My initial proposal for my my major project had three components 1) blogging with my students 2) using apps to communicate and build our classroom community with parents 3) looking at behaviour tracking apps that would work in my classroom. I have been working diligently on my major project but have neglected to post on my blog about it… so be prepared to be inundated with posts for a couple of weeks!!
A bit about the school and the students in my class.It is a behavioural intervention program for students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 with more complex behavioural difficulties.
In consultation with the parents, students are referred to the program from the home school to provide them with additional supports and skill building opportunities. I currently have seven students in grades 1-4. The skill level of the group is so diverse, from non-readers to very proficient ones. Naturally my approach to teaching them to blog had to be very creative
Blogging (First two hooks set)
Blogging has been a difficult journey for myself and working in a classroom with the most vulnerable kids in our school division I felt I needed to be extra mindful of the privacy concerns as well as levels of frustration of the students. The students in my class are fairly techno-savvy but if something doesn’t go quite right there is potential for them to become frustrated and toss (quite forcefully) the device aside.
I knew that the idea of writing journal entries frustrated most of my students and they always asking me “how many sentences do I have to write?” My answer was usually “how old are you? that is how many sentences you have to write.” This was a great deal for my younger students but the 9 year olds in the class often felt this was ‘unfair’. So this was my “in”.
I presented the idea of blogging to my three senior students in the class. They weren’t quite sure what it was but one student knew what a Vlog was so I showed them the Youtube video How to Vlog: From the Vlogbrothers. They weren’t keen about the idea of having their faces on screen and figuring out what to say on camera, as I knew they wouldn’t be … too much pressure. So I continued by showing them the samples of Kid Blogs. I repeated the process with each grade level. They were intrigued and the hook was set. I showed them where we wanted to go (best backward design ever!) and now we had to figure out how to get there.
Step one: we need to know how to stay safe.
Using the Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade 12 I focused on the Protect section. Students watched the Youtube videos by Planet Nutshell What is the Internet? and What is Personal Information?
When we finished these we talked about what information should stay in our “castle”. Students completed sheets with a footprint on it (yes! we discussed what a footprint was and why it was important when we are online) and we posted it on our Dojo news to start conversation at home with their parents.
The students were very anxious to get onto the devices but knew that we had to talk more about digital citizenship before we could blog. I received emails, calls and messages from parents about blogging because their children were very excited… hook number two set… parents curious and involved.