I have assisted several fifth grade classrooms with blogging projects. I have watched student engagement increase and the motivation to write soar. Teachers and students have thrived on the authentic writing opportunities. The cross curricular rigor has been another added bonus.
A few weeks ago one of my schools chose to focus a professional learning opportunity around several aspects of technology. Teachers were able to choose which sessions they wanted to attend. I had the opportunity to once again introduce some teachers to blogging. Much to my surprise, the teachers in attendance were primary grade teachers. Knowing that I would have the opportunity to watch very young bloggers develop was exciting!
A second grade teacher recently shared the excitement spreading through her classroom and beyond. The opportunities for extended learning and parent involvement have increased. Several students have started to blog from home and parents are responding to their child’s blog posts.
This week I began working with a group of first graders. First, we introduced blogging and it ties to other forms of communication. The first graders did an awesome job listing all types of communication. Their list really was not much different from the list fifth graders have developed it the past. Their list was complete with various forms of technology driven communication tools proving they were 21st century kids!
Next, I started teaching the students how to use their blogs. Instead of teaching all students, I turned the students into the teachers. First I worked with five students in my office area. I taught them how to log into their kidblog, write their first post and submit it for publication. They knew their goal was to learn the process so they could teach another student.
Our main guideline was that they, as teachers, were to be the guide on the side. The new learners were the only one’s that were able to touch the keyboard. As the teacher they could point to the screen or keys in order to explain the process – but they could not touch the keyboard. I think they were a little surprised at this guideline at first. But when I asked them who touched the keyboard when they learned, they discovered that THEY did, not me! Soon a sense of empowerment filled the room!
“We are like mini teachers!”
“I didn’t know kids could be teachers!”
“I will work hard to be a good teacher!”
“Can I teach them how to capitalize letters?”
About 15 students in the classroom have been introduced to the process. Most have experienced the role of student and teacher. We will continue this process next week. The power of turning students into teachers was the highlight of the process. This allowed for deeper learning. Just knowing how to submit a post would have helped them for that day. Allowing them the opportunity to teach someone else helped to solidify the process. This did not just give them the power of how to blog, it gave them the opportunity to discover they can empower others. You could feel the pride and sense of accomplishment in the room and the kids loved learning from other kids! This concept, if continued, will give the students the understanding that they can do things for themselves and they can influence others around them.
If you have a little time, check out the first graders first blog posts. They would love comments. We plan to get a larger map for the classroom to keep track of where our comments are coming from. We would love to know your location.
A new first grade class will begin this process in the coming weeks! Once we have posts, we would love comments!
“Teach a child a lesson and you teach him for a day. Educate a child to teach others and you empower him for a lifetime!”Photo Credit: cc licensed flickr photo by clermontparks: http://flickr.com/photos/clermontcountyparks/5700035223/