Middle school kids LOVE personalization. From what they wear to the music they listen to, their choices project who they are becoming. This is one of the major reasons I enjoy teaching 6th grade, it’s awesome watching my students emerge from the cocoons of childhood to start testing their new found wings. It is essential we nurture this maturation in our classrooms! It’s imperative we give our students the opportunity of expression.
In planning effective and engaging lessons, student expression must play a role. One of the best vehicles for this type of essential expression is Kidblog. For the past two years, my students have been publishing their work here; it’s hands down their favorite site! I love it for the ease of collaboration and feedback (both from me and their peers) and for how it pushes them to write for different, larger audiences. They quickly learned how to add pictures to their posts or change fonts to make their writing pop. Knowing their work will be read by their peers or other classes around the globe subconsciously forces my kiddos step up their writing game.
As a tool of assessment, Kidblog provides a glimpse into the mind of my students like never before. In the past, students would type their responses in a very formal way—12 point font, standard margins, five perfectly constructed paragraphs…bleh! Of course, some students would try their absolute best and knock the assignment out of the park, but many would just not be motivated to show their best effort. Now, I’m NOT derogating the sacred five paragraph essay. Instead, I’m advocating for more opportunities for these writers to shine! The work a motivated and engaged student creates is nothing short of extraordinary. We know student choice is good pedagogy. Just as essential, I believe, is student expression. It’s through the act of expression our best selves shine. Isn’t that why we teach?
Kidblog is a vehicle of voice, a tool of reflection, an expression of individuality. All of these aspects combine to foster, within my students, a strong belief in the power of words. Through Kidblog, they see first hand how what they say can persuade, entertain, empower, and embolden.