As I prepare to move into a grade one classroom on Monday, I have put a great deal of thought into what kind of classroom it should be; a place where my students feel comfortable taking learning risks and sharing their ideas. I am planning to blog with my students again this year, and I know some parents who wonder what their six- year-old might possibly have to say.
My own son blogs here. This is where he writes about things that are interesting to him. At this point, he is most comfortable having me scribe for him as he doesn’t feel confident enough yet to have a go on his own, though he is becoming confident enough to have a go at invented spelling on paper. He particularly enjoys taking pictures around the house and telling about them.
I have been blogging with my older students (grade 4, 5, 7, 8) for several years now, and I have found the old quote to be true: if a student writes for the teacher they want it to be good enough. If a student writes for an audience they want it to be good.
One of my former students blogs here. He updates it regularly on his own and it’s an outlet for him to share his own interests (and I have to admit that I learned a thing or two about Mincraft from him).
In the past I have used blogmeister, which I honestly always found clunky and my students didn’t love it. I have moved over to edublogs in the last few years and have found it to be exactly what I’m looking for: it gives me the control I need, my students have some privacy, and using the app on the iPad makes it easy for students to access.
Blogging with children this young will be a new challenge for me, but based on experience and the examples I have looked at I think it is achievable.
Cathy Kassidy blogs with her grade ones with beautiful results. I love that the student entries are not limited to text but that the students feel free to take a learning risk by writing invented spelling on their blog (although the Cathy’s having recorded beside it in standard spelling helps).
The Current Plan
My plan is to have my students blogging using iPads and iPods, using the edublogs app, which largely eliminates the trouble of logging in. First, my students will work with tech buddies, who I happen to have had the good fortune of teaching as a classroom teacher while their teacher was on sabbatical. He is also a techie teacher and comfortable undertaking this with me. Once my students are trained, I think it will be easy for them to add to their own blog. Of course, next year CBE will be moving to IRIS, which largely eliminates the need for an online blogging portfolio, but I still stand by the statement that the nature of the work being public makes it better, so even if it no longer serves the purpose of being a portfolio, I still think it holds value.
Looking forward to trying with my students and sharing the results.