Six weeks ago five teachers in four states embarked on an extraordinary adventure with Ms. Jenaia and the CritterKin Mutts – The CritterKin Blog Swap! The idea was simple. Each class chose a chapter to read from the book, “Meet the Mutts” then shared “clues” with the other four classes. The idea was to tell the students who had not yet read the chapter enough about the story that they could ask questions and figure out what happened. Students who were not reading would read the clues and ask questions. We went in chronological order so that no one would be overwhelmed.
From the teaching point of view, it was a chance to practice all kinds of communications skills – reading, writing, analysis, logical thinking, etc. – but for the kids it was a chance to connect and talk with other kids from different parts of the country.
Today marks the conclusion of our grand experiment. Like all grand experiments, it had its hiccups and moments of confusion. Each class used its own blogging software, which meant we had to figure out log in information and posting protocol and we had to figure out the best way for kids to post clues without giving the story away. In the end, good old fashioned facts about the characters, plot and highlights of the stories seemed to work best. With that information in hand, the students who were asking questions could begin to unravel the mystery of what happened. Of course things were complicated by the fact that the stories are told from the perspective of dogs, so it wasn’t always easy to understand their thinking. However, I am proud to report that the kids, teachers, mutts and I all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. This is definitely something we would like and plan to try again with other CritterKin books.
It is also my pleasure to send each student who participated the CritterKin Kids Blog 4 Dogs digital ribbon you see above. I hope they will print and post them with pride because I am really proud of not only their hard work, but the amazing amount of insight and kindness the kids showed in their blog posts.
Way to Go Kiddos! You’re the BEST!