Believing In Your Students

I have @mrjarbenne to thank for this blog post, as he was the one that got my class involved in his Litcircuits Blog, and this blog post is all about that. A number of weeks ago, @mrjarbenne asked me if my students would like to be involved in a group blog that would be part of his Litcircuits Platform. I was intrigued by this, as my students love blogging and really seem to benefit from writing for an audience. His Litcircuits Blog has a more advanced WordPress platform than the ones that we have used so far, and I thought that it would be good for my students to learn more about this platform as it will benefit them as they move up in the grades. I have also had a number of opportunities to interact face-to-face with @mrjarbenne, and he is an amazing educator that continues to teach me so much about new ways to use technology in the classroom. I knew that I would learn as much as my students by being involved in this project, and so for my own learning curve, I wanted to be involved as well.

@mrjarbenne has been fantastic making changes to this group blog for me based on some of the questions that I had, and we both stayed up late on Wednesday night tweeting back and forth to each other, to ensure that there was a simple way for students to login to this blog and post their thoughts. For the first time since I’ve started blogging with my class, all of my students would have their own unique usernames and passwords, so I had to teach my students where to find this information and how to enter it correctly. The other issue was that students post in real-time, which means that I do not approve blog posts before they go online. I rarely make changes to my other student blogs before I approve them, but I will sometimes have my students go back and proof-read their work again before I post it. Now I had to trust my students to remember to do this on my own. Would they remember to proof-read their work and make their posts their “best,” with me doing DRA at the same time and not reading their posts first?

I was amazed! I told my students that they were now in charge of their own blog posts, and that their work would be up on the Internet for all to read without me approving their posts first. We spoke about what they needed to remember: proof-reading their work for conventions and ideas, not giving out too much personal information in their blog posts, and asking their friends for help if they needed it. As always, their group of peers was there to support them. It was incredible! I have never seen my students work so hard on a blog post before. They were consistently using the Word Wall and their dictionaries to check for spelling, they always remembered to start their sentences with a capital letter and end them with the correct punctuation mark, and they were trying to include good ideas that other people would want to reply to. They were completely engaged in this blogging centre, and all of them were eager to go back the next day and reply to @mrjarbenne’s comments. They loved how their posts and comments appeared in real-time, and they loved reading what other people wrote to. This was truly meaningful reading and writing.

After a couple of days of blogging, I started to reflect on why this blogging activity was so different from the other ones that I’ve done before. My students have always enjoyed blogging, and they always write interesting posts, but usually I need to remind them to go back and edit their work. They were doing this editing on their own now, and even if I did approve their posts, I would have had to add in very few bracketed changes first. If I had to guess why this happened, I would say that this was a case of the students feeling so grown-up by their added responsibility that they acted even more responsibly in the choices that they made. As I was getting them to clean up at the end of our literacy centres, I saw my students quietly reading their posts aloud, going back, and making some changes to them too, just to make sure that they were perfect. Nobody clicked on “Post” until they felt confident that their work was their best, and the look on their face afterwards, told me that they were proud of themselves just as I was proud of them.

Sometimes, no matter how hard it can be, we do need to believe in our students and trust that they will set their expectations high too. I would love to hear about the “pleasant surprises” that you have had in your classroom. Let us all share in the amazing successes of our students!


3 thoughts on “Believing In Your Students

  1. That is so true Aviva, sometimes we sell our youngest learners short, when all we really need to do is believe in them. Thank you for raising the bar and showing that “Believing” in your students is so important in helping them raise their own bar! Once again thank you!


  2. Thanks for such a nice comment! I’m glad that you agree, and having seen and heard so much about what you do in your own class, I know that you consistently set the bar high and believe that your students can meet these high standards too. Glad that we get so many chances to collaborate with each other!


  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention » Believing In Your Students A Grade 1 Blog For The 21st Century --

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