I scheduled our first bloggers meeting for early January just after winter break. The idea for a fourth grade bloggers group had been floating around in my brain since the beginning of the year. I’m always looking for authentic writing experiences for my students and I thought a blog was perfect. What could be better than self-publishing to the world! I needed to decide if I wanted to make it an assignment for all the students in my class or an option? I have read and commented on many student blogs from all over the world thanks to links on Twitter chats #comments4kids and #classblogs. Many teachers use blogs for student assignments, reflections, or assessment. These purposes are useful and interesting for the teachers and students but not so much for anyone else. I believe the best student blogs are those developed around the author’s passions, interests, and/or expertise. So I developed a simple plan:
*the blogger group would be open to all fourth graders.
*we would meet once a week during recess to talk about blogging, share ideas, and support each other as writers.
*students would need to set aside their own time to write at home.
*blogs could be of any topic or subject.
*the students’ writing would not be evaluated, judged, critiqued, or graded.
Would fourth grade students be willing to give up recess once a week and commit to writing at home that wasn’t an assignment? I had my doubts but decided to give it a try. I told myself I would be happy if even one student attended but I was hoping for a few more than that. Unbelievably, 45 fourth graders showed up for the first meeting! There are 100 fourth graders at my school so that is nearly half! The temperature outside that day was around 0 degrees F so I didn’t know if all of these students were really interested in blogging or they were looking for a warm place to hide out. (I told you in my first post I am sometimes a kind of half-empty type of guy, right?)
The second blogger meeting was scheduled and 39 students attended. (Ah ha…so there WERE six students looking for a warm place after all!) We have met several times since then and now have 31 blogs up and running. We truly have a committed group of fourth grade bloggers!
Please take a few minutes to read and comment on our blogs. Thank you!
Next post…finding an audience.