Last Friday, I took on the tough task of going to Mazzy’s class to talk about what I do for a living. That would be blogging, for those of you who missed that somehow. I don’t even know how to explain my blog to my own daughter, so I was not sure how I was going to make an entire group of children suddenly see the light. But I did it for three reasons:
1) Mazzy asked me to do it.
2) Mazzy’s teacher thought it would be a great idea. She said the kids journal every day and it would be great to show them how writing about your life could be an occupation.
3) I have vested interest in Mazzy understanding I have a real job as opposed to just spending every day playing on my computer. Which I know is what it must look like to her.
What I found is that trying to explain blogging to a kindergartener is probably similar to explaining blogging to your great grandmother— both have such little understanding of social media, it is almost pointless to try to describe it.
“I have a diary,” one little girl told me. “But I don’t want anybody to read it.”
Yep, I didn’t want anybody to read the Snoopy diary I kept when I was in second grade either, but if my mom magically found that thing today, I would publish every single page! Oh, the fodder.
“Well, I pick and choose what I write about. I don’t write anything I want to keep private.”
“I saw Mazzy’s face on my mom’s computer,” another girl piped in.
“Oh, your mom probably reads my blog. I write about Mazzy a lot.”
“It was a really cute picture.”
Mazzy, who was sitting next to me, got very excited. “Was I wearing pink? My mom takes pictures of all my pink things!”
The kids were confused. “You take pictures of pink things for your job???”
“Well, I wrote about how much Mazzy loves pink on my blog and took pictures of all her pink things for the story.” (I was not ready to describe my numerous Instagram accounts to a bunch of five and six-year-olds. I can barely wrap my brain around them myself.) I told them blogging is a form of storytelling and I use words, pictures and videos all to help tell my story. I pick a topic to write about every day and it can be anything I like.
“For instance, today I am talking in Mazzy’s class about my job.”
“Are you going to write on your blog about this?” one very astute young boy asked.
And here we are.
I told them that I could write a post called “10 Jobs Kindergarteners are Interested in Learning More About” and they could help me write the post by telling me what jobs they wish would come into their class.
“What would you ask him?”
“How to be the President.”
“What would you ask him?”
“Why do you want to be the mayor?”
That one made me laugh. Such an important wording difference!
Other answers included…
“A doctor. I want him to come in and show off his tools.”
“A song artist. How many times do you sing a song before it’s ready for the recording studio?”
“A painter. How do you make things look really pretty?”
“Tom Brady. How do you become the best quarterback in the league?”
I told them that people read my blog to be entertained, to get advice about parenting (through my mistakes as opposed to my expertise obviously, but they didn’t need to know that) and to get recommendations for anything from vacation spots to shampoo to toys.
This was my big segue to “The Big Toy Review”. I asked the kids if they have ever bought a toy because they saw it at a friend’s house and wanted it too.
Everyone raised their hands.
“And sometimes, when you ask your parents to buy something, do they ever look it up on their computer?”
A few nods.
I told them that people often consult blogs about new products or go online to research things to see if they want to buy them. Some companies who want other parents to know about their products, might send them to me to get my opinion and write about it on my blog.
That’s when I pulled out a toy called the iKos, which was actually sent to me by a student who had developed it while she was in high school. She was interested in getting my opinion on it. I split the class into three groups and had them all play with the toy for a few minutes to figure out if they liked it or not. I said there were no wrong answers. If you don’t like the toy, that’s ok. We want to tell people what is good about the toy and what is bad so they have enough information to decide whether or not they want to buy it.
After they played for a bit, I brought the group back together to record their positives and negatives.
“What are some things you like about the toy?”
“It has lots of colors.”
“I like the way it feels in my hands.”
“It feels good to put the pieces together.”
“You can make a ball out of it.”
“What are some things you didn’t like about the toy?”
“It’s hard to put the pieces together.”
“When you finish the ball, it’s hard to take it apart.”
“You can only make a ball.”
Then I asked for a show of hands— people who would recommend the toy to friends vs. people who wouldn’t.
Nine kids would recommend it to their friends vs. seven kids who would not.
Lastly, I asked the kids, “If you could start a blog about anything you wanted, what would you write about?” Below are the blog topics the kids called out, including one kid who is obviously obsessed with all things Tom Brady. (The hearts next to each one are Mazzy’s contribution.)
Then the teacher opened up the floor for questions.
“Where do you got to work?”
“That’s a good question! I go to an office every day, but since I write on my laptop, I can really work from anywhere.”
“Do you ever write on paper?”
“Not really. I find it much faster to type on the computer. Plus, my handwriting is not very good anymore.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” A boy motioned to where I had listed the blog topics. OUCH!
Another boy raised his hand in the back. “I have a Transformer that is really hard to use.”
“So you might want to tell your friends that they shouldn’t buy it?”
“Okay. If you had a blog you could write all about that. And maybe the company that makes Transformers would read it and work to make their product better. Any other questions?”
He raised his hand again.
“The black one is easy.”
“Okay, so you could give a positive review to the black one.”
“But the yellow one is too hard.”
“Okay, so you’d recommend the black one to your friends but not the yellow one.”
A boy in front raised his hand. “Yes?”
“The black one is called the Black Knight. And the yellow one is called Bumblebee.”
“Okay, great. You can put that information in your review. You in the back?”
“I have Bumblebee also. It is too hard.”
That’s when the whole discussion got derailed into a Transformers support group and the teacher had to get everyone to focus.
Ah. Potty training, Transformer struggles, it’s all the same. It feels good to know others are struggling with the same things you are. That’s why people read and write blogs.
Hasbro, if you are listening— my daughter’s kindergarten class is very passionate about Transformers. They think Bumblebee is too hard to transform. Take that information and run with it.
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