Monday, July 22, 2013

Three 4th Grade Blogging Exemplars from the 2012-13 School Year

I've been running this blog for two years now and I've really enjoyed writing for the many spambots that frequent my blog each day. Without you, it would only be me and possibly my one follower visiting.
You complete me.

But I marvel at the diversity of topics and quality of writing that my 4th graders blog about. I don't spend a lot of time creating structure for individual blogs in my class. I only really do three things:

1) I show them examples
The examples I showed last year included NeverSeconds, a great review site of student lunches and the evolution of a clever idea turned world wide phenomenon.
And also the edublog award nominees.

2) I remind them of their passions, and then let them write about whatever they want

3) I give time for them to share their writing with each other.

For this post I'd like to feature some of the different topics highlighted by individual posts that were created this year with those three simple rules. I'm only including three exemplars because having any more would stretch this post out too much. But other ideas and themes that were written about this year were: Travel stories and place reviews, Nepal highlights (the author felt there was too much negative publicity about Nepal and he wanted to show the good stuff), airplane simulator screen casts and plane reviews, book review podcasts, and video game reviews.

1) Poetry. A lot of kids chose to write poetry on their blog. I love that. I teach poetry as a year-long unit focusing on free verse, and it's so exciting to watch the kids evolve with their poetry in particular and their writing in general. I chose the post below because not only is it a heart breaking poem, but the author takes it a step further and declares her plans to turn the event into a Scratch project.*

My Poem, on Scratch
I made a poem called death. It goes like this:

I hear the doorbell.
The vet has come.
Sylvie lies on my bed, asleep.
as the vet comes in, I see determination in Sylvie's eyes, a fire, blazing with strength, but it is smouldered by agony.
I understand her pain.
She was taken from her mother when she was so young, and was put in a pet shelter. Nobody wanted her, and she was facing euthanasia, death, cruelty, injections; they were all looking at her hungrily, like a starving fox. She looked back at those evils, her small body rigid, her eyes cold.
but now, there is no escaping it.
her burning flame flickered out. A life lost.
As the vet left, emotionless and smug,I stared at his back. Anger burned inside me, a blazing fire, eating everything in it's path.
Except my grief.
If only there was another way. 
But that small body, the heartbeat of our house, now she is dead. We have lost everything that is valuable to us.

soon, this poem will be in the form of a scratch project.

2) Reviews There were all kinds of reviews in class this year. I'm featuring this fashion review because I liked that the author not only featured clothes she wore, but clothes from our host country (This photo in this post was modeled by the author's housekeeper). I also like that she had a rating system and different categories.

Today i'm going to share with you a black sari a typical nepali dress usually worn for special occasion's.
A sari is made out of a cloth wrapped around and wearing a small shirt under and if you have a black sari you would have a black shirt.I would recommend this outfit with red lip stick and a small hand bag.

Style Review:
being comfortable:5|10
Style O' Meter10|10
if you go to nepal you can buy saris in street shops. For shoes i would put in high heals.

3) Stories as Metaphors. We work on metaphors all year long, so it's exciting when an entire story is a metaphor. 

The Fake Battle

This post is about a disease I have. It's permanent. It's called Celiac disease. You can't have wheat or gluten. Gluten is the binder in wheat. It's what makes noodles noodles. Wheat is what grows in fields, those long stalks.  If I do have wheat/ gluten I'll get diarrhea, headaches, stomach pains, foot pains, and I sometimes throw up. It stinks. I can't have a lot of things.

This is about a fake battle between wheat and non-wheat food. It takes place in my stomach and what it does metaphorically.

They are prepared. Ready to fight. The fruitarians, dairyans, ice-creamease,meatanese and all of the villagers of Noglu city were ready for the attack. King Steakleg & Queen Cream of Noglu were sending troops to the border of the city. The city held a special top secret object called the Celia of Destiny. That was what the wheatarians wanted from them. If they steal the Celia the food world will fall and it wouldn't be a pretty sight. In the distance a thundering sound shook the walls of Noglu city. It was the deadly sandwich bomb! BOOM! The war began! It shattered glass of the buildings. A roaring stampede approached the city. The soldiers of Noglu charged at them riding there killer fish horses. Sharp bread-stick spears flew through the air. Celery swords clanged against each other. Wheatarians were winning every second, they killed so many. The general of the army of Noglu had no idea how they would do to win this war. King Steakleg and Queen Cream decided on something they never tried before and to only use only in extreme cases.The only thing they knew what to do was unleash the food they called bad boy. 

Bad Boy is the deadly gluten-free pizza. He can eat anything whatever is in his path.  The Wheatairians were absolutely terrified of bad boy even though they still were winning. Ketchup cannons fired with all their might as cupcakians threw their mighty carrot spears. Bad Boy was on the move and ready for any kind of weapons thrown at him. Smashing cookies leaving them just for crumbs. Grabbing bread soldiers and holding them in a tight grip while squeezing all the moisture out of the bread's bodys. A vicious wheat eater was the most best thing for the Noglutarians and they were winning every minute of the war. The Wheatarians were insanely jealous of the ginormous monster that the Noglutarians had summoned to destroy all the soldiers of Wheatania. One way or another they were going to get their chance of revenge. The wheatarians decided to unleash their monster. Bad Girl. A much more advanced piece of food than Bad Boy. Bad Girl was going to steal the Celia of Destiny.

(This story actually continues and is spanned over several blog posts)

*I don't know if the author ever made the poem into a Scratch project, but she was a prolific independent programmer. Here is one of her features:

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