I recently received the following email from a high school English Arts teacher:
Tracy, one of our teachers, has Brandon – she said that he loves doing the blog; it’s the first thing he’s been excited about all year, and it’s been a positive influence in his behavior in other classes. He comes into my class any time he has free time to work on it, as well. He really is enjoying this!
So now you want to know what the powerful strategy was, right? What has made this student so excited, positive, and involved? It is the opportunity to write online. In the teacher’s class, we started using Kidblog to give students this opportunity to write for a larger audience in addition to the teacher writing for the teacher only. In the student’s blog posts, students can currently view each other’s posts and soon will be able to respond to each other’s posts. The teacher, administrators, and parents (guests) may comment on student posts.
One of my fears having students write online was that struggling writers would be embarrassed to have others review their writing, but Brandon has squashed that fear. I originally believed poor writers would shut down at the possibility of their writing being viewed by countless others.
As mentioned above, the vehicle we are using to have our students write online is Kidblog. Kidblog is a free service that allows teacher to create classrooms with students. Teachers assign usernames and passwords plus control who is able to view blog posts and comment. There are many additional features in the teacher’s dashboard. Best of all, it is CIPA compliant with students under 13 needing a parent permission letter signed.