Primary Preoccupation

A grade one teacher inviting the world into her classroom

Primary Preoccupation - A grade one teacher inviting the world into  her classroom

Blogging With Our Big Buddies

For the third year, my class is being mentored by a class of pre-service teachers at the University of Regina. From January to April, while the university is holding classes, these second year students will be commenting on the blog entries of my six-year old students. This program has been so successful, that Patrick Lewis, the university professor whose class is participating in this, and I shared about this experience as part of the K12 Online Conference.

Once again, my students are over the moon to have these big “kids” as part of their learning network. They got to meet their buddies face to face digitally last week via Skype, and were eager to ask important questions such as “Do you have a phone number book?”, “Do you like Pokemon” and “I wonder if you’re having a good day?” Patrick took pictures of the “big buddies” and emailed them to me. I printed them off and gave them to the children to keep in their desks. As in past years, these precious pictures come out to be looked at many times each day. I even saw one of the pictures getting a kiss!

My favourite response, though, was by one of my students when I first explained what we would be doing with our blogging buddies and how they would be helping us to get to be better writers. He said, “Maybe we could find out if they have blogs and we could comment to help them out, too”. Out of the mouths of babes…   Apparently none of them are blogging–yet. Well, ELNG 325? We’re waiting.

Category: Blogging, Connecting
  • Sarah Goyak says:

    Hi Mrs. Cassidy,
    I just read your blog and it was adorable! The part about one of the pictures getting a kiss brought tears to my eyes, don’t worry, they were happy tears, that is the sweetest thing ever! I find it very funny how no one in my class has blogged before this, and it took grade one students to get us started! I am really enjoying the blogging experience and can not wait to come visit your class in April!

    January 22, 2009 at 10:06 am
  • kathycassidy says:

    Sarah, My students are hoping that you will not just comment, but that you will start your own blog! They would like to comment on it, too.

    January 22, 2009 at 10:26 am
  • Jan Gytri says:

    Kathy, I am aways interested in the things you’re doing in your classroom but your blogging buddies program is really inspirational. I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible through blogging and am hungry for ways to improve and increase our useage. Once you had the idea, how did you get started? Is there a way for me to get copies of the surveys you did with your children and the university students? Did the university students comment on every article your children wrote (sounds like first graders blogged at least 3 times a week)?

    January 25, 2009 at 9:44 am
  • kathycassidy says:

    Jan,
    It was actually Patrick who contacted me first about a different kind of collaboration, but we came up with this. You could try contacting your local university, finding out who teaches a class about student writing for your age group and approaching that person about a collaboration.
    The questionnaires we did with the kids were about their attitudes around reading and writing and blogging. Patrick made them up as the research part was his area. I’ll email him to get a copy and send it to you.

    January 25, 2009 at 10:04 am
  • kathycassidy says:

    Jan,
    To get started, we just matched one of Patirick’s students with one of mine and they began commenting. It was part of the university students’ term mark that they had to comment on each post that my students wrote. Some students were better at keeping up than others, but I think they all did eventually comment (again, this was Patrick keeping track of who had commented and nudging the ones who had not).
    They did blog about three times per week, but most only write a sentence or two at this point, so it did not involve a lot of reading. This year it will be more like two times per week as some organizational things have had to change.

    January 25, 2009 at 10:12 am
  • Neil Stephenson says:

    Kathy,

    Great to be introduced to you briefly during the Classroom 2.0 chat this morning. I think this collaborative project with the University students is a brilliant use of technology! I’ve just written a blog post about it http://thinkinginmind.blogspot.com/2009/01/classroom-20.html. Thanks for the great inspiration.

    January 31, 2009 at 12:46 pm

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