Grade 1 Invites the World into Their Classroom

By Aaron Hovel and Jennifer Zacharis

This school year Grade 1 classes invited the world to participate in their classroom learning.  Each Pike first-grade student now has a blog where they share what they have learned in class, and their knowledge is available for parents, extended family and the world. This shared work allows students to learn about digital citizenship, build a digital portfolio and gain a real life audience for their work.  

There are many reasons why blogs are a great tool for student portfolios. Entries are IMG_2839e (1)posted with the most recent at the top making it easy for teachers, parents and students to see growth throughout the year. Comments allow parents and extended family to participate and take an active role in learning in the first grade. Using their classroom iPads, students also gain experience using many different tools to create their posts such as  Explain Everything, iMovie, and the Camera app to photograph or create a voice annotated explanation of their work.  Some examples of these types of posts can be seen below:

Another benefit of this initiative is the natural opportunity to weave digital citizenship into learning in a safe and age-appropriate way in conjunction with the Common Sense Media’s curriculum that Pike uses in all grades. Through blogging, 1st-grade students are introduced to the concept of a digital footprint and become familiar with what is appropriate to post online, what should be kept private and how to interact with others online.  While making all of these valuable connections, we do take measures to ensure privacy and safety for our young students by following two rules that we learned from Kathy Cassidy, a pioneer in student blogging in the primary grades:  

  • We may post a picture of a student and we may post a child’s first name, but we will never match the two.
  • Neither posts nor comments will get posted until the anchor teacher has seen and approved them.

JAIMEEK_PIKESCHOOL43To get a better sense of what each individual classroom blog looks like browse Mrs. O’Brien’s, Ms. Tobey’s or Ms. Jorden’s teacher blog.  You will find a link to each of the student’s blogs along the right side.  If you’re viewing on a mobile device you will need to scroll to the bottom to find links to the student blogs. If you visit, we invite you to comment (see comment guidelines below) on the students’ blogs and participate in this authentic global learning experience as part of their real life audience. Our students love the feedback, and you will see the extraordinary learning possibilities of our first-grade blogging community.  

Comment Guidelines

  1. Say something positive. What specifically did you like about the post? What made you smile?
  2. Make a connection.  What did it remind you of? Does it make you think of something you know or have done?  Something you saw in a book or on a video?  Understanding and making connections is a skill six and seven-year-olds are just beginning to learn.
  3. Ask a question. What do you wonder? What did the blogger not include that you wish had been in the post? Understanding the difference between something you tell and something you ask is difficult for most six-year-olds.  Including a question helps them to learn what a question is and how to think about someone’s ideas beyond their own.
  4. Re-read your comment. This is a vital skill for commenters of any age.
  5. Do not use last names that will refer back to students in the class.  Post as Billy’s Mom or Cindy’s Grandpa
  6. Do not post any personal contact info like phone numbers, email address, or home address.
  7. All Comments will be moderated by anchor teachers.

The Pike School is an independent, coed, day school for Pre-K through ninth grade in Andover, Massachusetts. Visit pikeschool.org to learn more about Pike – and visit our blog for more thought leadership.

2 Comments

on “Grade 1 Invites the World into Their Classroom
2 Comments on “Grade 1 Invites the World into Their Classroom
  1. This takes ongoing and high quality effort by teachers and students. Thanks to all involved for providing such an important opportunity for our students to become thoughtful and creative digital citizens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *