Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shared Stories

Day 14 of 31 at Two Writing Teachers!
"We read to know that we are not alone." -- William Nicholson

This is one of my favorite quotations about reading, but I believe it also applies to writing, or at least to published writing like blogging.  We WRITE to know that we are not alone, to connect to our audience with the hope of stirring something deep inside them that connects to us or learns from us or is inspired by us.

Throughout the classroom challenge, and especially over the past few days, my students have begun to experience exactly what I'd hoped they would: what it's like to write for a REAL audience, and what it's like to connect to others through writing.

Last night, one of Jaana's students wrote this incredibly thoughtful comment to my Iraqi student's amazing post about her home country:

This morning, I woke up to a comment on our classroom blog from New Zealand!  The students thought it was SO cool to have a comment from a class that far away! Moreover, it brought up a personal connection for me; I've had a pen pal from New Zealand for the past 20 years.  (I was so excited to write back to that class and share that with them!)

After testing today, I got back on our classroom blog to an astonishing sight: 126 new comments waiting for me to approve them!  Let me guess, some kids got impatient with the slow school Internet and pushed "submit comment" 20 times each...  But no!  My heart raced as my eyes skimmed page after page of comments: real comments from Lee Ann's students!
connecting about tough friendship issues
reflecting about true love
learning about my students' countriescultures, and religions

"I have 24 comments on my post about Iraq!" shrieked the Iraqi student when she got on the blog. "I know, isn't that awesome?"  I grinned at her.  "That's because it was such an interesting and well-written post!"

Not only are my students thriving on the excitement of connecting with readers, they are also learning important lessons about writing for an audience!
Proof that a catchy title is important!
Readers outside Ohio don't know our acronyms!  Students are learning to clarify their explanations by keeping the potential (wider!) audience in mind.  

So much learning, such powerful connections!  Just what I had dreamed of!


  1. Its so neat how writing and communication are so powerful and important!

  2. I'm so glad your kids are getting the comments and that is spurring them to write deeper. I think your delight is contagious.

  3. Amazing. I need to get my students blogging more and get these connections going

    1. You and your students would love it, Deb! I know you would be just the perfect person to show your students the delights of blogging! :-)

  4. Such great news-I'd loved to have seen their faces, Jennifer. What a gift you've given!


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