Jayde takes a break from her writing to pose for our picture.
Last week, I posted about my students using their iPads to blog using Kid Blog and I shared a writing sample from Jayde. She shared that she wanted to write a new blog for girls. She included a few topics that she would like to blog about. What strikes me about this young writer (besides the fact that she is 6 years old) is that she already has a basic understanding of her niche. Pro blogger states that many writers ask what to blog about rather than how.It further states that niche blogging appeals to readers.
I interviewed Jayde about her blogging ideas. Here is an excerpt of that interview:
Me: “Jayde, tell me what you like about blogging.”
Jayde: ” I like writing about things I like and I like to read what other people write. ”
Me: “What made you want to write a blog for girls?”
Jayde: “I like dolls and rainbows and I like cheerleading. I have friends who like those things too. I think other girls like them too.”
Me: “How do you decide what to write about?”
Jayde: “I just think of things I like and what my friends like. It’s easy.”
Jayde at work.
There it is folks…Jayde knows what it’s all about. French-Cuban author Anais Nin says, “My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.” It inspires me to know that Jayde and the other students in my class are busy 5 and 6 year olds living and writing what they know.
What inspires you?
“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.”-Willa Cather
This week, I stepped into the world of blogging on the iPads with my kindergartners. Through KidBlog students can blog in a safe and secure way. The website states “Kidblog’s simple, yet powerful tools allow students to publish posts and participate in discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs. ”
What could kindergarten students possibly have to say in a blog? Seriously? Have you been in a kindergarten classroom? They ALWAYS have something to share. This forum allows them to share as much and as often as they like. Blogging supports writing and reading skills as well as digital literacy.
I showed my students this blog and then talked with them about what they might want to share on their own. We brainstormed different ideas and then off they went making lists on their iPads of possible blogging topics. I posted to the class and then had them read and respond to my post first. Then I had them write their own posts. Next, I had them choose some of their classmates posts to read and respond. This all happened in one day! Since then, each day, they are asking me if they can please write in their blogs. My next step is to connect with a first grade class in our building and become Blogging Buddies.
Obviously, I am monitoring all posts and comments. I am also posting on the blog site and responding to their blogs. This modeling is important. The students get excited when they see I have responded to their blog.
One student's thoughts about blogging
Blogging is allowing my students to bring their own voice alive in the classroom and construct their own learning. It gives them an important sense of being a writer. After all, we are what we think we are.
And indeed there is…whatever your heart desires, rest assured there’s an app. One of my challenges was finding appropriate apps for my students. I found many I liked and many that were well,
awful inappropriate. App regret is completely fixable. You simply delete it from the account. I currently have over 100 apps categorized in folders for student use. We have apps for pleasure reading, leveled books, math, spelling, phonics, writing, music, drawing, science and sight words.
My students can read leveled books during Reading Workshop. LAZ leveled books in the app store is a great resource for Just Right Books for students. We use these books quite a bit. There are vocabulary words and comprehension questions at the end of the stories.
I have found that through the use of the apps, I can differentiate instruction for the varying needs of my students. With a large class size, it is often difficult to meet the individual needs of students. The iPad apps, along with strong instruction in the classroom, provide my students with the ability to progress at their own pace. Advanced students may move on without being held back by those students who need extra help. Those who need more practice may do so without being rushed by those ready to move on.