Journaling…for kids

My students are not great writers, at least not yet – and the writing test is coming up in a few weeks.  Wait, did I say a few weeks.  I meant a week.  Yes, one week.  Okay, one and a half.  At any rate, the exact length of time is not important.  What is important is that they are not great writers and, of course, the best way to make them better writers is to make them write.  Everyday.  Which they’ve been doing – but when they write in their journals there are usually only two people who are going to read it – the author and the teacher.

I have them write online, but they don’t really seem to "own" that space. They respond to my questions, they respond to others’ responses, but they don’t really raise any questions, or start any discussions, of their own.  That’s what I’d actually like to see, them bringing up some of their own ideas for discussion amongst themselves.  So, how now I’m confronted with the question of how to get them writing, on a daily basis, and get them to improve their writing.  Actually, I just want them to see the valor of writing about things outside of class.

What I need is a livejournal-esque things that would be accessible from the school.  I mean, I think it’d be great to take them to the computers on a weekly basis to update their journals, while giving them something they can use as a tool outside of class as well, but, so far I haven’t had any luck finding anything like this.



About alburnet

New mom, new natural, and..for the last year...still a new teacher!

Posted on February 24, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I try to do that with my blog…start discussion but it never seems to work.
    Let me know if you find something that works…

    • So far, it’s not too bad. I require that they post once a week for a grade, and occasionally they will get into some discussion that fosters a back and forth.
      But with kids, you never know what will spark their interest, you know? We’re reading Oedipus, and this “who’s a modern day tragic hero” thing really got them talking – and debating about the whole Chris Brown/Rihanna sadness. Who’s at fault…who deserves what…what punishment should be…etc.
      Last year, this topic didn’t really draw nearly as much heat.

  2. Are all sites like this blocked? Because there are lots of blogging communities like WordPress and Blogger that might be useful, here.
    I wonder if you could somehow take something they already do (pass notes) and use that to your advantage, if the technological route doesn’t work out. Maybe journals that they pass around and everyone comments on – a pen and paper LiveJournal, if you will.
    Or maybe you can set up a discussion list email thing… or some kind of discussion forum…? Having them brainstorm a list of things they would want to discuss might help, too.

    • Most sites like this are blocked…although right now, for some reason, it’s not. Well, I don’t mean right now, because I’m at home, BUT, for the past few days it hasn’t been.
      The pen and paper LiveJournal, well, they can do that -and there are times when I make them pass around their journals – however, there are too many times when they didn’t realize I would be asking them to pass them around, or they don’t have anything to say to the other person, or, even worse, those journals get chucked after the semester is over.
      You know, I want to have something where they will keep using AFTER the class – I’m convinced that the only way to get them to be lifelong writers is to show them the advantages that writing has BEYOND pen and paper (or sketchbook. I ask them to buy a sketchbook, and they don’t…they can’t take not writing on lined paper.) I know the awesomeness of pen and paper, but I also know the awesomeness of being able to access my journal from any computer terminal without having to carry it around with me. 🙂
      As for the discussion board, well, check out what they’ve been doing:
      These look mundane now, but I’ve saved plenty more. 🙂 They’ve already gotten me in trouble once with parents, you know, so I figure I must be on to something good. Something that pushes boundaries. Teacher movies aren’t made about teachers who have the support of all the parents. In fact, in most teacher movies, you aren’t a good teacher unless the parents don’t like the way you’ve shaken things up. :-p
      Oh, and Allie, tumblr DOES look interesting.

  3. is good. very positive.

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