Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Enlisting Student Moderators for Classroom Blog Posts

What a beautiful sight this was today in our school library! A team of 4th and 5th grade student volunteers, who have been working as mentors in our enhanced eBook project, are now helping moderate both comments and student posts on the 22 classroom blogs we have at our school.

Kidblog student moderators by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Wesley Fryer 

I wish we had enlisted the help of students to do this at the start of the year! Basically, students are checking to make sure there is not any profanity, bullying, or other inappropriate text in the comments or posts. If they have a question about whether a comment or post is appropriate, I’m right there to discuss it with them and make a decision to approve or delete the entry.

Due to schedules and priorities, we haven’t ever provided face-to-face training / guidance to all our classroom teachers this year on how to use and moderate KidBlog posts and comments. As a result, it’s been very overwhelming for me to deal with the quantity of posts and comments students have created on these blogs. I setup the KidBlogs for all 22 classes at our school at the start of the year, which I’ve used in my STEM classes. Our librarian, who I’ve been collaborating with on our eBook project, has also worked with all our classes and taught students how to both post appropriate comments as well as posts. By using these class KidBlogs, students have:

  1. Learned more about interactive writing
  2. Practiced good digital citizenship
  3. Shown what they have created and learned in STEM class to their peers and families
  4. Started to document their learning in a digital portfolio

Next year I hope we’ll be able to provide not only more instructional opportunities for our teachers to learn how to use and moderate their classroom KidBlogs, but also time when students can assist like this in the comment and post moderation process.

Ideally, it’s best if individual classroom teachers take the lead and an active role in managing their classroom blog. As far as I know, however, only 3 of our 22 classroom teachers this year are doing that. This isn’t entirely because other teachers don’t want to do it… we simply haven’t had time / made time to get together and provide the coaching and training needed to help teachers get comfortable with these procedures. Our professional development focus as a school when it comes to technology has been on using Mastery Connect rather than focusing on technology integration options like interactive writing.

I’m thrilled to have student help with our KidBlog content and the approval process! I’ll likely write more about this later, but the fact that our students can be empowered to write posts like this advocating for peers and for positive change in our school is HUGE. If we receive the OU K-20 Center (OETT) grant next year we’ve applied for, we’ll have a much larger schoolwide focus on interactive writing. I hope even more students are empowered, as a result, to discover and share their voices with our school community.

Words matter. Every classroom needs a moderated, interactive space to share ideas and media!

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