#15 – Reflecting at the half-way point!

Today in my 3rd grade classroom, I assigned this task for my students to complete using Google Classroom. I wanted them to reflect on their 15th of the March Writing Challenge.

Since they were reflecting, I thought I would, too, as my post today!

1. Go back and see what your writing goal was? How are you doing?
* My goal on Feb. 29 was to write ______. Today I have written _____ posts.

* My goal on Feb. 29 was to write 31 posts or one post each day in March. 
Today I have written 14 posts and as soon as I post this, 15. 
I feel confident I WILL reach my March Writing Goal!

2Is READING others’ post giving YOU ideas about what to write next?

* The post by _____ inspired me to write _____ because…
* The post by FRAN inspired me to write the poem called Since Last March because it was a poem format she modeled well and I could follow easily!
* The post by MICHELLE inspired me to to write Five Challenging Questions because she had honestly reflected on her struggles and achievements and it seemed an easy format to follow.
* The post by DEBORAH inspired me to write my MISSION STATEMENT because she shared her draft and it pushed me to try writing my own. 
3. Are COMMENTS encouraging you to write more?
* Comments by _______ keep me writing!
ALL my comments keep me writing!! It is truly amazing how getting a sentence or two about a story I have posted can lift my spirits, make me smile and keep me writing, day after day!! THANK YOU for leaving me comments!!
I am especially grateful for comments by FRAN, MARILYN, TARA, JULIEANNE, FRAN, and ANNE. These are all people I have met so when I read their comments, I see and hear their voice!
I was also SUPER excited that Kathleen linked MY post about my students using Kidblog to the Classroom SOLSC – A kind of comment that kept me writing!!
Maybe YOU might want to reflect, too!
I am super proud of my students 23 of them, who LOVE to blog and make comments.
Today, our dashboard (after only 15 days!) reads:

And these are their Google Classroom reflections:

Comments from “Peters ” comments because he always is the first one too comment.
I am inspired by Madeleines posts because they are very expanded.
My goal was 4 but I have 9.

My goal was to write 3 posts. Today I haven’t written any posts yet. Comments by Ellie kept me writing. Some of the posts by Elle kept me blogging so I wrote one about a roller coaster.

My goal was 2 I have 7 story’s . comments by Stella keep me writing. the post by Stella inspired me to write about dogs

My goal was 4 posts and i did 11😀. Mary Frances commented and it made me keep writing.The post by Caroline inspired me to right about roller coasters like she did.

My goal was 4 story’s I wrote 7. Comments from Caroline keep me writing. And a post from Caroline gave me Insperation.

My goal on February 29th was to write 3. Today I have written 8. Comments by Lauren keep me writing because she told me i described it really well. The post by Roland inspired me to write the big thunderstorm because Roland wrote a story on a thunderstorm.

Reading is giving my ideas.
Comments by Jackson keep me writing because there comments are very inspiring.
The post by Quinn inspired me to write Liberty skiing because he wrote a hockey story.

I’m doing good I have 2 posts which is what I wanted I love comments on my posts it inspires me to write more I was inspired to make a car wash story because I go in lot of them

My goal on February 29 was to write 4 post.Today I have written only 1 post but comments by Mary Frances keep me writing because she commented twice on my 1 story and on her second comment she wrote when I read it the second time I liked it better! That comment made me want to keep writing! And I had the idea on writing a sports story because everyone was writing one and I love sports so why not do one.

My goal on February 29 was to write 10 posts. Today I have written 4 posts. Comments by Jackson and Mary Frances keep me writing because the comments so make me want to write more.

My goal on February 29 was 4. Right now I have written 3 posts. Comments that say to keep writing really makes me want to keep on writing for my class. The post by Caroline of the mouse trap inspired me to write about a roller coaster because it had things that you can say like BOOM or DROP.

My goal on February 29 was to write 13 times. Today I have written 1post. Comments like jacksons keep me writing because they were positive and friendly. The posts by mr re inspired me to write because they are detailed.

Mary Frances:
Comments by Stella, Laney, and Ruby keep me writing because they make connections and compliment me on little things.The posts made by Ryan inspire me to write because he adds lots of things that I think that I could write about. My goal on Feb.29th was to write 3 posts. Today I have written 15 posts.

My goal on Feb. 29 was to write 25. Today I have written 9 posts.
Comments by Jackson keep me writing because he always says nice things about my writing!
My mom inspired me to write my Ireland story’s because she said that we would be going in a month so I thought why don’t I say what I will do there and so I did it on kidblog!

My goal on February 29 was to post 24 times, today I posted 4 posts. Comments by Roland,Owen and Lucas keep me writing because their comments make me feel special inside. The post by mr. Re going to wonder inspired me to write going to Hawaii.

My goal on February 29 was 11. Right now I have 13. Comments by William R and Jackson kept me writing. The post by Mrs. Donnelly inspired me to write poems because it was something fun to do if your bored.

My goal on Feb.29 was to write 19.Today I have written 8 posts.
Comments by William keep me writing because he tells me what is good about my story’s
The post by Owen inspire me to write more because it has good story’s and details

My goal on Feb.29 was to write 8. Today I have written 3 posts. Comments by Mary Frances keep me writing because in each comment she keeps a smile on my face. The post by Laney inspired me to write my “first Tournament of the season #1” because she wrote about sports.

My goal of March was to write a blog almost everyday! In March I have written 13 posts! Comments by tons of people like Mary Frances keep me writing! The poem post by Quinn gave me an idea to write my own poem because I really like that he used animals with words that sound alike!!

Comments by Destiny keep me writing because she says stuff like “can’t wait for more” and not just ” I like the details” but she says which details specifically. Destiny really inspires me. The post by Mr. Rey about “A Wacky Place to Read” inspired me to write because I really liked how he added a question at the end. And was also a very good story.

11 post
11 post this month
Quinn because it’s nice
Owen I was inspired to do parts because you can get more post

My goal was 3 story’s and I’ve written 1 post. Mary Frances keeps me writing because her comments are really good and nice.

William R:
My goal on Fed. 29 was to write 2 posts. Today I have written 8 posts. Comments that kept me going was Quinn because he does kind comments. The posts
by Peter and Quinn inspired me to write animal poems and from Peter a Christmas story.

"You should add the happy emoji crying to your comment."

I still feel new to the social media world or at least to all the ways one can communicate in writing through now in the 21st century. I’ll admit that I’ve use google to figure out what LOL means. And I like adding emoji to a text but I usually stick to using the same ones  – a heart, a cake with candles, flowers. Today, my students taught me that there is an emoji happy face that is so touched that it is crying.

It all started when I said, as the students were arriving, “Look friends. Dr. Russo just asked me a question about blogging and now she is sitting outside our room typing. I think she is going to add her second small moment story to our blog!”
As we gathered for Morning Meeting, a friend said, “She’s gone.”
“Should we see if she posted?” I asked.
“YES!” was the unanimous reply.

I touched airplay on my smartphone to show my phone display on the smart panel. Then after logging into Kidblog, we could see it! She HAD published her 2nd piece. I had no idea what she wrote and I started to read this aloud.

As I read, “Trust me, you are teaching all of us adults so much” my voice started to crack. Her words are so true and I felt so touched by words.

Next I heard, “Are you OK?”

Another friend said very kindly, “She’s just happy. It’s like my mom. You should see her.

I chuckled and was glad he gets adults that cry when they are happy!!

Another student said, “You should add a comment that says you really like her writing and add a happy emoji that is crying.” 
“Does that exist?” I asked.
ALL in the room nonchalantly replied in the affirmative. Just as Dr, Russo said in her post, “You are teaching us adults so much….Thanks for helping us grow.” INDEED!
These are some of my students’ comments to this post (also teaching me by their example!):



Our class photographer took this photo while she was typing in the chair outside our classroom. He used his Skitch app to add the labels and then airdropped it to my phone so I could tweet it out! 



Blogging with 3rd Graders – Better than I Ever Imagined!!

As they arrived in my classroom today, they read this Morning Message:
     Dear 3rd Graders, 
               You will be leaving early today and I will be spending the afternoon teaching teachers about blogging. I need your help. Please complete this sentence on the index card at your seat – 
     I like blogging because_____________. 
                                                                        Thank you,   
                                                                               Mrs. Donnelly

Backstory – I introduced the idea of blogging to my students on February 29th (10 days ago) and today, our class of 23 students, one teacher, the librarian, the Principal and the school-based sub (a total of 27) have posted small moment stories and taken time to make “positive comments to keep the writer writing”. As I check the total posts and comments on the dashboard right now, it reads:

POSTS – 111

Yes, those are both 3-digit numbers and not a typo. My kids LOVE having a place to write their stories that their peers can read. They also LOVE giving comments.

How do I know?
This is what was written on the index cards:

  • I like blogging because when someone comments on your small moment, it really encourages you to keep writing.
  • I like to blog because I can tell stories about what I’m doing when I’m not in school!!
  •  I like blogging because I like share what I’m doing every week.
  • I like to blog because I like to read story and comment.
  • On Kidblog my favorite thing is expressing my comments. When I asked why, the response was: Because I like making people want to feel good about their stories and making them write more.
  • I like to blog because you can tell a story of something that happened to you. If it is sad or happy or anything. Also because you got to see the comments that people give you to keep you writing.
  • I like posting and commenting. I also like just reading a blog.
  • I love to blog because you get to share moments of your life with students.
  • I like to blog because -comments -making stories -commenting on other people
  • I like to blog because you can tell people about your life and you tell people without meeting them.
  • I like to blog because you can say how you liked their story and you can write stories and you can blog about whatever you want whenever you want! I love blogging.
  • I like to blog because commenting on everyones interesting stories and then writing one of your won and reading all your comments
  • I like blogging because your brain is learning and also your friends read it. It’s like you’re a real writer.
  • What I like about blogging – writing stories  – leaving comments  – I like to read other people’s stories
  • I love to blog because I like writing and hearing other people’s comments on my story. I also like that I can look at other people’s stories and comment on them. I also like that I can see the teachers’ stories too, I (heart-shape) blogging!!!
  • I like to blog because you can add comments and the photos are cool.
  • What I love about Kidblog is that I can share things about my life out loud.
  • I like to blog because I like sharing my stories about what I am doing. I also like seeing what other people are doing and comment on stories.
  • I like to blog because you get to see other people’s hard work and you can comment on it.
  • I like blogging because it is fun and is a good place to privately share your experiences.
  • I like to blog because you can tell people cool stories that happened to you without having to say it so many times for everybody to hear it because you just write it once and everyone can hear it.
  • I like that you get to comment on people.
  • I like that you can share what you do outside of school.
Once the kiddos left today, as a staff we had time to grow professionally. I volunteered to share why I like to blog and how the 3rd graders were doing with this new tool – Kidblog. A few colleagues chose to join me for a discussion where the first thing I did was share the index cards!
Special thanks to Kathleen Sokolowski who shared a presentation she did on WHY BLOGGING HERE.  Reading through her powerpoint and even borrowing a slide, inspired me to create the things in this folder:    My Blogging Folder
It contains the powerpoint I share today with my staff that tells My Blogging Story and the powerpoint I used to teach the 3rd graders about blogging. It also includes 2 handouts I sent home to the parents as an introduction to Kidblog and the March Writing Challenged inspired by TwoWritingTeachers! Thank you so, so much!

New to Kidblog and LOVE IT!!

As I read and was inspired by Margaret Simon’s blog this morning, I decided Kidblog would be my slice topic today. In her slice, she compared the process of practicing techniques in art class with practicing techniques in writing workshop and how important the practice of technique is. I recommend you reading her slice!

I just added a new tool to my writing workshop in March – Kidblog. I did so because many teachers I follow on this blog and on twitter suggested it as a great writing tool.  I even reached out and emailed questions to Margaret Simon, a wonderful teacher that I only know through her blog posts and twitter tweets. She kindly replied and her encouragement pushed me to not wait any longer and to try this tool now.

Before this year, I was never in a school where kids all had a devise so I used that as an excuse not to try Kidblog. This year, my school gave every 3rd grader an iPad so I had no excuse.

Yet, I did have a few hurdles to jumps through in February in preparation for kicking off blogging as part of the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge. My district, in order to protect student privacy, won’t allow students under the age of 13 to interact individually on the internet. Yet, Kidblog has the option that we can just share among our classroom! As Margaret explained in an email, “You have complete control over approving posts and comments, as well as, whether or not they are public.” Armed with this information, my tech teacher helped craft a letter to the 3rd grade parents which shared with them the Kidblog’s privacy rules and asked for their permission for their child to use this tool. This was shared on a Friday and by the following Tuesday, I had all returned signed to me!

My next hurdle was to get the Kidblog set up for five 3rd grade classrooms for a total of 100 students. But I shouldn’t call this a hurdle at all because Kidblog made it so easy!! However, I must give a shout out to my daughter who is also the school-based sub at my school (and also a fun writer in this SOL challenge – look for her at: http://presentperfectblog.com/). She sat with me and together we tried a few test posts and test comments. Having another to talk through the process definitely made it easier to set up the blog classrooms. And I’ll admit it helped me to have a twenty-something guide me, a fifty-something, to understand this technology!!

Then it definitely helped that 2016 was a Leap Year. We used Monday, February 29th as a KICK-OFF of Kidblog!! All 100 3rd grade students met in my rooms and I walked them through the process. Topics covered included:

  • What is a blog?
  • Log In directions
  • Making a Post – Adding a header, a title and your small moment story
  • What is/isn’t a small moment, slice of life story
  • Setting a goal – how often will you post?
  • Commenting – how to comment in a specific and positive way to keep the writer writing

Now, on Sunday, I am blown away by what my own twenty-three 3rd graders have done in just not even one week!!! They are posting small moments. They are reading others’ writing. They are thoughtfully commenting. They are naming the techniques they see writers using in blog posts.

As I check now, 2pm on Sunday, just 6 days after launching this writing tool, the entire third grade of 105 students has posted 188 posts and made 434 comments!!!! WOW!!
And in just a week, I have already decided that next year, I’ll be using the Kidblog as a tool from day one of the school year! As a newbie to using Kidblog, I LOVE IT!!!
Here’s a glimpse – one small moment story and the seven comments received!!