Thanks to Paula for a great story about introducing kids to blogging!
Each year, many teachers have their students start the new school year by completing an All About Me activity sheet. I wanted to get to know my students from the first day of school on a deeper level. So we began by talking about our passions. I introduced the lesson by asking them to define the word “passion”. Some of my fourth graders were very unsure of what the word meant. However, as our discussion continued, they were soon all chatting about what their passion is. I asked guiding questions like – When did you realize your passion? Who helps you pursue your passion? Is there someone you know who shares your passion? How much time do you get to spend pursuing your passion? I also shared with them about my passion for integrating technology into all of our lessons. Once I had them all fired up about their passion, I asked them to write about it.
First we did a paper blogging activity like Karen McMillan does with her students. Then we learned how to leave quality comments by watching a video made by Linda Yollis’s third graders. I explained that both of the teachers whose work I shared with them are members of my personal learning network (PLN) I got to know because I blog. I explained that they too could build a PLN through their blogging.
Next we practiced leaving comments of each others blogs using sticky notes.
Finally I introduced them to their very own blog. We use the kidblog.org platform. They each wrote their first blog post for the 2011-2012 school year about their passion. Their passions range from various sports to singing, playing the piano, ballet, and even shopping. One of my favorite lines is from A’lijah’s blog where she says, “I love ballet so much it’s like a best friend.”
To demonstrate the passion of some great teachers, I tweeted about my students’ blogs using the hashtag #comments4kids on Twitter. This hashtag was the brainchild of William Chamberlain and is invaluable for getting your students’ an authentic audience who will leave comments. Those passionate educators didn’t disappoint. Within a short period of time my students were receiving comments from some of the great members of my personal learning network (PLN) who are spread all over the world. Some of my PLN who left comments pointed my students to websites where they could learn more about their passion.
My hope for this year is that I can help each one of my students pursue their passion and start to build their own PLN of people they meet through blogging.
Paula L. Naugle teaches fourth graders math and social studies in a public, suburban school in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has been teaching for 35 years and reignited her passion for teaching by integrating technology into all of her lessons. Some of the many webtools she uses are Edmodo, kidblog.org, Skype, and Glogster. Paula is a moderator for #4thchat on Twitter on Mondays at 6:00 CST. She also presents at various conferences like LaCUE and ISTE about her experiences with integrating technology and innovative teaching.