Saturday, January 30, 2010

Is there a connection between Reading and Blogging?

Blogging helps 1st graders improve their literacy skills. I had to watch a video "We Like Our Blogging Buddies: The Write Stuff with Blogging Mentors for my technology 4 teachers.

I learned from this video. I was surprised at the abilities of the first grade students and how much their skills were improved by blogging. Pre-service teachers, from a local college, were paired with first grade students in a Canadian classroom. I was surprised to learn how much the first graders literacy had improved after a year of blogging and interacting with their blogging mentors. All of the students learned three major points from their blogging experience. They learned that every sentence must start with a capital letter and each sentence has to have punctionation. If nothing else, there has to be a period at the end of every sentence.

The video did not mention an area that I felt the students grew in and benefitted from by blogging. Writing skills were also improved. Students went from typing in their thoughts or sentences and then just posted their blog. Working with their blogging buddy taught them to proof read their work before they published their blogs. They learned to correct punctauation and spelling errors. The first grade students loved blogging with their blogging mentors so much that they wanted to do their best on everything they wrote and posted.

Pre-Service college students became, the first graders, motivators and it gave the first grade students an audience for their writings. This, in turn, motivated the first graders to put their best efforts into all of their blogging assignments. A safe place was created for constructive critism. The Pre-Service college students also grew and learned from being a mentor. Their skills at commenting on students blog sites were improved. Both sets of student were able to bond with each other in a manner that gave the first grader's someone to look up to and that cared about them. The Pre-Service college students got a first hand experence with how blogging can improve reading skills; and how important it is to have someone special care about and believe in you.

There were not computers anywhere in the school I attented, so this was not available for teachers to use. All of our feedback came from our teacher. I always had the type of teacher that, I felt, no matter how I tried I could never submitted a writing assignment that was good enough. Every writing assignment was covered with red ink when it was graded and returned to me. Usually this was not done in a positive manner. I think that blogging buddies is a great way to accomplish positive constructive critism.

I did have one concern that came to my mind when watching this video. I worried about the first graders or other students receiving negative feedback from their mentor. I would have to have the commentator on so that I could see every students comments before it showed up on the first grader's page. Words are powereful and can not be taken back. I would want to do my best to make sure my students are not getting negative or hurtful feed back. A child's self-estem and confidence are very fragile. It woud only take on wrong word or hurtful word to cause a child pain.

I am not sure if I want to incorporate this concept into my classroom. It seems like it is a very consumering project and I would feel bad if my students came in touch with someone dangerous. Even with all the progrees we have made to keep the internet safe, for our children, there are still dangers with blogging and internet usuage. I don't want to take the chance that my classroom blogging assignment might or could put one of my students in contact with some that could harm them.

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