As you may (or may not) know, I am a high school media specialist. That is, to those of my generation, a librarian. But we do a whole bunch of technology related hullabaloo, so the name is now media specialist. I am still good with librarian, but strangely enough I find it almost impossible to quickly type that word. 🙂
I have been an educator for 23 years. I have taught 7th grade English, 9-12 intro to technology, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade career exploration, and 9-12 social studies. I must say that I do love teaching. I know it sounds corny, but I love seeing kids have that “Aha!” moment.
I also LOVE reading, so when I decided to go back to school, I thought that Library and Information Sciences seemed to be right up my alley. And boy was I right!
One of the biggest fears that I had in leaving the classroom was that I would no longer have those “Aha!” moment that allow you to bond with students and the student/teacher relationships that you build that carry past graduation. Having students e-mailing you and finding you on Facebook years later to tell you where they are now and what they are doing. I found that I still have that with students, there are just different “Aha” situations.
As a media specialist in a high school, I teach a library science course. The students take this as an elective and there are prerequisites to the course. Basically, students have to like to read. Or at least be willing to accept that they are going to read while in the class. They also have to be willing to write and they need to have a pretty good writing background. Not such a stretch, as most readers are or can be pretty good writers.
The students in the class each have an area of shelving that they are responsible for each month. For example, one student has the fiction “K” section, another has the 700’s section. They keep this section for a month. During that month, they have to read a book from that area. Then they have to write a review.
Hence the title…”Blogging with teens.” Their review of the book has to be a blog post. This terrifies some, and intrigues others. They also have to do a bi-weekly post on any topic that interests them that is also relevant to school/students/teens.
At first, they have NO idea where to begin. So I send them out to read other blogs. I ask them to read 5 – 10 different blogs before they even think about what they may want to write about. Some have done that. Others have not. And those who are “have-nots” become very quickly evident.
I also give them all the information they need to do a very basic blog post. The first thing they are required to do is mark the post private so that I can check it for copyright, grammar, validity and relevance. Not to mention “readability” and interest.
I also teach them about adding media, hyperlinks, bold, italics, etc. Then off they go. There are parameters for images used. They get extra points for using their own image, because I don’t have to check copyright on those. They are also given a list of copyright free image sites to use in case they do not use their own.
I also have a Pinterest board called Blogging with Teens that I suggest they visit and read the articles/blog posts there. This one freaks out some of the guys, so they are allowed to ask someone in the class for access so they don’t have to create their own account. NO IDEA WHY! There are awesome guy things on Pinterest!
The “Aha!” moment? This year I had a student return to let me know that in a college course, his class had to create a blog for their assignments. Because he was in this class last year he already had one. And since he was the only one in class who knew what to do, he had instant friends! And his professor was impressed, as well.
Another student came to me the other day (she’s a 2nd year LS student) and asked if I thought she had what it takes to ride off into the sunset during her college summer breaks and blog. My response? Absolutely! And I meant it! She is one of those who just “gets it.” She gets that blogging is sort of like talking to a friend. Only you haven’t met that friend face-to-face. If she decides to take this road (pun intended) I will be her #1 follower!
I LOVE teaching! I LOVE my job. It is the absolute best job ever!
In case you are interested, our blog is MediaMattersatWFHS.wordpress.com because Media does matter!
Some of the work of my students can be found through these image links:
Any suggestions for my students’ blog? Any suggestions for mine?
I’d love to hear your feedback.