it can organize all of the content you read on the web. Also, we will cover setting up Google Reader for other classes and assignments.

Students will be able to access an RSS feed
Students will be able to link an RSS feed to Google Reader

Example Assignment:

I have used RSS feeds in all of my English literature and AP English Language and Composition classes. I set up a RSS feed on our class wikispace that would update periodically with the latest news stories as they broke. Students would have to access this page nightly, read an article, and then either blog or journal about it. We also discussed the interesting stories of the week every Friday before class started. If a student did not have Internet access at home I would point them in the direction of the free library, a Starbucks (now offers free wi-fi along with most coffee shops, or have them simply find a newspaper.  When students would complain about having to buy a newspaper I would usually ask them how much they spend a month on their cell phone bill. This would lead to me being right and the student in awe of how many newspapers he or she could purchase with each month’s cell phone bill.

Again, this assignment had my students reading and writing each night. My AP students were constantly absorbing sources to use as references when they are writing their rhetorical analysis essays. These are skill sets that you can provoke and develop every night. In some cases, I had parents me asking about RSS feeds and thanking me for getting their son or daughter to read every night.  Click here to see an example of this.


1. You may want to start by introducing your students to a brief history of what an RSS feed is, what RSS stands for, and how we can use them every day. Or you might want to show them the Common Craft video to get them started and understanding what a RSS feed is.

2. Once they have an understanding of what an RSS feed is, show them where they can find one. As part of their independent practice, have them select a popular news source and find an RSS feed on the page. Explain to them that RSS feed has a universal symbol. If you are using Safari there is a reader option embedded in the address bar.

3. Have them select the RSS feed they want and then have them open up another tab. Tell them to enter You may also want to show this video on Google Reader

4. Watch the video below and have your students follow along after you have modeled.

For homework you might want your students to select 5 of their favorite news sources and add them to their Google Reader. Also, you can have them add the URLs from their class blogs.