My 4th graders are working on publishing their own websites to my Mobile Me account. I have allowed them quite a bit of freedom in terms of design and content, but I have encouraged them to create pages for each of the content areas: reading, writing, math, and social studies. Many of them have added "All About Me" type pages, and our newest additions have been a series of entries around our historical fiction book clubs using iWeb's blog page.

I'm really wondering how involved I should be in the editing of these pages. They are 10 years old; naturally, there are going to be grammar, spelling, and mechanics errors on their pages. The content they are posting is public, so my thought is, it should be perfect, right? I certainly don't want to publish anything less. Or...should I let it be authentically their work? If I need to be their editor, how might I go about giving feedback? It isn't realistic to think that I could confer with each student to catch every single comma or capitalization error...

Thanks for your thoughts!

Tags: student websites, teacher involvement

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Your students' webpages should be their own work. If you would eliminate all their errors to post them in the hallway for Parent Visitation Day, then apply the same standards. If imperfect work goes on the hall wall, then the web pages should be authentic also. In truth, you really should be looking carefully at their web pages, as much to catch mistakes, as to make sure that the content is appropriate to be shared. Be careful that the students do not share their full name, address, phone number, or other personal information on their websites. Get parent and school permissions for student pictures (make sure that none of your students are in a witness protection program, for example, and make sure that there is not enough information on the pages for a pedophile to set up a target). Worry more about over-exposure than missing capitals and commas.
Yes! Their safety is most important to me. We have had numerous conversations about posting names, birthdays, and any other identifying information. They don't yet understand how public the Web is. Thank you!
Hi Stephanie,
I teach fourth grade too. I don't let my students print their Word documents until they are proofread by me but this is part of the writing process. Are their websites a writing project or a technology project? If it is to learn how to use technology then I don't think I would edit their work. But I certainly would want to see their pages before they go public. Is there a setting in Mobile Me that could send their posts to you for approval before they show up publicly? If that is not possible what about a buddy system? I have my students paired for peer editing. It has worked well and they catch most of each others common errors.

I would love to share your students work with my students. Where can we see their websites?
Hello! Thanks for the suggestions for the students' webpages. I want to give them the freedom to be creative and unique, but I also want them to use the sites as a way to showcase some of the great work they've done this year. I do have a way to see their pages before publishing them, but working on editing is a valuable skill to develop, so I think that will be my approach. I like the buddy system idea, especially because I encourage them to use editing partners during writer's workshop.

You can view some of their pages by clicking on the red linked names on this page of our class website:
Stephanie, can you add RSS feed to the kids' sites, then you could be notifed when a specific site is updated and wouldn't have to look at them all everyday. N.
Great tip! I actually completely control when the page gets published, so I don't have a need to add the feed, but for older students, bloggers, etc. I can see how this would really be beneficial!
I used to do webpages with kids, years ago and refused to let them post any 'drivel' or personal stuff--fav bands, pirated clipart etc. It was all about the content--we've since moved to blogs, wikis, Moodle, etc. If your students are working on the project at school, I'm hoping you got written parent permission from parents to publish student work and photos. Also if they are working in school you are responsible for every word on there---do they have permission from the author, artist, etc to use their material on their website--are there copyright issues?

I heard someone mention "digital footprint"---this is part of the kids digital footprint and something they want to be proud of. What is your purpose? If it's writing, then it needs to be edited, if it's reflection it needs to be commented on. Your can see all the tech-related stuff we've done over the last few years here. Good Luck on your projects. N.

I tell my students that what they write is a reflection of who they are----
Nancy - I love this post. I copied it to a personal file and plan on sharing it with our tech folks. Thanks for always being willing to share.

Eve, the internet is cluttered enough, we as teachers (with our kids) don't need to add to the clutter. Haha!

Excellent suggestions! BTW, I've been looking at your web stuff this afternoon and am truly sorry we got off on the wrong foot. Found some excellent additions to the links on my web pages. There is room for both of our viewpoints.
Anne, Thanks.
I've had students publish websites on several occassions over the last four years and without fail, if there is an error on their public site, someone calls it to my attention! So~ if it is a finished, published creation I edit them. Some quick ways to edit~ use peer editing first, then spell check (since some portion of it must be in digital format?!), and even parent-helpers.

Note: As I understand the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and other safety regs, students in elementary school may not have their name published with their picture...While that always put a damper on my students' enthusiasm initially it also opened the door to lessons on internet safety~ which I needed to add to my curriculum anyway!!!

Have a great time, and congratulations on using tech in such a great way!



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