Yesterday I was searching for a one word topic for today’s DigiLit posts, and Kimberley suggested “safe.” At first I was thinking about digital literacy safety as in how we teach our students to be digital citizens. But there are lots of resources already out there for that, rules to share with your kids like using a pseudonym or only their first name. Digital citizenship is important. We must teach it so that our students can work safely on the internet.
However, my gut is telling me that safety in the classroom is a bigger issue. How do we create an atmosphere in which our students not only learn, but they also thrive, in which they find a soft, safe place to land?
A growing, active classroom library: Two of my students have taken on the role of librarian. They have sorted and arranged the book shelves. They have claimed ownership. My students share books. They talk about books.
Soft pillows and blankets: I realized the significance this year when I brought in pillows, a blanket, and a kid-made quilt. My students curl up with these comfy things during reading time. Even the 5th grade boys love the feel of a soft blanket when they are reading.
Personalized notebooks: At the beginning of the year, the marbleized notebooks are covered. My students decorate their own and claim these notebooks. I do not grade these or even read them. Their journals are their own. A friend recently donated tiny notebooks to my class, so we decorated these for capturing Slice of Life moments.
A classroom blog with a special name: Our kidblog site is Mrs. Simon’s Sea. The site is kid-friendly and inviting. My students have learned how to navigate it, and they interact with their written words as much as their spoken ones. Blogging (Writing) is valued, honored, and shared.
Kindness: I insist on the practice of kindness. Probably the one thing that makes me angrier than anything is when one student is unkind to another. I also have to watch my own tone and words to make sure they are kind. Kindness leads to respect and when students feel respected, they can do amazing things.
This post strayed somewhat from digital literacy, but in truth, the beliefs of a classroom contribute to the success of digital literacies. I welcome your additions to this conversation. Please leave a link.