Writing. It’s something few students admit to enjoying. Is it the writing itself or the reason for the writing that is so strongly disliked, though? In just our very first Kid Blogging experience from this week, I can say with a great deal of confidence I believe it to be the latter.
Students in the ARCTIC Zone each have an account within a Kid Blogging platform that allows them to publish written posts as often as they want that appear within our own AZ “space” for all students to see and read. We spent time brainstorming topics for their blogs this week that are important or special to each student. Topics about which they know a lot or have a lot to say. Topics that may not necessarily appeal to everyone else in class but will appeal to at least some others.
Each student chose one overarching topic for their blog posts for the remainder of this semester and now have seven different subtopics on which to focus for each of the posts they will publish between now and the end of quarter two. We have topics ranging everywhere from how to create a video game to how to design a garden. One student is writing about the Titanic while another is teaching his readers how to cook various meals. Someone is writing about different wars from the past while another is writing about bullying in schools. One student is writing about psychology while another is writing personal movie reviews. I was so pleased to see the variety of topics and ideas bursting throughout the room this week.
When it came time to write, a time when grunting and complaining can often be expected, I looked around the quiet room while fingers typed hastily away. No one, I repeat – no one – had a problem producing multiple paragraphs of information and detail in their very first post. And this is only the beginning. Soon they will have time to read each other’s posts and dig in to those that appeal to them. They can comment on each other’s posts and offer ideas, questions, and feedback.
We will eventually use our blog posts to practice our writing conventions and organizing writing with a purpose and audience in mind. The benefits of a platform like this, though, reach far wider than that. It is important for students to see and feel their own success when it comes to writing – something many feel they are not good at. In time, as students read each other’s posts, they will find several authors with whom they can relate and new connections and friendships will be formed. Writing with purpose, for a real-life audience, and about a topic for which you already hold a great passion can take an activity that used to feel challenging and frustrating to one that is exciting and fulfilling. I’m really looking forward to seeing their blog posts unfold this year.