Social media and blogging in kindergarten is where I begin to model explicitly how I get my students and their families connected. Through social media, my students and their families experience the benefits of being a digital citizen and its positive impact on our learning.
I model right on the first day of kindergarten how to tweet and what it looks and sounds like. I start with inviting my parents to follow our classroom on Twitter and/or set up a Twitter account for themselves. When this happens, our conversations begin. I ask parents that I know are familiar with Twitter to tweet at us during the day. Through this type of modeling, my students begin to understand the value of connecting online, but also begin their digital journey with a familiar “face.”
Right away, I have an opportunity to model the importance of being a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen. My students understand that when we tweet it is just like we are having face-to-face conversations except that we have to wait for comments. It is important to explain tweeting as comparable to how we have face-to-face conversations with each other so that my students draw from their own experiences. Twitter uses a blue line to connect conversations between people. This was genius because my students immediately noticed the line and said, ”Hey, Mrs. D., now it shows us connected!” This was eye opening for me and very telling of how my students are discovering their voices using twitter.
I also find it meaningful to be explicit about what we are doing when we tweet. I give students little paper Twitter birds after they tweet. This serves as a reminder that by tweeting we shared an idea with someone online. Now when my students bring home their paper twitter bird, they have an opportunity to have a conversation with their family about what they tweeted. This is a great way for my parents and their children to experience how social media can be used in responsible ways.
Later on I noticed how easy social media has become integrated in kindergarten. We leave Twitter open all day long because this way someone can easily share something they want to tweet! The use of this online tool becomes integrated into our learning culture because we are becoming comfortable with sharing what we are exploring as we explore it.
Blogging is another platform I use in kindergarten. Blogging has been a wonderful way to demonstrate how to reflect, capture and share discoveries that we make throughout our busy days together. We leave our class blog open and available to look at throughout the day, and my students look forward to posting and sharing highlights and important observations with the world. They are inspired through readers’ comments and are also intrigued and fascinated by the world map that has blinking yellow triangles that show when someone is looking at our blog.
This is an easy, fun way to share that people are interested in what we are doing in kindergarten. Through the map we have explored the continent names, and we’ve even created our own world map in the classroom so we can also see up close where those who connect with us through our blogs, Skype and Twitter are from! Check out our class blog here.
I am in my fourth year of using Kidblog. Kidblog has been an incredible way for my students and their families to share and have conversations about what we are exploring in kindergarten. Sometimes we focus on a theme to blog about, and then we post compliments on each other’s posts. I also email parents when we have completed a post and ask them to post a positive comment on their child’s blog, as well as other teachers and support professionals. My students enjoy blogging because they receive comments, and they like to see their ideas online where a large audience can also see them. By blogging as a class and using Kidblog, my students discover how to share their voice and have conversations with others about what they are discovering in kindergarten. For parents this is wonderful because blogging is available whenever they have time. I have found my students are the ones reminding their parents to check the blog. As the year progresses, I enjoy looking at how we transform as bloggers and as kind, safe and responsible digital citizens.
Digital citizenship is especially important for young families and their children because the world is changing quickly and everything is available online. As a kindergarten teacher, I have a unique opportunity to be transparent in my thinking and to model how to use blogging, social media and other online tools in meaningful ways that capture authentic learning throughout our interactive days together.
I tell my students that they are amazing thinkers and great communicators. We are digital citizens because we share our voice with the world using tools that encourage conversations and ways for us to connect. They are models and making a difference in how they are learning and sharing their ideas. We are all caring, thoughtful citizens. When we become a digital citizen we have a larger audience to model and share how we care and make a difference.
I am Sharon Davison and I have been a teacher for more than 25 years. I have taught grades 1-4 and am presently teaching kindergarten at the Allen Brook School in Vermont. I believe and value connecting and sharing. Through sharing our stories, we get inspired and opportunities become available to collaborate. I was a Project Ignite teacher in 2013. This award is given to teachers who are creative and innovative in their teaching practice. My professional blog is Kindergartenlife. I am @kkidsinvt on Twitter.
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