Staying Connected Over Summer Break

Ah, summer!  What a wonderful time for the 3 Rs…. Reading, Relaxing, and (w)Riting! My students were happy to find out that their access to Kidblog continues over the summer, and that they would be able to keep the connection with their blogging friends intact.  As a teacher who knows that her students will continue using Kidblog next year in their gifted reading class, my encouraging them to keep blogging over the summer comes with a hidden agenda.  My students have made so much progress with their writing this year; I don’t want them to lose the skills or momentum that they’ve worked so hard to achieve during the school year.

I have a confession:  I am not a fan of the “summer work packet”.  As a parent I knew that meant a looming black cloud over the entire summer, and a tear-filled rush the day before break ended to get the darn thing done.  As a teacher who was instructed to collect summer work packets upon students’ return the first day of school, it usually meant two or three students handing in a packet in hopes of the promised “treat” that usually and understandably was forgotten by administration amidst the hectic back- to- school whirlwind. Summer blogging comes with no strings or stress attached.  Students are free to blog as they wish with either summer writing prompts provided by their teacher or creative ideas of their own, which make for students wanting to be independent and take the initiative to blog over the summer.  The commenting feature of Kidblog allows students to continue their connection with their virtual classmates over the summer.  This gives students fun opportunities to share and discuss their summer writing and give praise and encouragement to each other while touching base with peers they may not see over the break.  As a teacher I also check in from time to time on Kidblog to post a summer “hello” blog which usually incites and encourages an influx of excited student blog posts while giving me a chance to enjoy the fruits of their summer writing creations and touch base with them as well.

Technology is the hook here.  My students and I both know that, while my generation spent its summer on the kickball field and bike riding through the neighborhood until dark, today’s kids will spend a good deal of the summer playing video games and surfing the web.  I tell my students that the first time they feel that inevitable, familiar “I’m bored” seeping out of their mouths, they should turn to Kidblog instead of a game, and make use of their relaxed time to release their creativity and write.  Their friends and I will both be checking in so they will have an interactive audience, and they will not lose their writing skills and progress they have achieved over our school year together. Their next Kidblog teacher will be thrilled to know that quality writing took place over the summer, which makes the summer blogging experience a win-win for everyone involved!

Enjoy your summer, everyone, and happy blogging!

About the Author
Mrs. A. is an elementary gifted education specialist in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She teaches 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the areas of language arts and math. Mrs. A. has been teaching and advocating for gifted students and their parents for 22 years, and is a parent of two gifted adult children. Mrs. A. loves to travel and learn about different countries and cultures, bicycle and hike with her husband, and photograph the antics of her Labrador retriever, Porkchop.

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