“Reading is the inhale, writing is the exhale.”
That is quite a powerful quote! When my fellow teachers and I were being trained on the new Common Core State Standards, one of the session trainers had used that quote, and it has really stuck with me. We were learning how reading and writing go hand in hand, and we were being encouraged to implement that fact into our everyday classroom instruction. This is where my mission began in finding a quality, kid-friendly, easy-to-use tool that my students could frequently use to save and publish their writing online. I found Kidblog.org, and my love for writing instruction went from a “2” to a “10”! You can read all about how I use Kidblog in my classroom here.
I have learned many new and creative ways to integrate writing practice into my students’ blogs. I have grown as a teacher, and my students’ writing has shown drastic improvement as well. Not only that, they love it! I can’t stop smiling even as I type this because I am so grateful for this tool. Student truly enjoy writing now. They love having their own spaces. They love their little avatars, the comments, themes, etc.which are integrated into their blogs. With Kidblog’s new updates, I am even more excited about the added benefits us “kidbloggers” get to enjoy!
Seeing how much I believe in this amazing resource, I could probably conduct a 65 page research study on the effectiveness of Kidblog, but for now, let’s just highlight some of the new features that I am so excited about.
Draft -> Review -> Publish
You know you have seen these words when teaching writing. One of the first things we teach our students is the writing process. First you have to do your prewriting, then your rough draft, your revising, editing, publishing. It’s like a broken record. I heard it even when I was in school, and it will probably be taught for years to come. It works. It is how it is done. Why change it? Kidblog just took something good and made it even better! Now, when the students are typing their writings in their blogs, they are able to save their writings as drafts, send them for review, or publish the writings. This is like a writing process lesson in itself! This might be my favorite of the new features, as it makes the writing process more interactive for the students.
Privacy is important on many levels and for multiple reasons. As teachers and parents, we don’t want our kids’ information, ideas, and views to be all over the internet for people to see. From the student’s point of view, he or she may not want their writing shared with just anyone. There are times when writing should be shared only with the teachers. Other times, classmates may need to become involved. Sometimes even parents and the public might need to become privy to the students’ writing masterpieces. The new interface allows for all of the above. Choosing the privacy level can be done by the teacher or the student. It is easy, convenient, and more importantly, safe. This brings me to my next point.
Audience, Audience, Audience!
In the past, I have spent weeks trying to teach students to write to an audience. Some of them would “get it” and some, well, they just wouldn’t. Why pretend or imagine your audience? With the new privacy feature, students are able to choose an authentic audience. This is another writing lesson integrated right into the new interface!
Among all of these great new features, the entire new Kidblog interface is much more visually appealing and user friendly. I am excited to learn new ways to use Kidblog to motivate and improve my students’ writings, and I encourage you to try it out for yourself if you haven’t already.