Students are motivated when they write for an authentic audience, and a number of our elementary school teachers have begun using class blogs to provide our students with this opportunity. Recently, Ms. Cristella (Ms. Cristella’s Class Blog) and Mrs. Chulla (Chulla Chatter) had students post their poems online. This was a big thrill for this group of first and second graders, but the real excitement came when students, principals, former teachers, parents, and community members took the time to comment on the students’ poems! Cathy Chulla sent me a note which said, in part, “I am a convert! My class Blog went live last week and is a great success! The kids love it! They are even writing comments to each other from home. They are excited to check for comments each morning. We are even ready to add another set of poems.” Knowing that Mrs. Chulla’s comments are based on her extensive experience and interactions with young children, I couldn’t ask for a more honest and authentic affirmation that we are providing new and powerful opportunities for the students we serve!
At Morse School, Principal Joanne Vale wrote a comment on each child’s poem, much to the delight of the students and teacher. Ms. Cristella’s enthusiasm was evident when she wrote to me, “This project took off and is SUCH a hit! Kids’ relatives from across the states are posting messages, their 1st grade teachers, members of MY family, etc. The kids are so thrilled and it’s great to help them realize they are writing for an authentic audience.”
Other teachers are using the blogs to showcase student work and motivate their students. Mrs. Calvert’s blog (What’s the Scoop?) focuses on sharing book reviews, what’s being taught in class, current events, and more. She also provides a collection of web links on the right side of the blog that are aligned with the monthly instructional goals.
The overwhelming positive feedback has motivated other teachers to explore how these Web 2.0 tools can improve student achievement. As more teachers use these tools with their students, we will feature them on our district website. I encourage you to read through them and provide our young writers with feedback. These are wonderful years to be a student!