Saturday, September 7, 2013

I Hope You Like It!

You and I are bombarded with information on a minute-by-minute basis. Tweets, subscriptions, emails...everyone has something you "must" watch, read, share. Who has the time? Even a 5 minute video is waaaay tooooo looooong. isn't.

What makes something worth your time? 
Obviously the answer is somewhat personal. And I'm not just talking about things that "go viral"(although that is an interesting phenomenon, one I should study further ).

It's a push-pull.
Push- we need to get more students and teachers blogging. It makes the most sense as a way to promote and teach literacy in the broadest sense.
Pull- My students are blogging! My second graders made this great video! Leave us a comment!!! Please.

As more and more students and teachers are creating and connecting, we're filling the web with more stuff. And, while we learn a lot from making the stuff, we all want the validation that comes from having another person- a reader, a viewer, a fellow-learner- connect with our creation. And we only receive that validation if a person takes the time to not only watch or read but to actually let us know by leaving a thoughtful comment.

I reflected, in Where's the Authentic Audience, on the phenomenon I've noticed where kids, left to their own creative devices, often conclude a piece of work with the words "I hope you like it."
They hope YOU like their post. They are writing and creating for you, a reader.

-How do I connect my student bloggers with meaningful, quality comments?
-How does blogging represent authentic literacy if the only audience is the teacher?

I wonder about this for my students, but also for myself.  I would welcome more real (for lack of a better description) conversation. Is it the type of posts I write? They're pretty tame, I'm not trying to stir the pot or be particularly disruptive. (tempted to complain here about other bloggers who complain about teachers not connecting but actually do not model connecting by answering comments on their blogs, but I am restraining myself)
I'm simply a teacher/educator/thinker/learner/human trying to use writing as one tool for my own growth.

But I have to admit...I hope you like it.


Tracy Watanabe said...

Hi Andrea!

What makes something worth my time? Blogging is definitely worth my time for so many reasons. Personally, it helps me stay focused, which is difficult since I'm the only Ed Tech (Tech Integration Specialist, whatever name you want to call it) in the district. Our district also does not have a curriculum department/director, so some of that is part of my responsibility also. Huge responsibilities. We are 1:1 in grades 7-10 (11th next year); while 1:3 at the elementary.

So, I need that time to focus and stay focused -- it is time well spent. The products I create on my blog are then helpful to others when they need them and are ready for them. -- Another time savor because I can send a link to a post instead of trying to stop by the 500 teachers in our district to help them out face-to-face, because I would never have time to answer everyone's question.

It also serves as a model of what I want to see in others. I'm excited about all the new blogs popping up in our district: Mr. Lockwood - 5th grade, Mrs. Wallace - their Principal, etc. -- just to name a few.

Connecting them with an authentic audience takes a little time. I encourage their joining the Student Blogging Challenge; and I do my best to help them make connections also on Twitter (especially through #comments4kids).

As for me, I get a lot out of leaving comments, but only schedule time to every once in a while because of all the other things going on... not to mention the fact that I'm a mom of 2 (a 12 year old and a 7 year old). I really only visit blogs of people that inspire me because I don't have time to visit all of the many other awesome things that I assume are also out there.

Thank you for all you do and all your creations. I get so much out of them and am inspired by them!

Kind regards,

Kim G. said...

I liked it! And the comment by Tracy as well. I myself feel i have to choose between reading/commenting and blogging. I have chosen reading and less sleep. I do not feel there is a moral imperative to share, quite the opposite actually, as there is too much sharing. If it encourages others, then reading and commenting is valuable. Having said that, blogging is a no brainer for students, esp. in language arts. It is the greatest gift to teachers to have a differentiated authentic and compelling platform to develop reading and writing literacy.

How to blog and read and still have a life?

I hope you like my comment!

Andrea said...

Hi Tracy,
Thank you so much for taking the time! I so appreciate your feedback. I agree that blogging is worth the time whether or not anyone reads or comments. When I asked "what is worth your time?" what I meant was what does it take to make something (a post, a video) worth reading or watching?

I ask because I feel so overly inundated with all the stuff- emails, video recommendations, blog posts that fill my reader (even though I just did my "fall cleaning" and unsubbed from so many blogs.
I have used the #comments4kids. I love those amazing teachers who take the time to stop by a child's blog and comments, but I have to admit that I rarely take the time to stop and leave comments in reciprocation.

Last year our 3rd graders created a wonderful, original video, and despite posting and sharing around, I do not think they received any comments. It was long! I can't imagine anyone would take the time to watch it unless they knew the kids. I'm not saying there aren't possibilities, and I'm certainly not saying kids shouldn't be creating and sharing. I'm just wondering what it takes to make meaningful connections.

Speaking of which...maybe you have some student bloggers in your neck of the woods who would like to connect with my 4th/5th grade student bloggers. I do think it is the teacher's responsibility to help connect the students.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Andrea said...

Thank you for your comment (which I did like :-)
I like any comments that engage in conversation about the post.
That is an interesting perspective that there is too much sharing happening, but that student blogging is a no-brainer.
I feel that the student blogs are not that different from having students turn in work to the teacher if only the teacher comments. I also wonder how to increase the quality of the comments the students do receive.

I thought about starting a "com-mentor" program at the school to encourage, educate and create a space for adults who were willing to commit to interacting with student bloggers via quality commenting. But then I changed jobs! oh well!

Tracy Watanabe said...

Hi Andrea,

Thinking about the audience as you create is something that takes time to develop because they don't know who the audience is. Do you think it's when they finally see them on Skype or in videos or pictures on their blogs that they make that connection?

I think it is a fabulous idea to partner our classes up as blogging buddies! How many students/classes?

Kind regards,

Kristie Bell said...

I really enjoyed your post!! It caught my attention right away and really got me thinking. If we can spend the amount of time we do on social media sites, than we can certainly be more active bloggers. I have recently started blogging myself and really enjoy it. Also, I have come to learn that on blogger not only can you make a post, but you can also learn about so many neat things from other bloggers. I also agree with you about hoping others enjoy what I am writing about and find myself thinking this each time I create a new blog. Writing is a wonderful tool and we should take advantage of it in every way possible. I really loved this post and I believe most of us can relate to it.

Andrea said...

@Kristie Thanks for your comment. Best of luck with your blogging and commenting.