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Student Starts Blog for Lower School

Sixth grader Zach G. started What's Up Woodward?, a blog for Lower School students written by sixth graders. Beyond the Gate spoke with Zach about the motivation behind starting the blog and the editorial process used to create it.

BG: Congratulations to you, Zach, on starting this blog! It shows a lot of initiative. First, please tell us more about yourself. How long have you been at Woodward? What do you like best about the Academy? What are your interests, hobbies, etc? What do you want to be when you grow up?

Zach: I've been at Woodward Academy for five years, this year being my sixth, and I love the Academy for it's diversity and ability to create things like "What's Up Woodward?" My greatest interest is definitely writing, and I love immersing myself in pop culture. When I grow up, I either want to be an author or journalist, but I haven't decided whether I want to create my own stories or continue in writing like I do on the blog.

BG: Can you tell us how you got the idea to start the blog and a what it took to get it up and running?

Zach: Well, before I had the idea to create the blog I was working on the staff of the Goober Gazette, which was the Lower School newspaper. It had grown tremendously over the first year or so, but the second year the interest had greatly diminished to the point where I was the only one contributing to it. Last August, I had the idea for a version 2.0 and, after thinking about it, decided to take the newspaper online. From there I met with Principal Phillips, and he directed me toward the two technology educators, Mrs. Dearolph and Mrs. Fisher, to find the platform to run the blog on. After choosing to launch the blog on Blogger, Ms. Lee volunteered as my sponsor, and we got a good group of sixth graders and started the blog. We have a great group of sixth grade writers working on the blog, and Samuel J. is the computer genius who helps with the technical side.

BG: Tell us about your editorial process for the blog and about some of the topics students have written about so far?

Zach: The editorial process we use is simple yet effective. We have the blogging staff write an article and either submit it to me or Ms. Lee so that we can proofread it. From there it all gets sent to Ms. Lee so that she can publish it on WUW. From a diversity standpoint, I would say that the articles are very strong. They have covered topics including sports, movies, current events, and even religion. You name it, we've got it.

BG: What has been the response so far from LS students?

Zach: I think that the response from the Lower School students has been amazing! Students are commenting and enjoying the interactive nature of the online platform.

BG: Do you have any thoughts about the future of the blog and how you would like to see it evolve over time?

Zach: I definitely have plans for the future of the blog and would like to see it evolve to be one of the many opportunities that sixth graders will have. I hope that rising sixth graders will look at the blog like they look at the trip to Camp Tumbling Waters or even Market Day. Toward the end of the the year, I hope to give some aspiring bloggers the chance to have their work showcased on the blog so that they can take over after this year's staff leaves for the Middle School. Overall, I think the blog is a great opportunity for sixth graders to show their peers their writing and how much they love doing it in the process.

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