While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.
My phone rings, an unknown number but a Michigan area code, where I have lots of family and friends. So I answer it and find myself chatting with Cassie — a stranger who is a student at my alma mater. She is hesitant and bubbly at the same time — this job of calling alums and asking them to open their wallets is not for the faint of heart. Cassie tells me how she changed her major three times, and now as a junior has finally settled on a business degree. After a few minutes of pleasant chatter, I make a donation. Maybe I am remembering my own undeclared days in those first months decades ago on campus. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking of my young nephews who are having the time of their lives at basketball camp right at this moment on that same campus. Maybe it’s because I remember not having much money as a college student, and having to take jobs that leave you calling strangers on a Friday night in the summer.
Youth sells. It’s why we can’t resist buying Girl Scout cookies when a gap-toothed kid is sitting outside the shopping center at a table crowded with cartoons, although truth be told they aren’t very tasty. Except for the Thin Mints. And maybe the Savannahs. Okay, on a bad day a Do-si-do will do. But I digress . . .
I was on the board for our local K-8 school, and not once in three years did children present anything to us. They should have. We were mired almost every meeting in numbers from financial spreadsheets, and it would have been great to get a face-to-face reminder once in a while about what it was all for.
Let the students tell more of the stories of your classroom this year, on whatever vehicle works best — the class Facebook page, blog, through daily email blasts. Better yet, find ways to video bits and pieces of their stories to share throughout the year. Keeping students front and center is a continuous reminder to families that your classroom and school have the right priorities.
The truth is that public education is always in financial peril. Schools are living, breathing, growing things, and we build a bulwark against cuts of indifference one student-told story at a time.
This week we look at student blogging. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
Free for All
[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links, follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChoiceLiteracy or Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/choiceliteracy/]
Katherine Sokolowski presents some strategies from her fifth-grade classroom for launching student blogs:
Shared reading and shared writing are essential instructional techniques in the primary grades. How about shared blogging for teaching children basic blogging skills? Cathy Mere describes how it works:
Pernille Ripp has suggestions for getting started with student blogging:
For Members Only
Franki Sibberson uses a micro-progression of her own draft of a blog post to help her third graders improve their blogging skills:
Andrea Smith finds “branding” is a way to improve student blogs. She shares her process of presenting the concept to students in the first installment of a three-part series:
Julie Johnson demonstrates how teachers can help students think through issues of audience during writing workshops:
In this week’s video, Katrina Edwards confers with first grader Dylan, teaching this young English language learner the value of picture walks for comprehending stories:
In an encore video, Franki Sibberson works with a group of students who want to create a collaborative blog of interviews. The discussion reveals some of the challenges of blog writing, including consistent posting and developing topics that might endure over time:
That’s all for this week!