Am I Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
I struggle with blogging and the recurring hassle of finding the time, topic and method of delivery. I decided that I needed help and was fortunate enough to meet with a blogging expert at Duke School fifth grader Josh Leffler. Check out his blogs, "A Kid's View."
This week he was ruminating on volunteerism and pointed to Duke School’s Fall Festival as an example of how volunteers can make a difference.
I wanted to see how he worked and if I could learn from him. He started by assuring me that I was doing well but then commented I could do better. He said blog writing should not take long. The whole process takes him about an hour. Josh spends less than forty five minutes composing his first draft and then sends it to a crack editor, his mom, for review. After she makes suggestions, he finalizes the draft in about fifteen minutes and sends it to the digital manager of the website.
Josh suggested that I should be more disciplined about when I write. He composes on Saturday mornings because he is too busy during the week with homework and other school activities. He does not like writing on Sundays, so that leaves Saturday. He is expected to post a blog weekly, but as Josh said, he gets “a little leeway” from his editors given his age.
When I asked about how he generated blog topics, he responded that another advantage of working on Saturday is it gives him time to sit down and contemplate about the week which often leads to a blog topic. He admitted that sometimes people suggest topics—most of which he rejects but some which he will embrace. He also suggested that when I was in a creative mood I ought to write two blogs, one that was timely and one that is not time sensitive. Josh emphasized keeping the latter one in reserve in case you cannot carve out time to write one week.
I talked about how disheartening it is to not receive many comments on the blog. Josh assured me that he did not get many comments either; however, he knows he is reaching an audience because people will compliment him on his writing when he’s out and about. He explained that comments left on the blog are not indicative of who is reading the piece as some people cannot figure out how to leave comments and others fear the loss of privacy. He further commented that in some ways we should be writing for ourselves, not for others.
Finally, he recommended that I add more links and pictures to my blog. Pictures would make it more interesting and links would drive more traffic to my blog. It seems that if your reader clicks on a link the receiving site is more likely to link back to your blog.
All in all, I learned a great deal about blog writing.
Duke School is dedicated to preparing the next generation of strategic thinkers by allowing students to boldly shape their future. Josh’s intelligence and blog is the epitome of this aspiration. He expresses his ideas to an extensive audience and exhibits confidence and wisdom that surpass his age.