1. Audience: After the posts are approved by me they are automatically out there for an audience to choose to read. My students are able to choose which classmate's blog they want to read and comment on. I don't force them to comment on any specific person other than during our interactive literature circles.
2. Paperless: We have a class set of NetBooks and are working on going somewhat paperless.
3. Global Connections: In grade 3 we study different countries so blogging allows us to connect with classes around the world.
4. Reluctant Writers Love Blogging: I don't really know why but my reluctant writers seem to enjoy writing if they can blog and will choose it in Daily 5 for that reason. I hadn't explored the why of this until the other day when I was questioned on Twitter about why I think it transforms some of my students into less reluctant writers. I really didn't have much of answer other than my guess that it was that they find it easier to to type out due to issues with fine motor skills.
After being asked about it, I decided to go investigate it the next day. We had Daily 5 in the morning so it was the perfect time to go and inquire. During Daily 5 I got down on the mat with one of my reluctant pencil and paper writers who loves blogging and picks writing often during Daily 5 and blogs. This time he was actually writing in his notebook but, that wasn't by choice. Our Internet wasn't working so he had to write in his notebook. I laid down on the floor and started recording his answers to why he liked to blog. I teach grade 3 so they aren't always able to explain why they prefer one method of writing or learning over another so with some questioning I was able to reach some sort of an explanation. He prefers it because he doesn't have to worry about being neat as he doesn't have the greatest fine motor skills. Blogging allows him to express his thoughts in a more comfortable manner. My understanding is that it is easier for him to type than print as he doesn't have to focus on the organization part. Then I moved onto another student who isn't a reluctant writer in the sense that he won't write but, that he won't write as much as he is capable of. His view was similar to the other student. He informed me that he finds it harder to write on paper because he has to worry about how the letters should appear and where they should go and he spends too much time doing this. When he blogs the letters are there on the keyboard and he doesn't have to worry about perfectly placing them in the right spot. He feels like he can get his words out faster when blogging and is worry free. I can definitely see this considering that within twenty minutes he blogged two well written blogs on his mother's iPhone while at the airport.
After the interesting discoveries I planned on investigating with some other students the next day but, we got locked in our room for the second time that week so the students were a bit off for the rest of the day. I do plan on going back and investigating this week. I want to see if I get similar responses or some different ones. I'll be sure to share any new responses.