Writer's Workshop Goes Digital
Here at ISB we use the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop model of literacy instruction. We have been fortunate to have the wonderful Maggie Moon consult with us on a regular basis over the last two year.
One of the best things about working with Maggie is that she is open-minded about what literacy can mean and how to ensure we meet the needs of our students in today’s world. Last year we started on a path to define digital literacy and to see how we can fit (at least some) aspects of digital literacy into the Workshop model (which does not reference anything beyond the traditional view of reading and writing).
This year, with the addition of Jeff and Tara, we are continuing to push forward and have begun to develop a full Writer’s Workshop unit focused on digital literacy. Our plan is to implement this unit in September of 2009 in grade 5, with Tara, Jeff and I co-teaching in our 7 grade 5 classrooms (that’s going to be an interesting logistical nightmare, since they all teach Writer’s Workshop at the same time and there’s only 3 of us and 7 of them…)
We are only in the initial stages of the planning process, following the Understanding by Design format, and I would love to get some feedback from you!
Here’s what we’ve got so far (we’re using a Google Doc, so planning updates can be found here):
Personal Narrative with Blogging
Students will begin to understand:
- Purpose and audience for communication determine the appropriate media choice.
- Design and layout impact the quality and effectiveness of communications.
- reflect on, organize, analyze, interpret, and synthesize information effectively communicate and create ideas.
Students will begin to understand:
- Writers attempt to have a story unfold in a show, not tell, fashion through well-chosen details that make a story come alive
How do I effectively communicate?
GRASPS Task (still working on the wording here, essential the entire blog will be the task)
Build Understanding Through the 6 Facets:
Explain: Reflective blog post: After collecting entries: try various stories to see how it goes – select a story and improve it, why did you choose this story?
Interpret: personal narrative practice, once you’ve selected your story, what is this story really about?
Have Self-Knowledge: Author’s message – the way you write and present the story shows the significance of the story to the reader. Reflective writing after – why did you write this story this way, how does it reflect you? What was challenging for you? What do you understand about yourself from writing this?
Have Perspective: Reflection: who is your audience, why/how would you change this story for a different audience (how do you change the way you write based on your audience?) – during revision, write the same story for a different audience – how do you change your writing for different audiences.
Empathize: after the blog post is up, how do you respond via the comments (to something that you don’t have a connection with).
Apply: Design your blog post for your audience, choosing images, paragraph spacing, headings, etc (choosing an image that shows depth and connects to your post)
- Allow students the choice to either write in Writer’s Notebook first or directly on the computer
- Have students write in MS Word before posting online (to avoid technical issues)
- Teacher models same sort of writing as the students are doing. Write a portion of personal narrative and then show how you would change it for a different audience. Give students the choice of who their new audience is.
- What does good blogging look like? (synthesis, analysis – not just copy and paste)
- Students link to other sites in his/her writing (for example, if you snorkeled on Phuket, link to a Phuket site)
- Students reflect on why he or she is choosing this piece of writing.
- Commenting and how to make it constructive. Set a minimum expectation of how many comments a student must write on someone else’s writing.
- Students incorporate comments from others and make revisions to his/her own writing based on these.
- Final reflective blog post linking back to prior drafts, comments by their audience that helped change their minds, and reflect on how the interaction with their audience helped improve their writing.
- Choosing and inserting an image, citing sources for images
First 8 instructional days: brainstorming in the writer’s notebook, across those 8 days, choose 2-3 stories to post on the blog (reflect online why they chose those three) – these posts should be in draft form, then students will choose 1 to stick with and take through the writing process (reflect online why they chose the final story)
One of the reasons we’re doing this as a discrete unit is so that teachers can see how it will fit within the Writer’s Workshop model. We’re hoping to do it early in the year so that teachers and students can take advantage of this new model of writing throughout the year. Personally, I hope we’ll end up using these blogs as ePortfolios by the end of the year, but I don’t know if that will happen.
What do you think? How does this look? What are we missing? What needs to be revised?