Blogging in 1st Grade? Yes, please!

The time is finally here in Rm. 2o2 for writers to become bloggers and start their journey into safe and productive digital citizenship!  YAY!!  Are you excited to hear about it?  Let me tell you the beginning of the story (it’s kind of a long, developing one so I figured I’d at least get us started…).

Now, there are many things I like to do year after year, but because the kiddos are different, I don’t do them in the same exact way.  As we began to talk about blogging, I did begin similarly to my last first grade class, but of course with this class we had to include some literature, too, right? (more on that when I get to the part about comments!).

After we were clear about what a blog actually was and had some ideas about what we might want to write about, we got started with the writing part.  On paper.  I do have to admit for these kiddos this was less than ideal.  I have never heard so much grumbling in my life!!  They didn’t quite understand why they couldn’t jump right to the online part, but it wasn’t an option yet, so they took the paper instead of nothing. LOL

I was happy with how quickly most of them got into their topics, as well as how they were also thinking about how the aesthetics of a blog are also important–the title and pictures should correspond to the theme they are writing about.

On our 3rd day (it took us a couple of days to finish our first drafts of our blogs), we started talking about comments.  We discussed about how blogs are like conversations and how there are some general “rules” for how those should go.  We role played what it would be like for someone to talk to us and then just walk away when we were finished (Thanks Ella for your help with this part!).  We agreed this was not so kind and considerate to the speaker, and this was connected to what it would be like to read someone’s blog and then move on.  It’s about the conversation, after all.

Before we practiced this next step, though, we watched the BrainPopJr. video about internet safety, which highlights things that are ok and not ok to say online, as well as what to do if you think something is not right.  Next we read a book to continue the idea of being honest and kind.

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On a complete side note to this whole blog thing, we were excited to hear the story of Patricia McKissack and how she once attended our school! She was one of the first African-American students to attend our school after it was integrated in the 50s.  She’s a hero and is so brave, and is a local author who lives in our town!  Very cool!  Oh, and I remembered how I had had her sign my copy of this book when I had met her about 10 years ago.

The discussion around this book was an interesting one.  Like the little girl in the story, we thought that telling the truth was always the best thing.  This is still indeed true, but we learned from the events of the story that thinking about when, where and how to tell things is important to do.   Sometimes things are better to be saved for a private conversation with just one person, rather than being stated publicly (especially on a blog or other online space like Twitter).

After our honesty and kindness lesson, we got busy responding to our friend’s words.  This was exciting and I was impressed with how focused and quiet kiddos were while they did this work.

After this first round, we gathered together to share some of the notes we had gotten from other bloggers.  Some had questions, and we will deal with those in the second round–when we respond to the comments.  So far we are doing so great at this!

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Check out what our blogs look like!

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So..since it’s all about the conversation–we’d love you to join in!  What comments do you have for us? What questions do you have?  Maybe a suggestion?  We’d love to practice commenting with you!  Thanks for reading about the beginning of our blogging journey!!

Can’t wait to share the next step with you soon!

The 100th Day–YAY!! (Part 1)

Whew!  Our 100th day of school was today!  Boy am I tired!  WE WERE BUSY!!

I’ve been thinking about how to spend that day (and mainly trying to figure out how to both “celebrate” and still be rigorous and meaningful in my choices), and had landed on several ideas I was pretty excited about.  The good news?  We were able to use my idea list today.  The bad news (well, just the other news I guess…)?  We just did one of those things.  Let me explain. 🙂

If you were writing down a list of what we accomplished today, it would just say “blogging.”  I even had a kiddo say, “All we did was blog today, Mrs. Bearden.”  What?  That’s ALL we did?  In a word, yes, but MAN was there a TON of learning and thinking involved in that day of blogging!  I am SUPER AMAZED at what we were able to do today.

I started the day by telling my friends that I had prepared several challenges for them to do and that we could spend the day with those things.  We usually start our day with writing, so I shared the writing challenge first, with plans to share the rest of the challenges as we went on through the day.  The first thing we planned to work on was a blogging challenge.

With it being the 100th day of school, and the fact that we just went live with our blogs yesterday, I knew they’d appreciate a challenge around the “bigness” of 100 things on their blog.  I suggested we try to write 100 blog posts or comments.  Or they could challenge themselves to write a post using 100 words (which would be a HUGE STRETCH from the 2-3 sentence posts we’ve written so far).  As I had hoped and expected, they were SUPER excited to get started, and were totally up to the challenge!

Our next step was to figure out how we could make it happen.  This was a great conversation filled with much mathematical knowledge of groups of 10, counting on by 10s (as I told them we had 17 posts right then and wondered how many there would be if we added 100 more today), and splitting 10s into 5s to figure out new groups (someone said they knew that if it took 10 10s to make 100, it would take 20 5s since 5+5=10).   We divided (without knowing it) 100 by the 20 people in the room (including me!), and as we went through the challenge we did lots of adding and subtracting to figure how many more we needed and how many we had at any given point.

We got started, and you know what?  I don’t have many pictures of the work we did.  I was as busy as they were, answering questions, moderating posts and comments and helping everyone as needed.  So with 20 people, 12 iPads and 5 MacBooks between us, we were able to complete 100 BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS today!! YIPPEE!!  It took us almost all day, but we did it!  And when we were finished, we had this to say:

(Hopefully you can tell they’re saying, “I00 BLOGS ROCK!!”

Now, I go back to that part about “all we did was blog all day,” because even though I didn’t mean to, at one point I even questioned whether I had done enough with the day.  We didn’t have a big long list of activities to show for our time together.  No one took home anything different than a normal day.  We didn’t have any thing to prove we worked hard and stretched our thinking today.  We did, however, have this:

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It’s a little hard to see, but these are the charts where we kept tally of all of the posts/comments we finished. We counted them by 10s, 1s, and 2s at several points during the day as we figured out what we’d done and how much we had to go. It hangs outside our room for others to see. I’m hoping it will elicit questions for my kids (and for me) about how we spend our100th day! We have a great story to tell!

(ok, we did have a few pictures of the day!)

We also have a Kidblog dashboard that looks like this:

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Yesterday we had 17 posts and 0 comments! Check out those numbers as of tonight! We have only been on our blogs since yesterday morning–crazy, right? We’re rocking and rolling already!!

And perhaps even better, we have memories.  We have encouragement that came from our friends–“We can do this!”–when we wanted to give up.  We have full buckets from the words our friends wrote about our stories.  We have new knowledge about how to work the iPads and laptops on our own.  We have that feeling that comes with accomplishing a goal.  We have successful problem solving that happens when we’re allowed to figure things out for ourselves or talk with our classmates.  We have practice with creating meaningful writing for a REAL audience; we worked hard to make our words look right, sound right and make sense.  We have practice with letters, sounds and words and we have momentum to go forward with our writing.  AND we have a great list of things that we didn’t finish today that we’ll use to continue our learning tomorrow! hee hee

So as I reflected, I thought it would be a great visual (for me at least) to look at our district’s rubrics and match up how today’s work addressed the expectations therein.  Check out how many ways this simple blogging challenge touched our 1st grade standards:

Reading

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Writing

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.03.56 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.04.08 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.04.23 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.04.49 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.04.59 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.05.20 PM

Speaking and Listening

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Learning Behaviors and Study Skills

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.09.33 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.07.58 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.08.08 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.08.20 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.08.28 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.08.36 PM  So needless to say I am tired tonight!  I’m pretty sure my kids are, too! The amount of grit they had to use to make today happen and accomplish the HUGE goal set before them was great.  And while I know that I am a little biased, I’d say that today was definitely a day we can say we worked to get a little closer to helping Rm. 202 kids meet this mission of Robinson School:

CAM01331What did you do for your 100th day?  What have you heard from Rm. 202 kids about their day?  Please share your thoughts with us!  We’re learning how blogging is all about the conversation, and we’d love to start a conversation with YOU! 🙂

How Did I Not Tell You?

I just realized I’ve keeping something from you….so yep, I’ll spill the beans.

My kids are bloggers!  I am not sure what I’ve been doing the last month or so, but I’ve neglected to tell you that my kiddos (and some of yours, too!) have begun a fabulous new blogging journey, and we’d love you to join us on it. 🙂

I started blogging with this group of kiddos the same way that I have the past two years, which I wrote about here.  It has been a great thing for us as learners already, and I am so impressed with how so many kiddos have taken the ball and RUN!!

We’d love it if you could jump over to our blogs and have a look–and more importantly LEAVE A COMMENT or two to help continue the conversations we’ve started over there.

Check us out at www.kidblog.org/mrsbeardensclass2013 and join in on the fun!  See you there! 🙂