So drawing on what little I know about "writing for improvement", we decided to set up her ipad with Blogpress and encourage her blogging with the aim of writing to an authentic audience. Subject matter abounds in the holidays. "Write about your holiday experiences, share with other people and see what they have to say," I urged her. Here is the resulting blog - Hunter's Blog
Initially, I had hoped for 20 views for her blog at the maximum, after all it takes time to build an audience and even more time for the "authentic audience" to respond with some comments. That seems to be a common theme across schools. I wonder who has seen a blog from a successful blogger at intermediate level in New Zealand so that Hunter can compare and contrast?
What I found was her audience was twice as big as mine from the beginning. Oh, Blog Envy, I think it needs to be number eight of the deadly sins. I have begun to question why I do not have a larger audience. Is it because she is 12 and I am 60? How can I cast my net further? Is my writing boring? I suppose I do ramble on about education a lot, is it just something most people are not interested in? Oh well, I suppose it comes back to the purpose of blogging. For me it is reflective. Having said that I certainly do want to share these thoughts with people, after all , its not much fun being an island, is it?
So I can gnash my teeth for the next five months but really it comes down to what have I learned from observing the changes in her attitude to writing?
- I learned it makes a real difference to be able to use technology and not have to rewrite to the teacher's satisfaction, a multitude of edits in handwriting until your hand aches.
- I learned it really does make a difference if you know someone else is going to be reading your writing. There is a sense of urgency in wanting to edit and get it right.
- I learned you really have to think about what you believe (actually I knew this already but it was pleasing to watch this process going on in the young mind)
- I learned you can really make it "your own work" with adding your own images. Adding the right photos has been a fun part of the process, as well as giving a sense of ownership.
- I learned that there are so many teaching opportunities when children write blogs, like the digital citizenship issue that came up when my granddaughter wanted to use an image from Google, (you shouldn't just help yourself to other peoples pictures and, yes, cartoons belong to people, too).
- I learned there are lovely people out there who can really make a difference in a young girl's life by commenting and encouraging and supporting blogging.
- I learned you really can enjoy doing homework in the holidays (actually I knew that already, too, but someone else didn't.)