Friday, April 19, 2013
Walking a path to successful blogging.
I am not an expert blogger, I'm just guy livin' the dream!
Blogging is truly an amazing thing. I have read amazing posts from outstanding educators all over the world. Some have shared personal strife and some have shared colleagues dreams! Some have shared frustrations and some have shared how to do something.
I have personally become a better person and educator because of blogging.
I am not a seasoned blogger, I am not claiming to be some kind of expert, I do not worry about whether or not my grammar is perfect or my sentence structure is like my high school English teacher drilled into me because it's not necessarily about that. As an instructional technology trainer who works with administrators, teachers, and students, I often talk to teachers and admin about blogging as a way to create a digital presence. It is a place for them to share the great things happening in their classrooms or schools. More importantly, perhaps it can become a place they can reflect on a lesson, unit, or an idea. Blogging can become a perfect place for reflection to happen.
Blogging can be, but doesn't have to be about conversations. The post itself can become a place where others post comments to your post and a conversation begins, but this is where I think you can make it however you want to make it. If you just reflect and not a single person posts a comment, so what! There is no exact way of how it is supposed to be done or what the end product should be. It should be about you and for you!
In my experience I have sometimes blogged about my family within my professional blog. I think this is ok because I feel like it may paint a better picture of me as a whole person. Family is a very important part of who I am and sometimes sharing that piece of me as a professional is ok in my opinion. I believe there is no one size fits all in blogging.
The reflection piece of blogging for the individual is invaluable. Perhaps the most important thing to me is that maybe I will hit someone with a post, maybe someone will be inspired, maybe someone will be interested in trying what I write about, or maybe we will engage in a conversation that will make me a better person or educator. That post might be about my family or it might be about an idea I want to share for your classroom. The point is -just blog!
Let's focus on kid's blogging now. Wow! I get so excited about the possibilities for kid's blogging.
Let me focus on young gentlemen for a moment if I may. As a male, writing was not my favorite thing to do as a kid, particularly in grade school. I would rather be playing kickball at recess or go to PE. Writing for me was like pulling teeth. In my 15 years in education the majority of young men that love to write is minimal compared to the young girls.
This is where the magic comes in.
As Bruno Mars sang "I got the Magic in me." Blogging can become Magic for kids when responses come from all over the world and you provide them an authentic audience to their work!
How do you do this you might ask?
The answer is you as an educator have to be using Twitter. Yep twitter.
If you connect yourself as an educator via twitter and use the hashtag #comments4kids the sky is the limit. Twitter becomes the place where you as the teacher share the posts from the kids in your classroom thus opening up the door to a world wide audience for them. This will get those reluctant writers writing, especially boys!
The posts the kids create do not have to be all about writing either. They can be links to screencasts, Puppet Pal shows via an iPad, movies they have created, pictures of a field trip, audio clips, or anything else you can link up in a post!
Start blogging in Kindergarten! It can be done, don't tell me it can't. Get on twitter, get yourself connected and find out for yourself. I am so impressed with kindergarten teachers classrooms that I follow on twitter because I see the amazing things these teachers are doing blogging with little K kids!
The power in which an authentic audience reads a post from a kid and gives him or her feedback is wonderful! I have personally seen the effects of kids receiving comments and being so excited to write or share something on their blog because of it!
I highly recommend using kidblog.org for K-8. It gives you and the kids a safe, comfortable, customizable environment to blog. High school and perhaps even middle school kids could use blogger, edublogs, or Wordpress. I have seen it successfully done using all of those platforms.
Recently, a teacher I am working with and I collaborated to have the kids write about our great state of Nebraska! They are 4th graders and we blog at www.kidblog.org/MrsGeldes2013 and they are studying Nebraska history so we decided to have them write about what they were learning, but better yet, we are using eduhangout.org to connect with two other educators and their classrooms in California and New York. The 2nd/3rd graders in California and 5th graders in New York will be writing about their states and then we are going to have all the kids read each others posts and comment to each other. Then after that we will take it up one more level by having a Google Plus EDU Hangout together at the same time with the three classes from one coast to the other!
It should be a great experience for them and yet another thing we can have the kids blog about thereafter. Blogging is easy and it works on so many skills, but at the end of the day it's a place to share, learn, and perhaps make yourself better. Whether you are in Kindergarten or my age. (Getting old)
So make it happen. Why not?