I'm a third grade teacher in Seattle, Washington - blogging with my third graders again this year at http://roomtwelve.com/. The community of learners that developed last year - and that is developing now with a new class - is unlike anything I have ever seen in the classroom. I've been using computers in my classroom for over a dozen years. I am in my 26th year as a classroom teacher. I have never seen anything come along to motivate student writing like blogging does - it's not even close.
Students write from home. They stay in at recess to write - yes, even the boys! They read the writing of others from different parts of the world. They exchange ideas with students and adults from different cultures. Third graders.
Would this be possible without blogs? Maybe - but certainly not with the immediacy, frequency, and voice that this medium provides. It is the medium students choose to use today. If we teachers do not guide these young learners along the way in this medium, teaching as we go - about safety, ethics, community, academic content - well, then I believe we are doing them a disservice.
My third graders from last year wrote some incredible pieces. Some of their writing was about blogging. I encourage the reading of The Class of 2015, from my own blog, where I quote and link to their articles (their writing is all still there, of course).
I would also encourage the reading of a series of posts I wrote about blogging with my third graders:
- Blogging through the school year, part 1
- Blogging through the school year, part 2
- Blogging through the school year, part 3
Please remember that every single word that appeared on these student blogs (including all the comments) was approved by me, before it appeared there.
Finally, in order for this new community of learners to exist at all, teachers in school districts need to have access to these writings, to the blogs of educators who are helping to build it now.
Tracy, good luck. See you out there - Mark