Kidblog is a safe self-contained blogging platform that can be used for free. For more information about Kidblog: Kidblog.org?/home/
According to NCTE: “Reading and writing are not only obliged activities (things we must do) but also self-sponsored ones (things we might choose).” We are taking this statement for all it’s worth when it comes to our instructional approach when it comes to testing. We are using Kidblog as an instructional tool that offers so much more than merely preparing students for state exams. We begin by giving students choice with a prescribed focus. The teacher sets the focus for the written response but the student has choice in the text they use. For example, students can be directed to write about theme, but they are selecting the text. Students understand they are writing for an audience, not a great void. Their goal is (like ours) to begin a conversation by engaging other students to respond to their writing. This is real life practice for writing to an audience using 21st Century Technology.
What’s the end goal?
People from outside of education will say that testing is the much needed measure of accountability. Teachers are left to create something meaningful from a static measure. We are trying to create students who have a strong capacity for reading and writing; however, if we are also being forced to prepare them for a testing situation that is yielding little to our day to day real instruction. Kidblog is offering us the best solution so far:
- Kids are responding to literature in an authentic way – with rules they have to use evidence, support their opinions, they are using the entire writing process to create their “posts”
- They are writing for an audience (their peers, teachers, parents)
- They are getting real feedback through their peer’s responses that inform their writing. (they want others to respond to their writing)
- They are writing and reading on screens
Life is the real test – so why would we create “testing like” experiences in place of something like this? We have to stop the victimization of our profession – we are the gatekeeper of rigor. Believe we are and that will be reality. Teach like the house is on fire, teach with passion, teach with a keen eye that is always fixed on the students before you. This is how we improve the state of public education.