Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Summer Writing Project: Blogging

The end of the school year is imminent. Just three days and the kids are out for the summer. For about the last month, I have been priming my own children for what they will be doing besides going to the beach, lazing around, and hanging out with their friends:

• Reading for no less than five hours a week
• Practicing math facts
• Learning how to type

Over the years, this has been standard practice so Matthew and Nathan seem okay with this plan. But in the back of my mind, I had been toying with yet one more thought for Matthew. Last week he came home with this great little piece that he told me he jotted off the top of his head one afternoon in school. He called it, “My Little Instructions on Life.” On this list of twenty ideas, he included things like:

• Do not kiss your puppy if he does not have a flea collar.
• If the worm is eating the bird, run away.
• If you see an eyeball in your soup, do not eat it.
• Do not name a cat Dog, Monkey, Shark, or Charles.
• Thomas Jefferson did not write Percy Jackson.
• Do not buy lotto tickets because you have a 1% chance of winning.
• Do not smoke because you can get heart disease if you do!
• You will find your long lost piece of cheese when you least expect it.

When I read it, it felt very blog-like to me. So, as I once again reviewed his summer responsibilities, I surreptitiously plugged the idea of a blog. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure if he’d roll his eyes and complain about me giving him one more thing to do or if he’d warm up to the idea.

At first, he had a lot of questions. What was a blog exactly? What would he write about? Who would read it? People could really comment on what he was thinking? Hmmmm….

He thought about it for most of the afternoon and kept coming back with questions and ideas. He’d say things like, “You know what, I could write about how to deal with an overtired little brother.” A little while later he’d come back and say, “I could write about how I’m trying to figure out how to get past this one level on my Lego video game. Maybe people could write back and help me out.”

By the end of the day, he had come up with at least ten things he could write about and said, “Can we start this right now?” followed quickly by, “how often do people blog? Could I write like three times a day?”

The idea of blogging has opened a floodgate of possibilities for Matthew. It’s got him thinking like a writer. He’s considering potential topics and making plans about how and what and when to write.

I know that one of the things I need to do more of as an educator is consider how to harness the potential of digital media. For me, Matthew’s blog feels like a big experiment. The first note I have made is that it generates a lot of enthusiasm. Matthew loves the idea of having a place to put his ideas and the potential of a real audience. But I find myself wondering, will this be the sort of project that will start out with a lot of energy and lose steam? Or, will it be the springboard to great thinking, an online writer’s notebook of sorts? I guess only time will tell. As the summer wears on, I promise to keep you posted.

1 comment:

Wanda said...

Kim- What a great idea! I am sure it will be successful. Keep me posted...I would like to follow his blog. Wanda