Archive for May 21st, 2013

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Class group hug, saying goodbye.

Class group hug, saying goodbye.

If I were to name an overall theme to this school year, it would be the year of blogging. This school year I started using Kidblogs with my students. I was pleased to find this site that was not blocked by our district server and was safe and easy for students to use.

At first I set up a site just for my students. I teach gifted elementary students at two schools, so this site was titled “Mrs. Simon’s GT Allstars.” I required only one post per week and comments on two posts. I created a very simple rubric that included these four aspects: 1. I posted at least one time this week. My post followed the teacher’s prompt. 2. My post was free of grammar errors. 3. I commented on at least two other posts. 4. My comment was thoughtful and constructive.

Kidblogs provided my students a forum for posting and sharing their writing. They interacted through comments. Some students built stories and would write, “Stay tuned for part 2.” We talked about commenting and creating a “compliment sandwich” or “criticycle.” Students became anxious for new writing prompts. They would rush to the computers to check on their comments.

I introduced the Kidblog site to my colleagues. We used it for responses from a group field trip with the 4th and 5th grade gifted students. We made a site for our 6th grade enrichment project. Two colleagues decided to read the same book and had conversations between their students on Kidblog.

Then came the Slice of Life Challenge in March. Being familiar with writing on a blog made it easier for my students to jump in and participate. I made this site public (after getting parental consent) so that other Slice Of Life writers could read and comment. For the Slice of Life Challenge, I raised the expectations for posting to three posts per week and commenting on three other blogs. But to win a prize, they had to write at least every day we had school. The more they posted, the better the prize. I had 4 students get the top prize for posting every day. One of these told me that she felt she was a real writer now.

I highly recommend using blogs in your classroom. The Kidblog site is easy to use. The site administrators are helpful and supportive. I think my students are better writers, but the best part is they think they are better writers.

I did a survey and here are some of their comments:

The way that people could comment on my writing helped me to improve. I think everyone built up each others’ self esteem. I can not think of a better way to improve this blog; it is already great.

During slice of life, I was able to see what others’ interests are. People’s comments helped me improve my writing. Writing should be shared with the world. Blogging has improved my writing and helped me stay connected with friends. I hope kidblogs continues.

When I commented, I tried to be as nice as possible, but still able to tell the author’s mistakes. From now on, I’ll try to think less about mistakes and be more positive when I comment.

I really enjoy blogging on slice of life challenge this year, and it was the first time I enjoyed blogging. I used to think it was boring, but it’s not. I enjoy being able to communicate with people all around the USA. YES! Blogging was so fun! I want to do it every year.

To see all of their comments and their writing, go to Slice of Life Challenge.

I want to take a moment to thank all of the Slice of Life teachers who took the time to visit our Kidblog site and comment. We even had a few authors stop in, Caroline Starr Rose and Sharon Creech. The wonders of this World Wide Web!

Making connections! Improving writing! Sharing! Building a community of writers! These are the values of blogging. Blogging is for kids!

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