Friday, May 20, 2005

Blog Envy

Blog envy has struck!
Today I shared the blogs with one of our fifth grade classes. As they perused the blogs and left comments, their desire to have blogs of their own was palpable.

Before they visited the blogs, I explained that this was a trial program. I was only working with one class because I needed to figure out how to make it work with a small group before I could try it with an entire grade level. They seemed to accept that, until they started reading the blogs. The usually noisy room was silent as kids immersed themselves in the blogs. Then numerous kids asked me, "Why can't WE do this?"

I almost laughed out loud when the first one asked. The instant response in my head was, "Because there are only 14 days left of school and it took us that long to get all the permission forms back from the first class." Fortunately, none of those words came out of my mouth. Instead I hope I was sympathetic.

I had been debating whether or not to share the blogs with the other fifth grade classes. On one hand, I wanted them to see our type of blogs before they stumbled upon the Xanga type -- good for them to have a broader blog scheme. I also thought our bloggers would enjoy having kids here at school leave them comments.

On the other hand, I didn't want to encourage unsupervised comments, since we've had problems with inappropriate chat room behavior carrying over into school. Supervised comment sessions would have given us a place to teach appropriate use, but with the classes so busy with end of the year projects, I was afraid we'd be opening a door and then sending them through to wander around unsupervised. I hope my lesson was enough to keep them from the dark side.

Before they started reading the blogs, I discussed the types of comments we were looking to have posted. I also strongly suggested they let me help them edit it since there was no spell checker and what they wrote would be on the internet where anyone could read it.

I don't know if they put more thought into their comments since they knew there was a real audience, or if this group is skilled at making connections to texts as a result of their book clubs. Whatever the reason, their comments sounded genuine. They connected easily with the blogs and I had to all but drag them out of the lab at the end of class. The next class was waiting outside but these kids wouldn't log out. Maybe it was part of the blog envy-- leaving comments was the next best thing to having a blog of their own.