“It’s important that my students create with technology, rather than just consume it,” notes Karyn when asked what motivated her to start blogging with her students. With this in mind, she jumped into Kidblog with her students and hasn’t looked back. The results? Hundreds of posts and comments in one short month.
What has been the biggest surprise to you throughout your classroom blogging journey?
“Blogging is very motivating to students. They want to share their ideas and love the ability to comment on each other’s work. No matter what group of student I have, they love to blog. I did my Master’s research on blogging and it showed that having an authentic audience led to an increase in length of posts, as well as grammar and punctuation. When students know other people will be reading their work, they put a little extra into it. Spell check helps, too :)”
Do you have a favorite blogging ‘moment’?
“It’s hard to pick just one moment. There’s a sense of satisfaction every time students publish a post and get a comment in return. This year a student wrote a persuasive piece about why kids should have sewing machines. Then her after school sewing teacher left her a comment. Publishing persuasive writing online is always fun, because students are sharing their opinions and often the people (most frequently, their parents) they are trying to persuade read their ideas.
When I first started blogging, I taught a 2nd grade class with many ELLs, including refugees. Blogging gave them the sense that their ideas were important and needed to be shared. This was incredibly powerful.”
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced with blogging in the classroom and how did you overcome this obstacle?
“Any time you put students on technology, you have the potential for students to misuse it. To overcome this obstacle, I do a lot of work at the beginning of the year about digital citizenship. I use Common Sense Media. This year I have really focused our blogging, rather than having it be an open choice. Students have a set topic to blog about and this has helped them be focused, rather than straying to making silly comments. I currently teach at a school that purposely keeps the early grades low-tech. That means third graders are just getting their first introduction to technology, and so this modification is something that fits better.”
What is your favorite Kidblog feature?
“The ability for my students to add pictures or videos. This makes it easy for them to share what they are doing and really have it come alive.”
What are some of your goals and aspirations as you continue to blog with your classes year-over-year?
“My big goal is to think about what else students can document with photos and videos to incorporate into our blogs. This year, I had students take a picture of a paper quilt they had made, and then take a picture of the creative writing they had already written. Taking these pictures allowed them to share their work without having to retype everything. Another new idea this year was to photograph and video science, especially the engineering projects students undertook. This was great to record their progress and share their designs.”
Reach out to Karyn on Twitter @karynteaches