You can find The First Step Blog here: https://candicenarvaez.wordpress.com/2021/03/17/how-to-zig-zag-on-a-skateboard-by-aria/
Like most kids, my nine year old loves stories. He loves to tell stories to his friends when he’s building a home in Minecraft or while building a fort. Like many nine year olds, he has a constant dialogue going. He loves listening to stories read by adults, other kids, on audible or other devices. He loves reading independently and he will beg to stay up late just to read. Yet, none of this translated into a desire to write. Not only was there little desire, there was flat out resistance and refusal to even consider writing down his stories.
For a long time, my son seemed to think crayons were for throwing. As I wrote about in a previous post, creating a blog changed his relationship with writing. It changed all of the kid’s that I work with feelings about writing. Having a blog, a voice in the world is empowering, especially during a time when staying connected can be a Herculean task.
I ran the idea of creating a blog “by kids and for kids” with my son and a few kids I’m working with and they ran with it. Then, I told them that if they wanted something on the blog they would also have to write out all of the instructions and magically there was agreement. The kids were excited.
The kids worked like anyone starting a blog. They needed to generate ideas and content, they needed to start thinking about such as, “Does the photo or pics match the text? Can you give that step with a clearer voice?” and the kids learned to think about formatting and editing. These kids who aren’t yet two digits were actively joining the world as writers, creators and collaborators.
As only kids can, the kid’s ideas for the blog came quickly and there was an endless list. Learning to focus on a single idea and focus in on the language needed to teach another kid something is enormous. The kids never complained about the many times, I asked them to break something down into smaller, more specific steps for a how-to lesson. When I had asked the kids to work on the same type of writing without the purpose the blog provides I would be met with groans and whines. The kids chose their topics for their target audience in a way adults never could. There are posts on how to zig zag on a skateboard, perfecting your cartwheel and how to do the coffee grinder. These 9 and 10 year olds really know the interests and hearts of their fellow kids since adults no longer hold that all access pass.
Collaboration happened quickly and naturally. The kids wanted to discuss what they were doing with their friends and they welcomed feedback. Soon, the kids began to ask me questions about what was most popular on the blog to help them gauge what direction to go in and to think about their audience. They were thinking like writers, creators and entrepreneurs. Walks in the woods became opportunities to find new places to blog about and to connect what they were doing in their everyday lives to the world around them. They decided, independent of me, to start a comic book making club and a running club! We started looking at other kid reporters in places like Time for Kids and getting inspired by other kid scientists, artists and explorers. They have started to generate ideas about fundraising for a cause that they believe in. They want to use the blog as a vehicle to help that cause. I’m excited to see the kids engaged with creating and writing. I’m excited to see how this project continues to evolve and how the kids evolve along with it. I will keep you posted on how this goes and any fundraising for charity that decide to go with.
I hope you enjoy the kid’s blog but more importantly, I hope your kids do.