I’m going to get to podcast again with the kids next week. The last time they talked about comments and what they meant to them.

I began thinking about podcasting topics and a puzzling situation that recently occurred came to mind. There’s an elementary student in one of the blogging groups that I follow and work with some. This student has one of the best “voices’ I have read on blogs. He’s creative. The topics are well-thought out. Punctuation and flow is not always perfect but the writing is excellent. I’ve seen continued improvement since this student has been blogging. In one of my conversations with the principal it came out that this student was not a good writer in his classroom That floored me. His classroom teacher could not believe his good writing on the blogs. It just didn’t add up.

So I’m just going to toss out some thoughts and invite input from you.

  • Do blogs offer a different type of ownership for students that helps bring out their creativity and spark? Do they care more because many others will be reading their work?
  • Is blogging more fun and does it bring forth more effort on the student’s part? In the groups I have worked with we are usually blogging once a week, not daily. Is it the novelty?
  • Are the formal rules of writing getting in the way? In our classrooms, most writing projects are of a more formal nature. I don’t think we have as many spontaneous writing activities in our classrooms. This takes me back to one of my favorite posts from Elizabeth Lane Lawley, rules? I don’t need no stinkin’ rules! It has stuck with me. She was talking about blogging and concluded with this statement:

    Feh. A pox on all their rules, that’s what I say.

    Now maybe we should make the same pronouncement on writing rules. Do we impose rules upon our students that constrict their creativity? Now I’m not saying toss out all the rules but use them with common sense. Allow mistakes so they can learn. It is about the process. If the process is done correctly I believe they will want the product to be good and they will work themselves to create that. Perhaps too many rules too soon hampers writing. Do you have rules you impose upon yourself? I know I do and they get in my way and slow me down. I’m still thinking here but I think we need to dig deeper in this area. I’m just on the surface level.

I’m stuck on this and will write more later.

I need to pose the right questions to the kids. Many times they have the answers. I like having the kids reflect about such matters. This type of reflecting is new to them but they usually rise to the occasion and then some. They need lots more practice on thinking about their learning and talking about it – not rules, not facts but what works for them.

What about the middle and high school kids? What questions would you ask them?