Aside from the kindness of Twitter friends and family, as well as strangers with whom I had never had contact, one of the coolest things about my students’ first blogging experience was that people in my school also took the time to comment. Within 24 hours of posting our simple first words, seven members of my school’s staff left encouragement for my kids.
The day after our first post, three colleagues asked me at a meeting, “Did you see I left a comment?” I told them I did, and the kids were thrilled by it.
It is truly amazing to see comments come in from around the world. However, it is a different kind of amazing to see colleagues getting excited for my students. It makes the kids feel like they are part of something bigger than our class (which they are) and really gives them the feeling that they matter. (I and my paras promote this message with some effect, but the more who are on board, the better).
Our guidance counselor wrote this:
Hello there, class! Wonderful job on your first blog…I must come by tomorrow and tell you, in person, how proud I am of all of you 🙂 Keep reading, and most of all, keep writing!
Well, she did come by, and the kids were just pleased as punch. Because the guidance counselor showed a genuine interest in what they did, she began sowing the seeds of a fruitful relationship for the year and showed them with no ambiguity how much they matter.
A colleague posted this:
Congratulations Mr. Ray’s class! Maybe you all can teach my second graders how to blog since you’re doing such a great job~ … I know you’re learning so much because you have an AWESOME teacher! Looking forward to reading more posts from you all!
Her enthusiasm was jumping off the screen. Yesterday, we passed this teacher in the halls and she said, ‘Wow! Is this Mr. Ray’s class, the BLOGGERS?” They walked with a bit more pep in their step after being recognized.
Our ESL teacher, who the kids adore, wrote a sweet comment and linked it to what we worked on in school that day:
Hello my friends in Mr. Ray’s class. I am so happy to be working with all of you this year. I am looking forward to a year full of fun and exciting times together. I’ll see you on Wednesday and remember the long A says it’s name “Aaaaaaaaaaa”!
She couldn’t help asking me at 7:50 the next morning if I saw that she left a comment. Naturally, the kids nearly fell apart when they saw her name in the comments section.
A hat tip, too, to our principal, who as the leader of one of the largest schools in the country, is ever busy, but managed to take the time to leave her own words, too:
I am so excited that this year you will be writing comments on your class blog! I am looking forward to reading about what you are doing and learning. Keep on writing 🙂
She actually made her comment when the kids were at lunch. I almost ran down there to show them! When I picked them up, I told them a famous person left a comment. Justin Bieber? Selena Gomez? “Not even Demi Lovato or Barack Obama,” I said. It was our principal, and they were again, over the moon, to discover that important people in the school cared about them.
Though I am not even a week into blogging with students, I already have a crucial piece of advice. Yes, you will easily discover the power of #comments4kids. But don’t underestimate the power of your school community. I shared the blog on Facebook (which brought several comments) and also e-mailed it to administrators.
People in your school should know about the great things your students are doing. Some won’t give it a second thought, but some will. It might in turn inspire them to blog with their kids, or encourage them to pop in one day just to say “You guys are awesome.”
Don’t be afraid to promote your kids!