A Young Writing Community
Students were courageous in putting their writing on the wiki page. Everyone at camp, including parents could read what was written. The blog included all students, there was no exclusion and everyone was included. A writing community and culture was built, established and trusted. The author knew the audience was authentic. The audience cared about the author’s writing and commented accordingly. The community allowed students to write safely, and to try.
The blog became a place to share.
Many students had probably never been a part of a writing community, and now they are. They had a place to showcase their work, and they were able to be who they are without constraints. The older student had a hard time being without writing boundaries. Some asked, “What do I write about now?” They had been super imposed with years of educational writing – persuasive, literary analysis, expository, etc. leaving them initially stiff in their writing.
For sixth grader Jake, he was able to break free and to find his voice. He was able to freely explore on his terms. He wrote about subjects that are dear to his heart.
Did the sense of belonging and acceptance trigger the students to write more. We believe the students felt connected with one another and writing was the common ground. Writing was the vehicle uniting the youngest to the oldest student together, and technology was the ignition/gas that carried them forward.