Individuals first and students second
As an educator, I firmly believe in the importance of whole child education. I view my students as individuals first and students second. Not only is it my responsibility to prepare my students academically, but also prepare them to be respectful, responsible, and productive members of a global community. This begins by building strong relationships along with a classroom culture built around trust, respect, acceptance, tolerance, and empathy. Not always an easy task, especially for middle school students, but as my students begin to feel that their voice matters and others are listening, I see huge gains in their interactions with others in all forms of communication. These young people live their lives out loud through various uses of social media; therefore, it is vital they understand the lingering effects of their comments/replies. Through the use of Kidblog, not only do my students get to share their voice with an authentic audience, but they are able to build an understanding of how to interact appropriately when sharing their ideas or responding to any comments they have received.
Empathy and compassion
Kidblog is the perfect tool for getting my students’ work published outside of the classroom walls and connecting them with others. This platform is also helpful in developing their sense of empathy and compassion through comments to their counterparts and through the comments they receive on their posts. The students mature as individuals as they realize there are viewpoints other than their own that also have substance. They begin to value the opinions and thoughts of others as a form of feedback in their growth as writers and communicators. They see how the power of words/comments can be used to inspire or discourage. They take all of this feedback, positive or negative, and use it to become better, more thoughtful writers.
Light through the darkness
Students struggle with the myth that just because they are kids, their voice can’t be heard. Through blogging, my students have been touched by comments made on their posts, and by how their writing has inspired and helped others cope with difficult situations. One such example, was when one of my 7th grade students poured her heart out in her blog about her battle with depression. I always inform my students that their blogs are public to the world so they need to truly think about what they want to post. She felt so strongly about sharing her journey in hopes that it would help others to know there was light through the darkness. She had such an outpouring of support from students and adults alike who thanked her for her story and told her to continue writing such honest pieces of work. Those comments helped her wounds heal a bit just knowing she wasn’t alone and she had inspired others with her words. She was 12 years old.
He couldn’t wait to publish
I had another student who despised writing. When I told him we would be writing passion blogs, he still wasn’t too thrilled. He was an avid sports fan and also a good athlete, so I suggested he blog about anything sports. His blogs were so well done that he had several replies that he should consider a career in sports reporting. After those initial comments, he couldn’t wait to publish his next blog. That was two years ago. He has gone on to high school, and continues to write/blog for a variety of purposes.
Opportunity to share and grow
Kidblog has been the best integration into the classroom on so many levels. Most importantly, it offers my students the opportunity to share and grow with every blog they write or comment on. They have seen how the written word can inspire and motivate others to be the best they can be, or how negative comments can greatly impact a life forever. I am so proud of how my students use their voice to make their world brighter. The connections and comments shared through Kidblog, have had an everlasting effect on how my students communicate on all mediums.