OCEANSIDE — Fourth and fifth-grade students at Garrison Elementary School are learning reading, writing and now blogging by creating and maintaining their own blog site as a way to teach literacy and problem solving.
Fourth and fifth-grade teacher Jon Schwartz asked his students to add 90 words-a-day to their blog sites. To complete their assignment students posted fictional stories or accounts of what they did that day.
“I blog everyday,” Karine Escoboza, a fourth-grade student in Schwartz’s class, said. “People all over the world see it.”
Fellow students are encouraged to read each other’s blogs and post online comments to keep the dialogue going.
“Their biggest motivation is to see how many hits they get,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz said many of his students have developed a newfound love of writing with the real-world application of online publication.
Schwartz added that the blogging assignment is so popular, that many students continue to write on weekends and over the holidays. One student, who moved to Mexico during the school year, continues to blog and communicate online with his former classmates.
In addition to student writing, student artwork is also posted on the blog sites. Students receive in-class instruction on how to scan photos, use the photo-editing software and upload art to their blog.
Schwartz said the online archive of student work makes it easy for other teachers or the school principal to see students’ progress.
“I can forward a URL to the principal,” Schwartz said. “It’s a way to share kids’ work more quickly than passing around paper.”
To protect students’ privacy, Schwartz closely monitors blog posts and comments. No student names or identifying information is on the blog sites. He also educates students and parents on Internet dangers and teaches parents how to monitor their children’s online activity. No student is given a blog site unless they demonstrate online responsibility and have parental approval.
A sample of student blog work can be seen at kidslikeblogs.org.