you're reading...
Leadership and Activism, Learning at its Best, School Stories

I Want To Be Heard (Blog4NWP)

Our guest blogger today is Nicolas Gutkowski, a 12 year old middle school student in Albemarle County, VA.  Nicolas is a pretty amazing young man, who discovered his voice was powerful last year when he began blogging and built a wiki. Nicolas presented in the fall of 2010 at the K12online conference, a talk called “Learning On My Own” about his wiki.  When I asked him if  he wanted to guest blog here on why he continues to write and share on his wiki, he said yes, and then, when he sent me his work, said,

“Here’s what I wrote. It’s more of a “student empowerment” piece than “why I continue to write and share.”

Nicolas not only writes with a great voice, but the power of writing has enveloped him.  He is a writer who can hold his own just about with any topic and who seeks out opportunities to share his thoughts with others. Nicolas understands writing, as do the teachers (such as myself) who have been through the National Writing Project. The NWP deserves to remain funded so that other teachers will be able to encourage and support the many students out there who could be the next Nicolas, also discovering their voices in the power of writing.

Here’s Nicolas:

My wiki and blog are important to me for many reasons. Through them, I have not only improved my writing skills, but also have learned that students can have a lot of power. I have learned that there’s always more than one way to do something. Through my wiki, I have interacted with people everywhere. I have seen how people react when they see a student doing such amazing things. Every day something happens, and I can write about it.

That’s why I continue to write. To see people comment on what I write, to see what they like, their opinions, to hear their voice.

But I don’t just want to hear their voice, I want them to hear my voice.

I don’t want to go unnoticed, I want my opinion heard. Those are reasons why I continue to write. I may not write on my blog as much, but it’s still a way to connect with new people.

Connect. That’s what I do through my wiki and blog.

My wiki and blog aren’t meant for just children, students, or teachers. They’re meant for everyone. As I said before, they are meant to collaborate, interact, to share stories and experiences. I love it when I see how people react when they see my wiki or blog. I love it when they find out that a child wrote this.

I know that when they see my blog or wiki, they see students can have lots of power.

I used my own wiki to help out other student’s wikis, by hosting a contest. Three people got their links put up on my home page, the sidebar, and an entire page. They got more visits, so I offered other people to put their links up too, even if they didn’t win. They all got more visits. I did all this just so they could interact with people around the world, and see people’s comments and reactions to what they wrote.

Students have a voice that is not heard often. Most students now just do what they are told, and ask no questions. Every time a teacher tells a student to do it this way, not that way, they bring down the student’s creativity. Without creativity we can’t think of new ideas to help this planet. We can’t find cheaper ways to power our cars, homes, and more. So listen to the student.

You could learn a thing or two from them. Look at their ideas, and wonder how the student thought of that. Students have the power to decide for themselves.


About Paula White

grandma, teacher, Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE), DEN STAR, Google Certified Teacher, camper, Gifted Resource Tchr, NETS*T certified, lover of learning


17 thoughts on “I Want To Be Heard (Blog4NWP)

  1. Power to Nicolas! It’s great to see a 12 year old student make use of social media positively while encouraging others to do the same. Lots of young students can definitely look to him and see that they too have a voice to be heard. As a student assistant for DML Central, we enjoy seeing how digital media is being used effectively in young student’s lives. So Nicholas is a wonderful example of a student who reflects that!

    Posted by Connie | April 4, 2011, 6:24 pm
  2. Nicolas, what a great communicator and connector you are! You’re exactly right: writing is a way to bring people together so they can hear one another’s voices, and I’m especially glad you’ve brought your voice to the Coöp.

    I very much want the government to restore funding to the National Writing Project so it can continue to help teachers and students create writing communities like your wiki.

    Thank you for guest-posting with us, Nicolas – danke schön.

    Posted by Chad Sansing | April 4, 2011, 8:44 pm
  3. Nicolas,

    I love how you put it – that we write to connect. to collaborate, to interact and to share stories and experiences. You and your wiki and blog are great examples of that idea. As a former teacher and current employee of the National Writing Project, I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know you support the work of our organization – which really is to try to make possible the kinds of writing experiences you describe in your post. Thank you, Nicolas.


    Posted by Paul Oh | April 4, 2011, 9:12 pm
  4. I agree with the others. Thank you for sharing your words, Nicolas 🙂

    Posted by aprilestep | April 4, 2011, 9:19 pm
  5. Wow. Thanks for speaking up about the power of writing and connecting with people everywhere.

    Posted by Nancy Devine | April 4, 2011, 9:25 pm
  6. Nicolas, may your voice reach many people, and may you always have teachers who understand what a gift it is!
    Thank you for sharing,
    Denise Hinson (New Mexico)

    Posted by Denise | April 4, 2011, 9:26 pm
  7. Nicolas,
    Thank YOU for reminding all of us of the power of writing (and the power/influence of programs like NWP that help both educators and students all over).
    Keep writing!

    Posted by cb717 | April 4, 2011, 9:42 pm
  8. Thank you, Nicolas, for sharing your thoughts here. I can tell that your writing means a lot to you and your writing here means a lot to me (and to us). Thanks for sharing!

    In case you hadn’t seen it yet, this is Adora Svitak in her address to TED called “What Adults Can Learn from Kids.” I think you have both demonstrated this very well, Adora via what she says and you by what you have written. Thanks again for giving voice to your thinking and for sharing that thinking with us!

    Posted by Paul W. Hankins | April 4, 2011, 10:29 pm
    • Paul,
      His fifth grade teacher (me) showed Adora’s TED talk last year to help the kids see that they do, in fact, have a voice others listen to intently. Thanks for thinking of sharing that with Nic. Pointing him to other student voices is appreciated greatly.

      Have you other resources to share with him as well?


      Posted by Paula White | April 5, 2011, 10:13 am
  9. I have a question. What’s your definition/idea of a computer?

    Please go to my wiki at to respond.

    Posted by nicintime | April 5, 2011, 6:15 pm
  10. Nicholas,
    I love this phrase best: “listen to the student”. You are so right! Listening to students is something good teachers do all the time. Keep on writing!

    Posted by Elisa Waingort | April 8, 2011, 8:36 am


  1. Pingback: The #blog4nwp archive « Cooperative Catalyst - April 4, 2011

  2. Pingback: Hey! Hey! We’re Writing for 32 Days! « It All Begins Here - April 6, 2011

  3. Pingback: Writing for Everyone | English Teacher, too. - April 7, 2011

  4. Pingback: Real Education is Transformative « Cooperative Catalyst - November 3, 2011

Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,100 other followers

Comments are subject to moderation.

%d bloggers like this: