In doing some rudimentary research, I found Kidblog (based on WordPress) to be a really simple and student-friendly tool, free from advertising and with a streamlined design. Teachers manage the private site, with the ability to add password-protected parent and guest accounts, while students are given the freedom to practice their writing and to find and comment on classmates' blogs. What I hadn't heard of, up until about a week ago, was the concept of "micro-blogging", an approach that is apparently not entirely new and perhaps closest of kin to Tweeting. I came across this idea when I found the site Rakawa, which has an ingenuous and uplifting purpose - users log in and type a short, daily personal achievement. My immediate thought - what a cool concept to weave into the writing and a social-emotional curriculum! Writing 150 characters yields a good-sized paragraph, which I consider a doable and an important daily task for students to practice (though certain students will certainly need particular modifications to fit their needs).
Perhaps a slightly tweaked method would be to have students write these accomplishments with good-old-fashioned wood and lead in a daily accomplishment notebook, and then choose one of these to share via blog at the end of the week. Of course, students could use the blog in many other ways - expressing ideas or opinions on a particular topic (CCS W.3.1a), an appropriate current event for example, and contributing or gaining feedback from peers. As expressed by one veteran teacher who uses blogs as a tool, students who blog also begin to learn about being responsible media contributors and the realities of leaving a digital-footprint.
So, there you have it. An idea that will soon be formally in the works BECAUSE (and here I serve up the goods)...as of next Thursday, I will be welcoming my first class of 3rd grade students into a classroom of my own (hence my penchant for referencing 3rd grade throughout this post). AHHGH! (Expressed excitement with a hint of fluster). Being offered a full-time teaching position three months out of my teacher prep program is certainly a dream, surreal, and I am ever so many ounces of grateful. Now begins a week of whirling-dervish planning and experiencing it all from scratch. I have yet to step foot into my classroom, let alone my new school, or meet my colleagues (excepting my Principal). With the unknown in clear view, this is one bright-eyed teacher who will do everything in her power to keep her eyes wide open throughout this first years's journey - and, with evolving skills and a little good luck - guide my students to do the same! Half-full glasses raised to a 2013-2014 school year filled with challenge, growth, and unlimited potentials!