Kristen Lamb, author of Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer., writes non-fiction in a folksy, easy to understand style. Read like good fiction, the pages of this how-to book practically turned themselves. Writers and bloggers can immediately apply her tips to improve their blog, Facebook and Twitter platforms.
In spite of the fact Are You There Blog? It’s me, Writer. was easy to read I found myself highlighting, taking tons of notes, and rereading to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I had to discipline myself to keep on track. My thoughts were screaming, “Wow, I need to go to Facebook RIGHT NOW, and remove my birthday, but I did a little self-talk “Take notes, Marsha. Copy down the tips you want to remember.” Because LEARNING SOMETHING is the goal of reading a non-fiction book, it IS a different skill than reading fiction.
Common Core Standards for English Language Arts always lurk in my brain whenever I read now. Across the United States, by the time they start high school, students will spend 70 percent of their school day reading non-fiction materials. I would recommend this book for students from 6th grade up. Common Core Standards also put a greater emphasis on writing than ever before. Teaching students to blog, and having them interact with each other as well as others, means less editing for the teacher, more interest and commitment from the students. For language arts teachers this book will address reading and writing standards at the same time.
Even young students can respond to a teacher’s blog about a topic. This doesn’t mean that the teacher has to “write” every “topic” on their blog. They can copy paragraphs or quotes directly from a book they cite. By high school many students will have a Facebook account. Lamb’s book teaches them to use it safely and wisely. They also learn to use Facebook as a marketing tool to market themselves. We often overlook, or feel too pressured to teach, the importance of the “soft” skills in education, of how to get along with people, how to motivate them, and get them to like us. Those skills are an integral part of DOING social media. Kristen Lamb integrates those skills as she explicitly teaches basics of blogging and using social media.
“Giving is when you take your time to read their blog, to repost their story and to congratulate their writing goal on Twitter. Giving is when you write a nice review of someone else’s book unsolicited and expecting nothing in return.”
Lamb, Kristen (2011-05-07). Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer (Kindle Locations 572-573). Who Dares Wins Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Students will learn that “people love feeling good” and that “a positive attitude is a key ingredient for a hit blog that connects with others in a meaningful way.” (Ibid Location 1519)
These soft skills that students learn will be useful to them no matter what profession or trade they choose to enter during or after high school.
Kristen’s book is available on Kindle, which means that note taking will be easy for students (and teachers who are beginning bloggers). When a quote is copied from the book on the computer the biographical information is automatically noted. WHEW! That was EASY!
Mike Lebsock, an eighth grade teacher in Fresno, posts a blog entry then has his students write one response to his post, and one response to another student’s response. How easy that would be using this book. The teacher doesn’t have to write his or her own content. He or she simply copies right from the book into the blog. The biographical information is automatically there as well.
Are You There Blog? is easy to read, but that doesn’t mean that there is NO academic vocabulary. The academic vocabulary is primarily content-based and can be grasped within the context of the book. However, for students using Kindle or other e-readers, they can open a window with the definition of an unfamiliar word by just passing the cursor over a word and stopping.
When I started this review, I struggled with recommending it for Common Core because it was such an enjoyable book to read. After analyzing how the book can actually meet many elements of Common Core I have changed my mind. Non-fiction books can be enjoyable, and enjoyable books can be academic. Read and enjoy Kristen Lamb’s book, Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer. with your students – - or just for yourself.
Today’s Featured Blog
My blogging friend Rommel, has taught me so much. He was one of my first visitors before I knew squat, he had nominated me for an award. I didn’t even understand what an award was. He kept coming back when I was working full time+, and hardly had a second to visit any blogs, there was Rommel commenting on my blog. Then recently he featured me on his site. Who knew? What a kind thing to do. So it is with great honor and pride that I introduce my first Featured Blogger, Rommel. The post that I chose, although he writes great travel stories, posts amazing pictures from all over the world, I fell in love with Once in A Blue Moon, a poem. This is how it starts.
Another special post.
You know what…. I need to pause… An image first.
- Information Charts: A Guest Blog Post by Kristi Mraz and Marjorie Martinelli (twowritingteachers.wordpress.com)
- Do new standards mean reading in school will get real? (kansascity.com)
- Nonfic: Reality and the Common Core (monkeymoonmachine.com)
- Professional Learning in the Digital Age – A Review (freetech4teachers.com)