Thursday, October 14, 2010

But Mrs. Ripp, Blogging is Boring

My students are now seasoned bloggers, or so they would like to think anyway. So as I was congratulating myself on a job well done, noting how much they were loving it, imagine my surprise when one student exclaimed just the opposite, "Do we have to blog, Mrs. Ripp, it is soooo boring." For anyone that has taught 4th graders you know exactly what this sounds like coming from a 9 year old boy that would rather fight jedis than listen to me teach.

Ahh, but aren't you the fun teacher, some people may think. Well, I like to think I am, sometimes, or as my husband would say, I lull myself with delusions of funniness, but anyone who has ever tried to play the funny teacher when the curriculum gets tough, knows how difficult it can be. So there I stand with my blogging pride in my hands, racking my brain over what I did wrong. I get it; this kid is not a big fan of school to say it mildly, in fact, he told me I was the perfect teacher when I stated there would be little homework in my classroom if students worked hard in school. Much to his surprise, he doesn't understand that if he doesn't work during class, then there is work to be completed at home. Strike one against me; I went back on my promise. I also promised him that blogging would be fun; strike two, blogging is only fun when you can write about whatever you want and get lots of comments from people all over the world. However, people don't leave comments if you don't blog.

So what do you do when students hate that spectacular idea that you love so much? Well, my initial reaction was to put on my big girl pants, along with my teacher voice, and tell him it's his own fault for not writing blogs that people want to comment on. Glad I stopped that train-wreck. I then thought about it some more and realized that I don't know what to do. Sure I have some minor ideas such as asking him how I can make it fun, giving him free time to write, promoting his blog on #comments4kids and so forth. But how do you reach a kid that already has decided by 4th grade that school is not the place he wants to put in his energy, his dreams, his wishes or his time? I leave that question up to you, my fantastic PLN, what would you say to this child if you were me? How would you help him realize what excitement he can gain from learning? And most of all, how would you reach him before it really is too late?

13 comments:

Wm Chamberlain said...

Maybe it is the medium that he dislikes. Have you thought about allowing him to create audio posts or even video posts? Some kids simply don't like to write.

Suzy Brooks said...

((Hugs)) It's hard to battle Boring, because it's often a label for something else kids just can't figure out how to name.

Try some new tools, like Wallwisher. Perhaps he can become the WallWishing expert - then post the walls on your blog..

I gave my own children their own pages ("corners") on my blog to interact with my students. Some of my most reluctant writers love to write to them! I'm trying to get Mr. Brooks to create his own page.

We have a blog article center in the room - but the kids write in pairs, on paper. They seem to be more motivated that way. I then transfer it to the computer.

You can visit our 3rd grade blog here: http://blogs.falmouth.k12.ma.us/simplysuzy/

Good luck, don't give up, and don't take it personally!!!

Suzy

Beverly said...

I would suggest trying to build up your "personal relationship" with the child, build respect to show that you care about them as a person. Share a personal story about your schooling. I have found this to be very worth the while. Although I try to do this for all of my students, some of the neediest students are also in need of a respectful relationship before they "buy in" to your ideas.

My other piece of advice is to blog with him for awhile. He writes what he wants to say, and you blog it for him...alleviating some of the 'work'. Or, have a parent volunteer assist.

I am new to blogging, so I don't have the answers! Hope it helps! Looking forward to the next report!

Marisa said...

If I were you, I'd organise a class to find out about his interests and tastes and think of a task to make him participate. Perhaps a poster competition or a song contest. There must be something he's particularly interested in. If it's sports, perhaps an activity connected to his favourite sportsman/sportswoman; if it's music, his favourite band.
I hope I've been helpful.
Regards from Argentina,
Marisa

whatedsaid said...

Interesting post and you've got me thinking...

You may have inspired a wholc blogpost. (soon)

Bill Genereux said...

Are you doing the international blogging challenge?

http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/

If a person is just writing blog posts, they are only doing part of "blogging." The other part is participating on the blogs of others who have similar interests.

Have a look at the list of student bloggers and see if he can't find someone with similar interests but from another part of the world. A few comments and questions placed on other blogs might well attract attention to his blog as well.

By the way, 4th grade is one year later than when I decided school wasn't for me. For me, 10 of 13 school years were pretty miserable. I think a lot of it had to do with a lack of any opportunity for self-direction. Schools are really big on telling kids what to do, and when and how to do it. I realize that's a necessary part of the institution of school, but for a bright kid who knows how to think, it can be frustrating to never have any choices.

I think one of the best things you can do is relationship building by using the "One Sentence Intervention" as explained in "Teaching with Love and Logic" by Fay & Funk. If you don't have access to that book, a brief description is found here. It sounds silly, but it's really worth a try because the main thing it does is show the student you care.

rcantrell said...

Pernille, Solving this problem may be the beginning of a new book for all of us in education. I gave your situation some thought and then headed to the comment section. Well, you have six comments so far they completely cover what I had to suggest. I will say, I hate writing and understand where this student is coming from. Why am I blogging? In reality I am a king size lurker. I love the people I follow. I have a passion for kids and learning. I can feel the love you have for your students in your writing and know you will continue trying to reach this student. Focus on positive aspects of your relationship with the student. Love him unconditionally and try to find a medium he may use to express himself. (maybe an art form) Above all make sure you read the new post that is presently forming in Edna Sackson's mind. Thank you for touching the lives of some many children and educators around the globe!

Rebecca and Donna said...

I think I would apply Love and Logic in this situation, too. Kids say things are boring for different reasons and I think it is best not to focus too much on it. Instead, express empathy, "writing on the blog bores you" , build your relationship for the next couple of weeks by noticing what he is interested in and commenting on it. (in Love and Logic) I would try not to get invested in this emotionally or take it personally. I don't think I'd have him do something else because he sounds like he needs to build his stamina for writing and doing things that don't give him instant gratification. As you said, he will experience that positive feeling from it once people start commenting. Things take time. It may take the whole year before he begins to trust school but if you can help change that attitude this year, wow.

Wayne said...

This reminds me of post about child who complained about having to go to bed. The mother had the boy create an animation reenacting the conversation letting him make his complaints in that way via xtranormal.com ( all sorts of animation editing and voicing simply by typing things out) . So as Wm said..its the medium.

Henrietta Miller said...

I agree with everything everyone else has said. Blogging works best when you are passionate about something. Perhaps he doesn't yet have a passion? But maybe he is hooked on football or some other sport and he could just write little posts and put up pictures of his favourite sports stars? Or have you explored The Blogger's Cafe yet?
http://thebloggerscafe.edublogs.net

Atticus Parker said...

It pains me to write this but not everyone is a writer. There are actually people out there that don't like to read either. Can you imagine that?

Sometimes I don't think a love of reading can be taught to everyone. The essentials of literacy aside some people don't get 'it' and never will. Like I said earlier this pains me. I want everyone to get the rewards I get from the two activities I love to do in my downtime.

Perhaps it is just human nature to some to want to 'do' instead of to write about it. It is hard for we readers and writers to comprehend but I think the thought of reading and writing to some people will always be foreign.

My comment has nothing constructive to offer though does it? The idea of the Wallwisher sounds good as does audio posting. Is he a social child? Perhaps he can interview others?

Nice blog you have here by the way. I came here via a tweet by @whatedsaid

Pam Thompson said...

I understand completely where you're coming from, especially when you thought he was engaged in the blogging. It is a bit of a dilemma as, of course, you want him to work on his writing,but you also want him to be successful and engage in what he's doing.

Maybe he could create a voki or a photostory about something he is passionate about and once he starts getting comments from others that may encourage him to reply to his commentors.

Just a thought. Good luck and let us know how it pans out. If you do get him blogging be sure to use #comments4kids and we'll respond to the call! :-)

Mrs Ripp aka 4thGrdTeach said...

Wow, I am overwhelmed and so incredibly thankful for all of these comments. Some suggestions I am already working on such as building a strong, trusting relationship with this student and investing in his interests, and others I will be actively pursuing(trying other mediums and connecting him to other bloggers).
I definitely never take students like this personal because I know it is not an attack against me, in fact some thing @RTweiss tweeted yesterday struck a chord with me "s: If you are struggling to keep your students "on-task", it's probably time to rethink the task."

So I am indeed rethinking the task and making blogging less of a central place for this student at the moment, and instead really focusing on building up his self-esteem and the relationship with him. I do not want to force blogging on him so that he ends up hating it.

What a great discussion that was started here, please keep commenting, I am pretty sure another post is brewing over this as well. Thank you as always.

 

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