Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blog Junkies

I do believe my children are turning into blog junkies. Might be time to have the conversation about only commenting or blogging if we have something further to add. Interestingly, if I wait, the children are beginning to monitor each other and starting to ask why someone has said something and asking them to add further to their post.  On the other hand today when the children were all adding to the discussions on their individual computers, I had one child say, "Can't I just run across and ask what they mean." 

The first face to face discussion we had about our story I noticed 3 children not contributing. When we went to blogging our thoughts, these same 3 were almost the first to post a comment and one in particular was asking about what a word meant (she would never do that in a group discussion.

Another teacher at school is doing Literacy circles without the blogging and is now feeling inspired to try it to see if she can find the next level of enthusiasm and particularly the want from the children to contribute from home etc. 

Monday, April 27, 2009


Showed the kids our wiki and we talked about the literacy circle roles and started a few discussions. Nothing too deep and meaningful yet, the kids just want to post, post, post. They are itching to add to discussions. Most of the group has now joined wikispaces so they can work from home. Some of these are children  are reluctant to do homework, but here they are working at 4:30pm from home. I wonder/hope this level of enthusiasm will keep up.  Somehow I think it will.

Had an interesting moment yesterday. While showing the kids how to post a discussion, I was typing while they talked. I'm a pretty fast typer, but one of the girls told me my typing can't keep up with her thinking. She was frustrated because she had to stop and back track and remember what she'd been saying. (Sometimes not a bad thing) but talking straight into a recorder is perhaps the way for her.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wiki Discussions

I have decided that the children will be blogging on our wiki site. Now I have been using it more, I know how it can work. For each book I have started a new page. As the children sort out their statements, ideas for their role they will start a discussion. The other members of the group can go in and read each discussion and comment, disagree, argue...

I am still not sure if this all means we are going to be duplicating real discussions we are having face to face. Guess what I am hoping for is that the children will be having face to face discussions, other people will hopefully be coming in to comment on what they have said. Will also be a place for them to add to their own thinking, keeping a record of their evolving ideas.

Greatest problem still at the moment is finding multiple copies of the books I want to use. "Tomorrow is a Great Word" is out of print. I have managed to find one copy on a used book site and it is being shipped from England. Luckily I have a big book copy already. This does make it harder as the books have got to grab me and the children. An issue I guess that needs to be addressed is that the books we have in school that have multiple copies are pretty lightweight and I don't believe will do much to promote discussion. Perhaps I am underestimating them?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wiki Site

I have been working on my wiki site which is where I am putting all my resources etc about Literacy Circles and where the children will be carrying out their discussions. This is a link to it so you will be able to see my action plan and books there. It is still being developed but I am learning a lot about the site.

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Action Plan

I am still experimenting with different blog sites so that I can find the easiest for my children to
use. (Probably should be saying for me to use). I am beginning to think that this site is one of the easiest to use and so straight forward. I am contemplating setting up a new one where we will blog our Literacy Circle discussions although wikispaces does have a lot of facility for adding the resources like the story and role clarification.

My biggest worry at the moment - 'What if no-one comes into our blog and comments and challenges the childrens' thinking?' My reply to self 'Does that really matter. They have still recorded their thinking and shared with each and challenged each other perhaps.'

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Where am I at?

At the moment the children and I have been "playing" with the gear we are going to use to record our discussions. We would have done this a lot faster if I had just left the kids to it. They have mastered the easyspeak mike which I think will be great for them to really record their initial thoughts and use these on the blog. I think it is all too easy for the children to change their thinking when they are writing. They can easily be influenced by others and seem to stress about spelling. Guess their teacher does too if it is going out into the big wide world. A hang up from old. I think it is a great way for the kids to get down fast what they think, listen to it, discuss it and all the time capturing those moments.

I have decided our first practise story is going to be the True Story of the 3 Little Pigs as this is a fun story and will help the children to get to know the roles in a Literacy Circle. We are just going to record our thoughts etc and work at the same time on getting used to blogging. To remind the children of the story they recorded a retelling of The 3 Little Pigs. The traditional story as they remember it. Was a great chance to use the mike, work collaboratively, argue a little, discuss, modify etc etc.... Method in my madness generating a little conflict along the way.

I am still getting our blog page together. Thank goodness for holidays to get it looking ok. Will be posting links when I think it is ready for public consumption.