Friday, March 19, 2010

Follow-up on Whole-Class Writing

Students used Google Applications today to plan a whole-class mystery/horror story. They voted on a plot summary that one of their classmates wrote. They broke the story into three parts so that they could work in groups to write the three sections of the story. I simply shared a single document with the whole class and then each group had one member log into the document and take notes for their group as the class discussed the three parts of the story. They decided on character names, conflicts, investigation, and the resolution. I'm excited to see how the final story develops.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

NoodleTools for the Research Paper

Today, I taught my students how to use NoodleTools for the research paper. I think that most students and teachers at my school use NoodleTools exclusively to develop MLA citations. I was more interested in using NoodleTools when I found out that digital annotations and note cards can be shared with a class for the teacher to monitor. Today, students learned about how to access the different databases our school subscribes to and then to share their lists for this research paper with me. The image at the top of the page shows how I was able to make comments on their citations. Even though NoodleTools merely asks for students to input the information about the source, it is sometimes difficult for students to identify the titles of the articles and main sources. I feel like my ability to constantly keep track of students' sources will help me give feedback during the research process and correct many mistakes before they submit their final work.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Google Form to Plan Whole-Class Creative Writing

I really like to teach my elective creative writing class to write collaboratively. Google Apps for Education has provided the perfect platform for collaborative writing. I recently began a genre unit and students have been reading short stories by Poe, Bradbury, and Jackson. At the end of the week, their first main writing assignment will require each student to pitch an idea for a plot the whole class can write together. I started it as a form because I wanted students to submit their original ideas without the influence of their peers. After all students submit, I will share the spreadsheet for all students to view and edit. During class, I plan to put students in groups of 4-5 students with one laptop per group to review and discuss the plot ideas (see below). The class will vote on one plot for the whole class to pursue. I'm hoping that students can plan a more detailed outline on the SMART board and then they'll go back to their groups to write specific parts of the story. I will post afterward to write about the results.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Google Docs and the Research Paper

I began piloting my school district's switch to Google Applications for Education with my American literature and Creative Writing courses in September. I've enjoyed using Google documents, forms, spreadsheets and presentations with students.

Recently, I experimented with templates by creating a template of a spreadsheet for my students to use in order to begin adding quotes and analysis for their two texts they will use for their research papers. I really like that I'm able to color-code the template and ask students to share their work with me. Since they shared the templates with me to edit, I'm able to give them feedback along the way. Next week, I plan to teach them how to use Noodle Tools so that they can share their digital notecards and annotations with me as they begin finding literary criticism.