Several years ago I had the privilege of attending a Digital Fluency workshop presented by Kasey Bell. She was amazing and I think I may have learned more from the 30 hours with her than I did in 15 years of training workshops. Seriously. One of the assignments we were given was to implement a new idea in our classroom. I went with what I thought was the "easiest" for me. I mean, really, I didn't have time to do this and while teaching what I was expected to teach. I just thought I'd get this assignment done so that I could check it off my list.
Who knew that it was going to change my thinking as a teacher and give my students a VOICE that WE (teachers) sometimes don't hear???
I started with a small group, I actually started with a higher independent group because I believe in empowering students with responsibility. My first group was going to help me help the other students.
Wow! The kids LOVED it. They had things they wanted the world to know. They were experts in their element, they asked their classmates thought provoking questions, and they shared personal struggles that no one would have ever been aware of. How had I spent the first 3 months of school with these kids and not really have known them?? I didn't know them because I didn't hear them until I gave them a blog and the power of a VOICE.
I don't work for EasyBlog but I am definitely a fan. This is the blog format that I have chosen to use for my kids.
I have my notes on the side and I think that if you're a teacher one of those notes is like a BLINKING NEON sign right now.
Did you notice the note "Creativity is as important as Literacy"?? Yea, I thought you did. <-I believe this with my whole heart. Kids are naturally creative and a child that struggles with reading will use creativity to learn to read, understand, or comprehend.
I KNOW this without a doubt because I have a little girl that struggles with reading and spelling BUT is BRILLIANT and uses her creativity to express her thoughts, share her voice, and figure out her world around her. Children don't have to be a good writer to blog or share their voice and creativity, they are FULL of creativity naturally, we just need to foster it. We need to give them opportunities to explore, ask questions, and use their voice.
Teachers--just start this with your kids. DO NOT over-think it. My husband and kids are pretty good about going along with things that I want to try. Ask your family to be your pretend class and set it up to use with them. If you need to do this before school starts then practice and learn it with family or friends. This particular blog platform is EASY and they provide a lot of Q and A and videos to help you. If you have a question they have the answer.
I would suggest teaching your kids about Digital Citizenship before you actually start blogging. This is the world we live in and I am sure if your students are going to a computer lab they are getting this lesson there too.
The above poster is from The Book Fairy Goddess. She also has bookmarks and other things to teach this lesson. Click here for other options.
Ya'll I wish I could share this little girl teaching you how to do a multiplication problem! She's amazing! How many of my kids actually understood and learned by watching her rather than watching and listening to me?!? She became the EXPERT! You should also know that she struggled in math and when she became the teacher she learned it on another level. She became very creative in her way of teaching and understanding. I actually had to set a timer on her because she was on a roll with teaching and sharing her learning and could go for hours. ;-)
This is another kid that I would love for you to watch his How To Make An Airplane video. His directions are clear, precise, informative, and your end result is a super fast paper airplane. Teachers, this translates to HOW TO writing. This translates to how to improve or make it better, revision.
These kids want to share their knowledge and creativity, their element of expertise with the world!
You can decide how big their audience is. I've allowed parents and classmates BUT this year my goal is to have BLOGGING BUDDIES. <-This is another class at another school. I would love to be buddies with a class from another country. I may have to reach out to some Australian teachers...who wants to do this with us??
Teachers, you can create H.O.T. Blogs! I liked to link different news articles from DOGOnews and ask students to create, analyze, compare, and design a variety of assignments based on an article that they read. These articles are current events and can be tailored to a particular grade level.
Kids have a VOICE and we need to give them a platform to share their voice and their creativity. This can be done when they get to school in the morning, during Daily 5 or stations, in small group, or when they finish an assignment. I understand the struggles of getting everything in but I know that we find time for what is important.
Well, I think that I've definitely shared a passion of mine today because I don't generally think of myself as a writer and I got a little carried away with writing today. ;-)