Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Snowflake the Writer
With the 1:1 laptop initiative our school system started last year, our middle school has been working to incorporate the new technology into our classrooms in meaningful ways. I started using Google Docs last year as a place for my students to write about their reading and for me to comment on and ask questions about what they were reading. It has been a wonderful experience for the kids and for me and serves as a great launching pad for conferring.
The teachers at my school have adopted taking a "baby step" approach to using our laptops. The students and I are comfortable with using Google Docs now so it was time to move forward digitally. We chose to explore the world of writing through blogging!
Since my students have had no experience with blogging and we live in such a small rural part of our county, I knew their parents might be hesitant to allow their children to blog publicly. To ease my students and parents into the blogging world, I choose to go with Kidblog because we can blog privately between my classes first to get use to the format and then open our blogs to the public as parents and students become more comfortable. We are learning about what makes good posts and what constructive feedback looks like. We are learning about how important language is. We are trying to make sure our conventions make our writing clear and meaningful to our readers.
At a time of year where the weeks seem to creep by, starting our blog writing has come to the rescue. Students have written with more excitement than I have seen in a long time. Sharing their words with an authentic audience has made such a difference in motivation and in the care they put into their work. The writers in my classroom have started to awaken again!
Today, I talked to this student. I talked to her about how proud I was of her and her growth as a writer. Two months ago, she didn't worry about the impact of her writing or the "flow" of her words. I listened to her talk about the meaning she wanted her readers to get from her poem. We talked about how as writers we are always looking for ways to make our writing better and how to use word choice and punctuation purposefully. We looked at the comments that other students have made in response and celebrated her success.
The significance of audience has helped her see herself as a writer--the writer that I knew was there waiting to spread her wings and fly!