One of my colleagues in the Faculty of Education has partnered a group of undergraduate student teachers with Kathy Cassidy’s Grade 1 classroom in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Today, I noticed a post from Mrs. Cassidy reflecting on the immediate impact of this mentor relationship on her students.
Having these “big” blogging buddies has already impacted the writing of the children. As we headed off to the computer lab the other day, instead of reminding the children about what good writers do, I asked them what kinds of things their blogging buddies would be looking for in their writing. Because I provided the U of R students with grade one end of year expectations and they have been using these to make comments on my students’ blogs (which I have been reading aloud so that all of the children benefit), the children easily told me. “A period at the end.” “Starting with a capital letter.” “Spaces between words.” “Sounding out the words.”
The remarkable thing was that as they wrote on their blogs that day, they obviously thought about their blogging buddy audience. Not only did some of them address their writing directly to their buddy, (for example, “I like your name and i oslu like you.”) but there were more periods, capital letters and spaces in evidence than I had ever seen in their writing before. An authentic audience is a powerful thing.
Sounds like a great experience for these students, both younger and older, and one that we all can learn from.