Posts Tagged ‘student blogging’

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Lani watches a video about solar storms on Wonderopolis.

Lani watches a video about solar storms on Wonderopolis.


Yesterday I made the biggest mistake of my life. I went outside in a big, fat LIGHTNING STORM! I almost got struck by lightning too! (Kids, just don’t make my life choices.) It all started in Breaux Bridge…

I went to Dixie RV ”Super Store” to shop for a vacation RV. Out of the crystal blue sky fell a raindrop. It started drizzling. (I don’t know How it was possible, when all the clouds were pearly white.)

In a matter of SECONDS it started raining in like the flood was back. The ditches were filling up in 0.2 seconds. Then, the lightning started acting like stupid Angry Birds and I was the little Piggie with a phone as an egg. To make matters worse, Dixie RV has to be rich and have golf carts to ride around in the windy rain. While the rain was blowing in my face I noticed a tragedy. My phone was getting wet! I screamed in my mind so loud that I am sure everyone heard me.

I got out of the golf cart and a lighting strike was about 2 inches from meeting my face! I screamed to the gods and cried of scaredness. Hey! You would cry too! Guarantee!!! That experience has taught me a very important lesson: NEVER GO OUT IN A LIGHTNING STORM! BAD IDEA!!!!

Slice of Life by Lani (5th grade)

Every week my students write a Slice of Life on our class kidblog site, Mrs. Simon’s Sea.   With digital tools such as grammarly, edit, copy, paste, etc., they can successfully post a small piece of their lives.  Some of my students, like Lani, write these with ease.  Lani sees the drama in everyday life.

I used the above slice as a mentor text this week.  I wanted my students to notice how a small moment can be big. I wanted them to identify craft moves to emulate.  So I asked them, “What do you notice?”  We made a list.

  • All caps used to show emphasis.
  • exaggeration (hyperbole) that creates interest.
  • paragraph structure
  • ellipses…
  • parenthetical statement (adds voice)
  • imagery “crystal blue sky” and “pearly white clouds”
  • simile (metaphor)

Madison tried it out.

Two NIGHTS ago there was a LITERAL LIGHTNING STORM!!!! It all started on my way to Olive Garden…..

We were just on the highway out of my cousins trailer park and when I was looking out of the window and then there was huge flash of lightning and another and they scared me, but, atleast they stayed in the clouds!

After a few minutes, when I was looking out of the front window, there was a HUGE flash of lightning and I practically jumped out of my seat, and since the sky was so black that you couldn’t see the clouds, I was really scared!(It was scary since you couldn’t see where the lightning was going to come from.)

Slice of Life by Madison (3rd grade)

Drafting and revising a weekly slice gives my students practice in writing long about a small moment, a chance to try out craft moves, and a platform for their own voice.  For me, when my students compose digitally, I am able to easily grab mentor texts for lessons.  I can hold up my students as examples.  I can shine a light on good writing.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

I have three days left of school. That statement gets stuck in my throat. I’m not ready. In my position as a gifted teacher, I have the privilege of teaching my students year after year. But the sixth graders move on to middle school. This will be a week of goodbyes.

My students wrote their final blog posts for the year. Our space on Kidblog has become a meaningful, safe place for writing. I asked a 5th grader last week to do a graph of our blog posts this year. The most blog posts went to 6th grader, Kielan, with 139! We’ve written a total of 1121 posts this year!

Here is a sample of a few goodbye posts. I am proud to read that they feel like writers.

Sorry everyone, but this is the last week of GT. Soak it in while you can. Good-bye blankets, read aloud, parties, and GT and Mrs. Simon in general.

We have all learned so much from past writings to now. We have learned grammar (by force, AKA Grammarly), we have learned phrases and metaphors and similes, we have learned everything a poet and writer must know in life. Tobie

Today is the last day of Gt and I will miss Mrs. Simon and GT. I have learned many new forms of poems, like Abecedarian and Diamante. What I will hate about summer is summer reading. I will miss all the art projects and the forts and the pillows and read aloud, but I will not miss the Sol’s. Andrew

This site has let me talk to Mrs.Simon about problems that I had when I couldn’t talk to her face to face. This site has given me ideas from my classmates and connections. This site has let me share my life story with the world. This site has made me who I am today. This site has let me give ideas to my classmates and connections. This site has made my day or made me want to scream. But this site has so many memories that I hold so close to my heart. Erin

It is time to hit the refresh button, time for winding down, relaxing, reading, and reflecting. I have books ready for my summer reading. Here are a few of the books I’ve got waiting for me.

books 3books 2books 1

How will you hit the refresh button? Please join our conversation by leaving your blog link below.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

NCTE 2015 is only a few short days away, and I am beyond excited. This year I am participating in two presentations. I will be on a round table session on Friday at 4:00 #E20: Igniting Wonder in Students and Teachers: Fueling the Fires of Creativity and Independence in the Classroom. Here I will be talking about DigiLit Sunday and digital literacy. I created an Emaze to show. In it I show how my students present their various “Wonders” to the class. Last week I wrote about how I assign and assess these weekly research endeavors.

NCTE flyer

J.02 Write Beside Them (Donald GravesAwards Winners)101CSponsored by the Elementary SectionSteering CommitteeThe presentation will feature three recipientsof NCTE’s Donald H. Graves Award for Excellencein the Teaching of Writing. This awa copy

The second session is a panel of Donald Graves Award winners from 2013, 2014, and 2015. I’m a little intimidated by this one because I am beside some amazing teachers as well as on of my all time favorite mentors, Katie Wood Ray. J02: Write Beside Them Saturday, 2:45.

For this panel, I have made a Google Slide Show about blogging with students. I made a card with the major reasons for student blogging.

Kidblog card

I would like to start a Voxer chat for NCTE 15. If you are going and would like to chat, let me know. Even if you are not going, and you would like to hear and comment on what we are learning and sharing, you can join in. Contact me by Voxer, email, Twitter, or in the comments.

And as always, if you are writing about digital literacy, please leave a link.

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SOL #15

SOL #15 

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

I invite teacher bloggers to write about their digital literacy experiences in the classroom and link back to this round up. Please leave your link in the comments. I will update the post during the day.

This week I read an NCTE article in Council Chronicle entitled Students as Makers and Doers by Trisha Collopy. At the end of the article is an “Authenticity Test” for student activities. This test includes two major priorities: 1. Is the activity used outside of school? and 2. Is it a literate habit of experienced adults?

As a reflective teacher, I wonder about the activities and lessons that I setup for my students. In gifted education, we strive to center our work around student interests. When students are interested, they remain engaged and motivated. When you think about authenticity, adults usually engage in activities that interest them. When we are interested, we immerse ourselves in the subject. If you were to look at my email inbox and my Facebook feed, you would know immediately that I am a teacher who loves to read and write.

How do I make activities that advance a students’ learning, engage them in their interests, and practice an authentic task? Blogging. As I sit here at my computer writing about an intense interest of mine, I realize that this is what I pass on to my students. In the Slice of Life Challenge, they are allowed to write about their interests. They are engaged in the process. They are learning by doing. Some of them are even choosing to write outside of school.

Erin is a third grader. She is a voracious reader. She loves all things Rick Riordan. She devours these books within days. But her writing. Well, that has not been quite up to my expectations. For some reason, though, with the SOLC, something has clicked in her. She came to school on Monday with pages of a notebook filled with slices. Her typing is slow, so I helped her type them in. Not any more. On Friday, she went home and typed 3 slices. You can see Erin’s blog here. She writes just like she speaks, with great enthusiasm.

I am probably preaching to the choir here about blogging with students. I love that I have found “real, authentic” articles to back up my convictions.

Don’t forget to leave your link int the comments. Thanks!

Tara Smith tells about preparing her sixth graders for historical fiction book clubs. https://ateachinglifedotcom.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/sol15-march-15-2015-digilit-sunday-preparing-for-historical-fiction-book-clubs/

Julie Johnson tests out Animoto by creating her own six-image story. Great idea! http://www.raisingreadersandwriters.com/2015/03/spring-break-with-puppies-6-image-story.html

Julianne Harmatz is here with a reflection about blogging with her students. https://jarhartz.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/sol15-day-15-reflections-on-tech-in-writing-workshop/

Deb Frazier is trying out Nutshell to define her maker space. http://debfrazier.blogspot.com/2015/03/slice-of-life-my-maker-space.html

Cathy Mere defines a Maker space and invites us all to participate in the Digital Maker Playground. http://reflectandrefine.blogspot.com/2015/03/digilit-sunday-digital-maker-playground.html

Carol Varsalona shares some of her experiences in digital literacy. http://reflectandrefine.blogspot.com/2015/03/digilit-sunday-digital-maker-playground.html

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SOL #11

SOL #11

My students are doing the classroom Slice of Life Challenge.  They are impressing me with their commitment to writing every day.  This school year I have required three blog posts a week, so they are used to a rigorous posting schedule.  The other day I mentioned how many words a first grader had written (178!), and they set off on a self-made word count competition.  But it is not the word count or their writing commitment that is impressing me.  It is the voice.

Voice is a very difficult concept to teach.  Here is a post-it from Writing Fix, a great resource for teaching writing.  As one of the six traits of writing, voice should be taught.

From Writing Fix

From Writing Fix

I have come to believe that voice is something to be discovered rather than taught.  All children come with a voice.  Enter any school cafeteria and you can hear them roar.  Through blogging every day, my students have become more comfortable expressing themselves, and their voices are coming through each piece of writing.  Here are some samples of strong voice:

My mom has one of those smart car things or whatever.The kind where you hit a button and use it like siri. Well in my moms phone my dad is labeled as B T.in case you were wondering it means Boo Thing.So nevertheless when she says call b t it says calling Mrs.Simon mobile.So ya Mrs.Simon if you have any missed calls from her that’s why.  Reed


So, today I went to the book fair. I got a calculator,pencils,2 books and a pencil sharpener.
I can’t wait to read my books tonight, and I will get a sticker for our chart for reading books.
But, I know what you are thinking ” wow those sound really boring!” They are actually not boring.The calculator is a chocolate scented calculator. The pencils were drumstick pencils. And, the pencil sharpener is …wait for it…wait for it…A MUSHROOM, and the top is an eraser {TALK ABOUT 2in1.} Emily

After, we walked on Bourbon Street. It was so crazy!!! There was this little boy dancing like Michael Jackson, and he was so good. I gave him $5, because that is all I had on me.  After, Bourbon we went back to the hotel. My friend and I were doing flips on the bed. It was extra fun, but I almost broke my ne… nevermind that!! In the morning, we went down stairs to eat breakfast. It was free!! Kielan

Read more student posts here.

Now I need to do a lesson on how so is a conjunction.  I never realized how many of my students start their sentences with so.  I have time for that because obviously, I do not have to teach voice.

My voice is competing today in Round One of March Madness Poetry at Think Kid Think.  Please stop by and read some great poems and vote!

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

When writing a blog post, links can be used to enrich the text.  When I taught my students some time ago about linking, I was considering how they could use links in nonfiction to show further research.  But bloggers find many ways to use links in a blog post.   Here are a few:

  1. To send a reader to a similar post: Yesterday when I was reading Julianne’s blog, I noticed that she linked three different blogs she had read and enjoyed. This made it easy for me to bounce on over to these sites, too.
  2. To connect your reader to an image or text that you do not have permission to post: For a poetry writing exercise, I led my students to write about a National Geographic image.  On Poetry Friday, I didn’t post the image with the poems.  I posted a link to it.
  3. To connect your reader to similar posts:  My student, Vannisa, has two young sisters.  She writes about her sisters often.  So on her Slice of Life post this week, she wrote this clever sentence complete with links to her other posts.  “My sister is a little monster now. She is a Youtube Genius. Obviously different from my other sisters. And her day all begins with her morning with her baby sister.”
  4. To refer your reader to another website: On Saturday, I wrote about a magician who visited my class.  I linked to his website.
  5. To direct your readers to a shopping site:  When I do book reviews, I link the thumbnail of the book to a bookseller.

On my WordPress site, I am able to create the link to open in a new window, so my reader does not lose our connection.  I am also able to easily link to my previous blog posts.

What are some ways you use links in your blog posts? Which ones are most important for student bloggers?  Don’t forget to link back to this round up.  You can use the image above as a link button.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

My students have gotten the blogging fever. I did not expect this and am silently cheering. I am sharing our kidblog site with a colleague whose students are also posting. Also, two former students who are now in middle school are joining in. The site is getting lots of activity.

On my simple rubric for kidblog, my students have four requirements, each worth 10 points: Post 3 times, GUMS (Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling), 3 comments, and comments must be thoughtful and constructive. Here are the highlights:

1. Lots of posts! What are you reading? Slice of Life stories. Poetry Friday. My students are writing a lot. This must be good for them. I have seen great strides in just these first three weeks of school. They are adding details. They feel like their writing matters. They are using sentence structure and humor to make their writing more interesting.

2. I am using their posts to teach grammar, either in whole group or one on one. This is working. My students are realizing that grammar matters to the reader. They are noticing when other writers are not following grammar rules.

3. Sharing and caring! My students are getting to know the other students posting on our blog. They are relating, connecting, wondering.

How do I turn this activity into data? In this day of data-driven instruction, I want to find a way to track and analyze the progress of my students. I know it’s happening, but how do I prove it? I welcome your responses.

To read some of the many student blog posts, click here.
Please link up your own digital literacy post with Mr. Linky.

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