My third graders have been blogging at roomtwelve.com now for eight days. They are taking to the medium so easily. Kids are blogging from home. They are sending comments. They are responding to comments. They are completing classroom writing assignments, and they are writing about things they care about, like Whats hard in class, The First Day Of Third Grade , or The Playdate. Family members are sending in comments. Their music teacher is in a car accident, and they want to write about it. I'm emailing parents about url's to family blogs in their comments. Holy cow. I feel like the engineer at the wheel of a speeding train who's not so sure about the brakes...
It is hard not to draw comparisons to the wonderful group from last year, the first blogging third graders at roomtwelve.com. Last year they started on November 1st. This year they started on September 29th. This year's group is moving forward, much more quickly, much more easily.
Naturally I'm better at teaching all the skills involved. I have all the experience from pitfalls and successes to build upon - but this year's group has come in with more skills. Not because they are a sharper group, but simply because the world is changing so fast, and what kids know, what they care about, is so different - and is changing so fast.
The learning curve has also changed. With many, if not most, of the new skills I'm showing my kids, many of them writing techniques, I'm seeing a huge increase in single trial learning. Show 'em once, and they have it. For a teacher out of a special ed. background, this is just mind boggling. For a teacher who wishes all his kids would remember that 8 plus 5 equals 13 once they've been told.... well, it's head-scratching time.
It's not as though this is the most capable group of third graders I've had in 16 years of teaching third grade. It is simply because they want to learn this way, because it means something to their world. This IS the way they learn.