Stepping into the shoes of our students can be so insightful and powerful. We are currently doing this as we are blogging. As part of our writing curriculum, we are incorporating blog writing as a way to share thoughts about our reading and affect others. What would be a better way to understand this process than blogging ourselves?
We look at blogging as an extension of citizenship. Freedom of expression is a very big deal. Technology gives more access to everything but at the same time it can be isolative. Many kids are struggling with this and may become disconnected with themselves as they take on the stories of other people. By introducing blogging as a skill from very young, kids learn that this is just a broader conversation and they have a voice. They are crafting their own identity.
In this age of technology, it is our responsibility as educators to teach children how technology can be used as an avenue to share ideas, collaborate and to have their voices heard as they try to affect the world. The key to this kind of work is to model blogging as teachers, share the thinking behind our blog and to reflect alongside our students. Let them see us doing what we expect of them. Help them to understand that the challenges and successes they encounter are true for us too.
Our blog celebrates the work our students are doing each and every day in the classroom as they are the stars. We showcase the incredible work they are doing and the risks they are taking as true learners with the drive to make a difference. As we share this with them, we are constantly stressing that their writing is meant to appeal to an audience of their peers and to make a difference. Their faces light up when they see their work on the screen especially knowing that it will be seen by many.
According to Fountas and Pinnell: “Above all reading means using your mind, asking questions, challenging the status quo, absorbing information with a critical eye. You see that being a reader is a critical challenge and an essential responsibility in a democratic way of life.” This is what we are teaching them; about life, self expression, authenticity, and personal responsibility. A teacher’s job is to elevate and inspire. This work is not superficial to them, it is real just as our blog is so rewarding to us. It is an avenue to become a more skilled reader and writer, to reflect on the learning and to grow through this process.