One of the best ways of getting children engaged with blogging, and, by extension, writing, is to use the visit of someone important to school as a focus for blogging.
Here are a few examples among Creative Bloggers:
John Hegley visiting Chorlton Park
Here, a small group of children collaborated to compile some interview questions which we then recorded with John. A slideshow was also compiled and the results posted on the blog. This visit is being used to stimulate reading and poetry writing at school.
Alan Gibbons at Sudley Junior
Children’s Blue Peter Prize winning author (and Creative Blogger), Alan Gibbons, is a regular visitor to Sudley Junior in Liverpool and this year’s blog about the visit contains interviews with the author recorded and edited with the children. perhaps of more interest is the 2007 visit in which Alan used the blog to do shared writing sessions with the children.
Another visitor to Sudley was beat poet Levi Tafari who did a shared poetry writing session with the class which was then performed and recorded by the children – the blog seems to be archived at the moment, I will see if Sudley can let me have a copy of the recording, as it was a real gem.
A further lost gem was the session held at Sale Harriers Study Centre in which children compiled questions on their blog site prior to the visit of Olympic sprinter, Darren Campbell. After the session in class Darren went home and personally answered all the children’s questions via a comment on the centre blog.
The best thing about such a session is that, when planned in advance, it enables you to capture a little of the magical learning that happens when an important or inspirational visitor comes to school. here are a few tips:
- Recording an interview is nearly always a good thing and is rarely refused, especially if it’s the children running the show;
- Always have a digital camera and voice recorder at the ready to capture those special moments;
- Video can also be useful, but is much less spontaneous and some visitors will feel much less comfortable about its use;
- Always ask permission in advance of the visit for whatever you want to record;
- Some visitors will be much more flexible than others, for example, Alan Gibbons had never used a blog before, but was happy to give it a go last year – now he’s a convert!
- Always ask the visitor if they mind visiting the blog afterwards to leave a comment – again, rarely refused.
There are so many opportunities in primary school that lend themselves to using blogs to record special events in this way – trips out, school performances, visiting experts etc and they can provide a real and lasting stimulus for writing and discussion if captured. What opportunities have you missed in the last year…?