I received a Tweet this morning that had a link to “The Blogger’s Cafe”. This is a site that has been set up with the express intention of developing connections across the planet between primary/middle school bloggers.
On the home page there was a number of world clocks which, at the time of typing this was set at: 2:47 a.m. in Sydney, Australia, 9:47 a.m. in Los Angeles, California, 2:17 a.m. in Adelaide, Australia, 11:47 a.m. in White Oak and 4:47 a.m. in Ottawa,Canada.. it was 5:47 p.m. here in the U.K. where I live.
This is what I read on the Home Page which explains the basis of the “Cafe” idea:
Welcome to The Blogger’s Cafe. If you are a teacher of blogging students, then this is the place for you. We hope this will become a place where your primary or junior school students can connect, collaborate and network with students from around the globe.
This is how The Blogger’s Cafe will work in my classroom. I will open for business one lunch time a week. For my students this will be a treat, as I will allow them to eat lunch inside, while they start up and log onto their student blogs. The catch though, is that in return for giving them this extra time for student blogging I will expect them to complete a mini challenge.
Ideas for challenges include the following:
- Choose a class blog from the blogroll that you have not visited before, then navigate to a student blog. Read a student’s post and write a detailed comment in reply.
- Visit a blog from America, find a student whose name begins with A or S. Read a post written by that student and write a detailed reply.
- Choose a class blog from another country. Send that class a message asking them three questions about life in their country.
As can be seen from the above, these students have the opportunity to read other children’s blogs, to send them comments on what they have read and to work out some questions (3 of them) to ask their fellow blogger from abroad about their way of life.
To me these activities will increase student awareness of another country and culture. It will creat opportunities for children to gain friendships worldwide. It will give the students valuable experience of writing for an audience, reading for meaning and framing questions to elicit information.
I feel that these are all factors that can be used in the case for the defence of blogging as an important aid in developing children’s literacy skills as well as developing their international awareness as citizens of our global village in the 21st century.
The Cafe can be reached at: http://thebloggerscafe.edublogs.org/ do give it a look at and, if you are a teacher with a class of junior(elementary) or middle school students, why not join the cafe and add to your students awareness of the world and improve their literacy at the same time.