by Brianna Coffey, Student Public Relations Writer
COVID-19 regulations have made it difficult for Cedarville education students to gain teaching experience this year. But a teaching tool called Kidblog is giving students the opportunity to encourage and coach elementary-age writers remotely.
About three years ago, Sherri (Gerdes) Washburn ’90, a second-grade teacher in Akron, Indiana, learned from other teachers how their students’ writing performance improved using a computer rather than paper. This inspired Washburn to start Kidblog.
For the last two years, Washburn has assigned a writing buddy to each student, someone she knew was safe and would provide online feedback and encouragement. This academic year, Kevin Jones, Dean of the School of Education, connected her with Cedarville education students to serve in this role.
Here’s how it works: Washburn’s students write, and Cedarville students write back and encourage them. Washburn corrects any spelling or punctuation errors, leaving Cedarville students free to build up and support the students.
“Throughout the course of the program, I have learned how to more effectively communicate with younger kids in a way that makes them feel appreciated and heard,” said Andrew Reinhard ’22, a math and science middle education student at Cedarville. Cedarville students are encouraged to pray for their students too.
Washburn has been heartened by Kidblog’s success. “I will honestly say that on those really hard days of being a teacher, I reread the notes from my writing buddies and remember someone else cares for my students’ education too,” she said.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Bachelor of Arts in Middle Childhood Education program, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.