Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Third Graders to Blog with the World

It's funny how things happen.  I was at an iPad media camp in Texas this summer and happened to sit by a very nice Southern lady.  We went to lunch together and realized that we both went to the University of Texas at the same time and that we both lived in the same building at the University of Texas and that we both teach third grade.  No wonder I liked her.  Even better, we started talking about the blogging we do with our classes and when I said the challenge for me was to get "real" people to comment on our student blogs, she had some fabulous solutions to that problem.  Long story short, this year, our students will participate in two great activities, the Global Read Aloud Project and Quadblogging.  We will be blogging with students all around the world -- really.

The Global Read Aloud is a project facilitated by the passionate Pernille Ripp, a 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin.  Here she explains in her own words what the Global Read Aloud is:

The premise of the Global Read Aloud project is surprisingly simple, and can have surprising results. Students from all over the world listen to the same story being read aloud to them, then they connect with other students to talk about what they have read.  I'll know more about the activities we will do with the story and what students we will connect with as the start date of October 6 approaches.

Quadblogging is another great way to connect with students from around the world.

The idea was conceived by David Mitchell, a Vice Principal at a primary school in the UK.  He is a big fan of blogging with students and has participated in research that shows both how effective blogging is and how important it is for students to have an authentic audience for their work. He began to connect schools in groups of four (thus the quad) and set up schedules for one school per week to be the focus school who would publish blogs to be read and three schools a week who would be the assigned commenters. To date, over a quarter of a million students have participated.  I anticipate that we will start quadblogging during the second half of the year.  I am very, very excited for our class to be part of this!

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