I just finished commenting on 22 Kidblog first blog entries by my kindergarten students! When I got logged in this evening I wanted to comment in hopes of helping any families figure out phonetic spelling. I sometimes forget how hard it can be for others to figure this out. I also wanted to give my students a comment to show them how they would receive feedback from their readers.
Our first session with Kidblog was a great success! I had three parent volunteers come in to help us while we posted. I always have the parents set up the laptops and log us in to the software or website we will be using. I find this support in getting us where we need to be prevents frustration for myself and my students. I organized the students into small groups so each adult had 4-5 students to help. I gave the students a special writing page for writing their story ahead of time. I wrote the title in a rectangular text box as they would see on page they would post. I thought if the title was spelled correctly it might be another clue for readers in figuring out phonetic spellings or semi-phonetic spellings. I had three lines below for the students to draft their blog entry. I had a friend on twitter share he just started kidblog.org in K and had the students write the ideas first on paper. This was key in our success. I think it would be very hard for my students to compose and type at the same time. Writing and keyboarding are two different students. We had not really done any typing using the keyboard and I was a bit worried. No need, they all figured it out. I ended our session showing them how they could post comments and that was the end of our day. After seeing a photo on my friend Katie's blog with her students using laptops in various spaces around the room I wondered why I always had them sitting at tables when we work in the library. Today we were in the room and two groups worked on the carpet which felt just felt better. I like things spread out and it worked well.
As I was leaving comments from today's entries, I knew blogging was a great thing to start with my students. One student had already written a new story and posted it. This same student left a comment on another student's post. I have another student who comment on two of his friends pieces. I have a student can read and spell any word. It's quite interesting but struggles to write any depth beyond a sentence with paper and pencil. His second entry today was a small paragraph and a story all about a Lego series. It's all lowercase, with spacing, and correct spelling. I know his piece wasn't drafted completely using pencil and paper. I would bet L was able to draft and type as he went. I wonder why there is such a discrepancy. I really need to explore my thinking here and fast. I hope my parents read my letter I wrote last night and join their child this weekend to expand our writing community.