No, never fear, I am not starting another blog. At least, not one for me, and not one that you will ever read. Today I worked on the Newnan Crossing 100 Book Club blog. We’ve been trying to get it up and running since October, and on Monday I decided that it was time to implement it whether it was exactly in the shape I wanted it or not. After all, it was ready for me to put students in as users, and they would each have their own blog.
I had originally wanted to use the multi-user version of WordPress, called WordPress MU, but apparently there were installation issues. (All the tech end of this is being handled by the school system’s IT people, specifically Mike. He’s been great.) So we switched to Drupal, with which I have been unfamiliar.
WordPress is a dedicated blogging software package. Drupal is a “content management system,” whatever that means. All I know is that it has a lot more buttons to push and boxes to check to make it do what you want it to do, and sometimes those boxes and buttons are distributed in non-intuitive ways.
Anyway, I got all the kids put in, with nifty passwords that look random but actually are rememberable for the kid. I got it to look like a nice place to be. And we’re ready to start training the 8-10 year-olds how to blog.
The idea is that they read a book from a preselected list of award-winners or starred reviews, then blog about their reading. I’ve trained them (although I have no doubt that training was shallow and noneffective in 80% of them) not to write about the book, but about their reading.
After they post, then I and the other Book Club members can comment on it. Lo, a conversation about reading occurs. Children, these are advanced readers, who otherwise would be zooming through “short books” and racking up AR™ points just to rack up AR™ points are now thinking about what they’re reading. They’re making predictions. They’re discussing an author’s use of language. They’re deciding what makes a book good. And they’re learning, most importantly, to write.
If this works, I shall be called blessed.