Archive for January 17th, 2016

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Being present is easy when the light shines on resurrection fern making shadows  to fascinate me.  --Margaret G Simon, OLW

Being present is easy
when the light shines
on resurrection fern
making shadows to
fascinate me.
–Margaret G Simon, OLW

For this new year of blogging about digital literacy, I decided to use prompts to get us thinking and reflecting. If you have any topic ideas, please share them with me. This week we are discussing digital versus nondigital.

In my classroom we have stopped having conversations about digital vs. nondigital writing. Writing is writing, whether you are typing on a blog site or writing in a notebook. We utilize each as a tool for writing. The choice is theirs. Some choose to brainstorm in a notebook. Some will go straight to the blog and open a draft. Some will type in a word document first, then copy and paste to the blog. Some print out each draft. The choices are as varied as there are students in the room.

The computer should be a tool that is available as a choice. In my classroom, we make use of every space: the desk for writing, the corner for reading, the computer tables for blogging.

This week my students wrote Harris Burdick stories. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was originally a collection of black and white illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg including a title and a caption. The story was left to your imagination. In 2011, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick was published. This book includes short stories written by well-known middle-grade authors, such as Jon Scieszka, Kate DiCamillo, and Walter Dean Myers.

I shared The Chronicles of Harris Burdick with my students. We read a few of the stories aloud. Then they each picked an illustration to write about. I was amazed how well this worked for even my youngest writers. Madison wrote the most words she’s ever written in her life. (She’s a second grader.) Jacob incorporated a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. Kielan would not be distracted. She sat at the computer for three days typing furiously.


One night a girl named Ruby, who was 10 years old, went to the library to get a book because she loved books. The librarian named Mr. Klein warned her not to get the ancient book because it killed a boy named Jack. She didn’t hear him because she was playing music on her headphones. She took her book home and read it. As she was reading it, the vine pulled her right into the book. As she was dreaming about candy canes and gumdrops, it all changed into a story. The only way she could get out of the book was beating the fairy tale in the book. The first fairy tale was Jack and the bean stalk. (Jacob, 2nd grade)

Madison and Emily wrote their first drafts in their notebooks. Tobie just opened up a draft post on the blog and dove right in. Kielan typed directly into a word document. I observed my students go through the writing process in their own way. Some of them needed talk time. When Lynzee was stuck, she chatted with Emily about where her story could go.

Eventually, though, every story will be typed into our Kidblog site. Because this is how we share our writing. We have Kidblog connections out in the world. I’ve encouraged my students to “hack” into other blogs and write comments. They are getting a glimpse into the marvel of “meeting” people online. These connections have not caught on like I had hoped, so I have put a new blog connection on the board each week and required my students to connect to at least 3 other students. They give me a sticky note with the three names on them (accountability).

Would an old-fashioned pen pal letter be more meaningful? I’m not sure. When I was teaching back in the 90’s, we did pen pal letters. The students would wait weeks and weeks for their letters. Then they would write the minimal in a response. I never quite got them gung-ho about this project either.

Today, the world is digital. Nondigital is not going away. I still have about 5 journals floating around. I have stacks of books to read. I even managed to hand-make and handwrite thank you notes for Christmas gifts. Whether digital or not, literacies are about reading, writing, connecting, expressing, and being present.

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