So, I’ve been trying to think of a way to motivate my students to write. And, beyond writing, to start to care about their editing. Because, let’s be honest, most 6-9 year olds won’t edit their own work without a bit of gentle prodding someone making them.
Why do any of us write? There are lots of reasons. I’m not sure about you, but I write at work because I have to. Newsletters must be written, E-mails composed, presentations drafted. Each type of writing is different and as adults, we get that. Each of us has a writing voice and it changes (hopefully) depending on our audience. This writing, my blogging, is different. I blog because I feel the need on some deeper level to share a part of myself. If nobody ever looked, would I keep writing? Maybe. But it sure feels nice when I check my counter and can see that people have stopped by to see what I have to say.
So, if people reading my writing motivates me to write, what could that do for my students? Let me tell you, it’s done a lot. The Planet of Blog has been up for two whole days. It already has five posts and a draft in process, and there has been a line at the laptops to try and type stories. At sharing, I pull the blog up and project it for the kids to see. The kids that posted that day get to read the stories they wrote to the rest of the class and I read the comments to the kids. They LOVE to read the comments.
The best part is that the kids feel such a sense of ownership. They suggested and voted on the name and the tagline. They voted on the appearance and theme. I’m not sure we’ll stick with our current theme because the kids really like to type in colored fonts and most of the colors don’t look so great on the dark background we ended up with. Plus, I’m not sure I really like them using the same theme I am.
Right now, we’re not doing a ton of editing, but when we read the posts aloud, the kids notice the things that they’ve forgotten; they’re realizing the importance of reading your work before you share it with the world. I think that awareness will help them develop better editing skills. If nothing else, I hope that it helps them find their voice.