Time to Let Go!

I've had a great week with my class this week, they have really shown me that live in a digital world. This is their space. I think I've known that for a while but I've held back because I wasn't sure if it was okay to let them loose and to be digital rather than pen and paper... what will the school community say? I'm I going to have to explain why it is so important for this change to happen in our classroom? What will other teachers say? is always in the back of my mind.

I've made one big mistake though, one of the children asked me if they could draft their work on the computer and I said no we're only planning our work then printing it out and drafting in our draft writing books so that you can edit in red pen and then conference with me on it. You should have seen the look of disappointment on his face. ARGH why did I say that! I guess it's because I have this preconceived idea that I need to check how they are editing their work and see what they are doing in their draft to be able to conference with them effectively.

Well I've been watching & listening to a few of the Shift Happens videos and ideas on the Shift Happens wikispace and I've changed my mind. If the children in my class are motivated by being able to draft and edit their work on the computer why not let them? I'll be changing their writing contract next week to ensure they are able to plan, draft and edit and publish using the computers if they wish to... the only problem is I know that almost all of my 29 students will want to do this so how do you cater for that when you only have 7 computers available?

I'm also aware that I have to assess their handwriting this term so they do need to be practicing that as well but how can I assess that if they are all doing their work on the computer? Is their still a place for handwriting? At the moment when I think about how many forms I've filled in during the last week that just had to be handwritten because they companies and people I was doing it for wouldn't accept a digital version I guess there still is a place for legible handwriting. However I don't think that teaching only handwriting is okay I think I'm going to have to be teaching some keyboard/typing what ever you want to call it skills as well. This is an area that lets quite a few children in my class down, they just don't get enough computer time at home to develop the speed they need to be able to operate at. So maybe I'll be added a keyboarding/typing activity as well.

Lots of things to think about. Would love to see your thoughts!


  1. Hi,

    This shows a good level of thought about what you are doing at the moment. I like your considerations about handwriting and one that I have had this year also. I don't teach handwriting, as I am in a job share. When I have a class again to teach handwriting I will be looking at doing handwriting sessions and then having the students on a rotation over the week so in 1 of the sessions they can type. It sounds like you are doing alot digitally so remember that your kids are getting typing practice here also!

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  2. Funny how quickly we go from what can we do to there's only x computers. I've taken my iBook (personal) and my daughters broken but then fixed and running ubuntu laptop into school. I'm going to use them for individual stuff or pair stuff - maybe the writing/editing.

    Maybe rotate and have pairs editing together - one pair a day (no rules that say everyone has to be writing/editing at the same time or even every week).

    I don't have the answers ... yet!


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