To launch our digital portfolio blogs we are starting with paper blog posts, an idea I borrowed from http://www.notesfrommcteach.com/2010/09/learning-to-blog-using-paper.html?m=1.
The overarching goal of our blogs is to create a digital portfolio where students will document, curate, and reflect on their work. Paper blogs allow us to practice the roles of blog writers, readers, and commenters offline before we go online.
The paper blog assignment was for students to share 3 goals they have for 4th grade. I am shocked by how vulnerable they allowed themselves to be. We talked all about audience and who we were writing for. Instead of inhibiting their thoughts, I see many of them reaching out to their classmates, parents, and teachers to tell us how they really feel. It was really touching what they wanted to share with us and that they felt our classroom was a safe space. If we can keep it that way, I sense there are many great empathetic moments ahead.
Next I wrote a comment back to each of my writing advisees. My coteacher did the same. Then they responded back to our comments. Next week students will read each other’s blogs and offer a comment to each one they read, using the post-its.
I am excited to apply the ladder of feedback to teaching blog commenting. The four rungs of clarifying, valuing, offering concerns, and offering suggestions seem to capture the range of meaningful responses one can have after reading a blog post.
I feel these lessons are especially important given how many tacky and down right offensive comments appear online. I want our kids to grow up owning their online self as a reflection of their real life self. I want them to be respectful digital citizens who can participate in intelligent dialogue over the internet. This is feeling like a good first step.