My kids think texting is so cool.
They think cell phones are cool.
They think cell phones are so cool that they still argue over who gets to have our old, battery-free cell phones that don’t even turn on anymore.
They think it’s cool to answer my cell phone if they notice their dad or aunt or nanny or pap are calling, and they think it’s cool to unlock the screen, answer, mute, put on hold, and hang it up.
So recently, I’ve been playing on it. For learning’s sake, of course. I’ve been using texting as a learning tool–for sneaky reading, spelling, and composing practice, and so far? They’re game.
Here’s the skinny:
- Texting as a Learning Tool–Reading, Spelling, Composing: My kids are not unique in their adoration of the cell phone. Kids everywhere love them.
Since Maddy, Owen, and Cora do not have phones and do not have their own iPod Touch or anything similar to call their very own, the times I allow them to use my phone are pretty golden yet. For years now, my kids have loved my phone for gaming, playing, buying time when needed.
But only recently have I really tried to steer them in a different direction–trying to teach them how to use the phone while texting in a safe and controlled way.
Owen sends a message to his dad. . .
. . . asking if he’s heard their favorite song on the radio.
Simple, really, and a time-saver for me while I’m making lunches in the morning, straightening up, organizing, or preparing dinner.
But if we have a few minutes, I’ll ask something like:
- Hey Owen, would you please text Daddy a quick ‘have a good day’ message? You decide what it should be.
- Will someone please send Dad a message asking him if he is coming home right after work?
- Will you please answer this text from Dad? Tell him that I . . .
- Who wants to take a minute and send Daddy a quick ‘hello’ note before breakfast?
- Who has a minute and wants to send an aunt a happy text?
- Anyone up for a quick text to Aunt Jenny? Want to ask how Wyatt or Myles is doing?
- Tell me a funny joke or something that made you smile today, and let’s text it to Aunt Mary. I think she needs a smile.
Cora’s in on the texting fun.
Quick prompts that I try to not make completely, word-for-word specific so that the kids have to think about it and compose the message on their own. It’s not easy to take someone’s general idea and make it into a comprehensive message; that’s a skill that takes practice.
And though I don’t have the kids text people every single day–maybe a few times a week–it’s something they want to do. And it gets them reading, spelling, and composing in a cool and creative way, so I’m going with it while I can.
I ask that they sign off their text with their name so that the recipient knows what’s going on, and that’s it. I always check before they hit ‘send’, and they always ask for permission before they open up my messages. Those are the rules. And those rules are relatively easy to keep up with, when one kid is using the phone at a time.
And right now there’s no LOL, C U LTR, HTH, ROTFL, or XYZPDQ (I had to throw that in there because I can’t think of any ‘cool’ text lingo right now). If they’re sending texts from my phone, they’re using the correct words. There’s more than enough time for texting lingo in the years ahead, I’m sure.
So that’s it.
Quick, easy, texting as a sneaky learning tool for reading, spelling, and composing. Buying time sending messages to family members, short ‘hello’ or silly, brighten-your-day messages, 2.0.
One more teeny, tiny baby step in the raising of our digital kids.
Do your kids text? How? How often? Under what parameters? Do tell–I’m learning as I go!
Next up: Learning, practicing, using, and loving Power Point for our International Night display