Blogging Now Begins Young

About 300 eighth-graders at South Valley Junior High in Liberty, Mo., are blogging this fall about Guerrilla Season, a book about a 15-year-old living in Civil War-era Missouri.

The book’s author, Pat Hughes, is joining in the online discussion from her home in Philadelphia.

“I love being able to communicate with the author because it makes me feel like I can ask anything,” says Amy Lostroh, 13. “Most books you read you have to guess how the author named the characters, why they chose to write about the topic or what inspired them.” —Ashley BleimesBlogging Now Begins Young (USA Today (will expire))

Thanks for the link, Neha.

I’d love to see more secondary teachers who do this. If students have to wait until they get to college before they start working on developing an intellectual awareness of their online voice, it’s too late.

Here’s an unapproved comment an an angry MySpace user left on a blog entry in which one of my students wrote of the risks of posting on MySpace:

You are a f*cking faggot. MySpace is totally cool and it doesnt deserve to be trashed by adults 24/7. Just because they are getting older doesnt mean us kids cant live our lives freely and learn our mistakes for ourselves. This is the USA! So quit bagging on it and mind your own business. — Becky

(Asterisk added by me.) While Facebook had a good idea of limiting contact between older and younger users, young people who blog are not writing only for themselves. Attitudes like Becky’s are clear signs that young people need guidance. Becky’s teachers need to tell her that the First Amendment does guarantee the freedom of speech, but does not promise that the people who choose to exercise their right will be insulated from the consequences of breaking the law, breaking school rules, giving future potential employers reasons to throw their resume into the trash pile, etc.