For the last few days I have had loads of blogging ideas bouncing around in my head but not enough time to get down to writing – until this evening. After I settled my two youngest boys, I mentally rubbed my hands in anticipation of translating my rambling thoughts into words. . .
Mummy, can I start on my blog now?
In a split second my thunder (and my laptop) were hijacked by my eight year old and his rabbit friend, Alex.
Inspired by Kate DiCamillo’s book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, the stuffed bunny is being looked after for one week by each child in his year three class, sharing their activities, clubs, family outings etc. This week it is my son’s turn to blog the rabbit’s adventures in the Class Space on the academic platform ‘Merlin’.
My son is an intelligent boy, but his progress is restricted in certain areas by his poor handwriting. He is good at Maths and tackles his homework competently and often quite enthusiastically. He is technologically ‘gifted’ and is rapidly taking over as the person to turn to if a video game, TV or DVD is not behaving properly. He reads beautifully, records lovely stories on his MP3 player and he presented to camera in his Portishead Railway video like a little pro.
BUT ask him to complete an assignment involving more lengthy handwriting and he becomes the master of excuses and procrastination.
Initially I thought untidy writing was a normal ‘boy trait’, especially as other mothers complained of similarly untidy writing, but as time went on and the writing styles of his peers and younger brother began to improve and become more fluid, I began to worry how his resistance to writing might adversely affect his educational progress.
Enter the blog
This evening I watched him enter text into a blog, including writing about our family barbecue. The neatly typed text allowed us to review and discuss any problems with what he had written, such as letter spacing, punctuation (or lack of) and whether letters should be small or capital. His typing is a bit two fingered but we have been working on that recently using the free, child-friendly BBC Dancemat typing programme.
He went on to independently draw a picture with the inbuilt paint package.
Finally I showed him how to download photographs and locate them on the computer. He then inserted them into his blogpost along with suitable captions.
He wanted to write more, but I had to stop him because it was bedtime.
He is competent on a computer. He is confident using a keyboard. It wasn’t until tonight that I fully realised the potentially huge benefit of combining his technological capability with his creative ideas, which until now have come to a bit of a standstill, just out of reach of his text book.
Today I feel hopeful that technology and the typed word could play a useful part in my son’s academic development. I am grateful to his teacher for setting this interesting and forward thinking home learning project.
And OK, begrudging credit goes to the laptop hijacking rabbit too. You know who you are!