Hi -intro slightly long - but there is an important question at the end...

I am not a teacher or an educator nor have I any experience in Psychology. I am a professional communications strategist working with Hi-Tech companies and using my knowledge and skill to help my kids' school.
Recently I became aware of a severe problem of violence with 2 students who go to the 3rd year, they are about 9 years old. Aparently they are terrorising the class to the point kids are afraid to go to school. However, there are not many choices the way the education system is built here, in Israel. So the school has been trying various ways of working with the problematic kids and at the same time working with the whole class.
After establishing the school's web site I have gained an open communications channel with the school's staff. Last week I made a suggestion to the school's counselor to try and create a class blog and work on it with the kids. I explained that my approach is totally communications driven. I think that it can help open communications channels. I might even consider opening a paralel network for the parents. And I believe the open communications can be theraputic. I told her that I want to teach the class some basics about web communications and then give them access to a closed blogging environment, where they get to express their feelings, but will have to do it in an acceptable way. I also thought that we can measure page hits or votes and get to see what do class mates like and what they don't like to read. I think it can teach kids new ways of communications. I also pointed out that this is one big carrot, if we are using a "carrot and stick" method. So it's a privilege and not a right.
I was wondering if education professionals here would like to help me think about this - tell me if you had similar experiences or any ideas you think can help develop the blogging as a theraputic tool.
thanks
Or-Tal

Tags: 3rd, blog, communications, grade, school, therpy, violence

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I don't think it is worth the risk, it's hard enough to counsel kids face 2 face. I think it is too hard to judge a person's words without seeing their face. Kids may say things everyone regrets--- I've found blogs to be great for communicating ideas and opinions but we generally stay out of the affective realm. Good luck, N. .
So, you don't think that venting, and directing it to creative writing, and into a moderated blog could help?
I would use a forum for exchange of opinions or ideas. But a blog, in my perception, is more literate by nature. More creative, artistic. I am also looking for a place "by the kids for the kids"...
Hi Or-tal,
I have never heard or thought of it, but I LOVED the idea. Well done! What did the counselor say? Did she agree? I'd be happy to read if it met the expectation. Good Luck
Ziva.
She was intrigued and say she wants to consider it and also consult colleagues.
Hi Or-Tal, I think this is an interesting idea if clearly set up and strictly monitored.

Coming from a different reason base - I used a discussion board with my adult English Learners who are refugees and immigrants. I used topics like, 'When I'm happy I...., 'If I feel sad, I...'. The topics really generated a lot of discussion with students finding others who had faced similar problems (making connections), and offering support to others. They were also exposed to a range of strategies that students used when facing difficulties. As a teacher, I found that there was a wealth of knowledge in the classroom in respect to dealing with problems.

We used pseudonyms so they could be more open if they wished to. I monitored closely and spoke to students when I was concerned about what they wrote.

I think what's key is how you set up, involving the students in the process, clear guidelines and monitoring. Best of luck.
Great idea!
I'll definately go for it. thanks.
Did this project come to pass? Would love to know how it turned out.
we entered the summer vacation before anything could take form.
I am not going to abandon this idea. will probably go for it again next year.
The act of writing from the heart is VERY theraputic. (Speaking from experience.) The process of writing, rereading, editing, revising, and finally approving the final words (when typing on a blog or a comment such as this) brings clarity of thought. This process would help the students come to a better understanding of what is really going on in the situation and develop a keener sense of the other side of the story IF MODERATED correctly. Good luck!
thanks, Michelle. So my instincts told me.
You did stress moderated correctly, and I assume this is the key. On one hand, we need to keep the kids respectful and unoffensive. On the other hand, we want to allow kids to express their feelings and let the steam out... Some people are doubtful that this can serve as a tool for violent kids or for kids who have ADHD. So I expand the blog definition to other inputs like - drawing - another art expression, or online games - which is totally different, they are not a creation of the child, but a child can share his liking or experience or link to a game that makes him feel good - and this is also a form of expressing one's feelings. I know the kids in question and their problems and I believe it might be violent games where you need to kill aliens of some sort, but still, I'd rather they spend the violent feelings on aliens... no?

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