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For those of you who were busy sifting through those countless paper piles on your desk and were unable to attend the most recent #elemchat; you’ve got to check out the summary when it’s posted.  The discussion was “How can we support students writing to promote communication and collaboration?” There were a ton of great ideas, links and perspectives shared to fill up your planning time, when you finish with those piles of papers. Learning something new from another educator can become so invigorating for those of us who get bored with the same old thing and strive to remain fresh in our lesson planning.  I couldn’t wait to go back to school and try something new, something different.

Ironically, I had just read and fallen in love with an idea by @mcteach (Karen McMillan) in which she described Learning to Blog with Paper.  She has students use post-its to comment on a piece of writing by placing the post-it around the perimeter of the paper blog.  Students can then respond to a comment or question by adhering their response to the original comment.   If the conversation continued, it would build strands and strands of ideas.  You know “linear” piles.  :)

It seemed to me, like the logical way to transition second grade students from the concrete/physical forms of paper to the abstract reality of online blogging.  When the students came in on Friday morning, I was so excited that we began the day by having everyone write and illustrate a response to the type of weather they enjoy most.   Some, as usual, were quickly finished and yelled out the typical “I’m done” or “what can I do now?” while others sat to the very last minute, trying to put all their thoughts on paper.  It was what happened next, that took on a life of its own.  After every child had posted their work on the wall, we began our post-it lesson on commenting.  By the way, I took this straight from Karen’s site and it was perfect.  The excitement level soared as they realized they would be an audience to someone and would be responding to their work.

Never have I had so many students at one time asking me if they could write more.  Some were asking me if it was o.k. to add another comment or question to the back of their post-it.  I said “well… I guess so.” LOL   When wouldn’t a teacher want them to write more.  If this keeps up I’m giving everyone a box of post its for Christmas.  Just so they can write to their hearts desire.  :) I know Karen stated that she was able to enjoy a large block of silence but the same wasn’t true for my crew.  However, by the time we finished, we had a wall full of post-its and a room full of energized students who cared deeply about what others had commented or asked.  Not one student asked me “how many sentences do I have to write?”, not one student said “I don’t know what to write about.” and not one student asked me how to spell a single word.  It was about communicating ideas, it was about authenticity and it’s about time we make all learning this enjoyable!

So thank you Karen for sharing an incredible lesson idea that not only sparked enthusiasm for writing in my class, but has encouraged me to start blogging more frequently.  Hopefully, one of my future posts will support another learner in much the same way!