To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while. ~Josh Billings
I have been trying to foster communication skills in my kindergarten students by creating a forum for their ideas and for their work. Recently I posted three new podcast episodes on small voices. We work a lot on sequencing in Kindergarten so I decided to incorporate cooking into our Language Arts curriculum. The next day students told me they had watched the videos at home because their parents already knew about them! I received several emails including one from a mom who had shared the video with the grandmother in India. Her daughter was just beaming with satisfaction the next day. This is exactly the kind of validation I want for all of my students. I want them to reach all of the people they love.
Today I demonstrated how to transfer typed text from the Alphasmart Neo to the computer. I asked students to select a sentence or two to type from their journals then I posted several of their entries as individual blog posts to show the class. Later when a parent volunteer arrived to help with Math I pulled her aside to explain where to find the student blog and how to comment on the sentence her daughter had posted. Mom was thrilled. “My child is blogging…in kindergarten.”I suggested she post a comment. I had two comment alerts in my email tonight. The mom posted a one and so did the grandmother in Tennessee! Tomorrow their child will be reading the post, sharing the comments, and modeling this new form of dialog over the net. I think other students will be clamoring for the opportunity to post. How often? My plan is to schedule one day a week on the Neos. They will be able to select a journal entry or create a post from scratch.
I am singing the praises of High Tech Parents and those who want to travel the way their child should go. Even today, some parents haven’t ventured beyond email and the occasional youtube video (send via email). I love it when they ask me for help. I will be showing a parent how to get the podcasts on an iPod. Sometimes I let the students lead the way. Communicating isn’t a passing fad nor is it a static activity. Using the net to communicate provides a firm foundation for global citizens. Students come to understand the value of their words. Small voices are so precious.