This semester, students taught by Debbie Callison at the Yukon Middle School 6th Grade Academy have been writing and sharing their poetry online using free, interactive websites hosted by Kidblog.org. All the posts written by students, as well as comments submitted by others to each website, are MODERATED by Mrs. Callison. Students have not only been working on the quality and content of their own poetry, but also discussing "What makes a good comment?" Students are identifying specific elements of poems to highlight and providing constructive feedback to each other. Online, student publishing and interactive commenting moderated by a classroom teacher is one specific element of the new "Common Core" standards for Oklahoma students which Yukon Public Schools is currently working to implement at the direction of the Oklahoma State Department of Education. One of the best things about students sharing their writing online using an open site like KidBlog is the opportunity it provides for parents to provide feedback, as well as teachers and students. Here is a specific example from Mrs. Callison's 2nd hour, sixth grade English class this week. This is a post written by Cooper last week, titled, "What is a Champion?"
Later in the day after Cooper wrote that post, Mrs. Callison shared some positive feedback as a comment on that post to accompany comments already moderated/approved. In addition, yesterday (January 31st) Cooper's Dad logged on to the class website. He also wrote a comment, providing feedback and encouragement to his son.
It takes practice to get better at anything, and Yukon middle school students are improving their writing skills with digitally-saavy learning opportunities provided by Mrs. Callison. Kudos to Cooper for sharing his poem, and kudos to his classmates, Mrs. Callison, and Cooper's dad for providing constructive feedback! We're living in times of change, and it's great to see this example of how Yukon Public School teachers are providing ways to extend learning experiences digitally beyond the "four walls of the classroom" and involve parents as partners in developing literacy skills.