Sunday, January 30, 2011

Google Docs Notes

Wowser!

We have our new computers, thanks to the Parent Education Committee, whose foresight imagines the future our students will live. Their goal is to provide technology for all classrooms. We thank you so much for providing the tool with which we practice and apply our learning.

Our students in grades 5-8 write for reading, writing, and science in our Google Apps in Education.

In writing class we recently watched a video on Bullying. While watching, each student took notes on the problems and solutions -- What was happening? What could be done?  That's not new. What's new is that we took notes on Google Docs -- all of us in one class on one document. We could stop, discuss, highlight, and move on to the next part of the video.  As a teacher, I could watch the notes students created, stop at the point someone responded with an important insight or encourage anyone who needed prompting. Everyone was engaged! Everyone!

Click here to see a video of what that looked like: Our Back Channel  A backchannel is a discussion outside of a presentation, usually in a chat within a presentation application or in an entirely different application.  We used a Google Document for ours.

Video:


Engagement and teacher feedback are keys to unlocking learning potential, and that's what our new tool, our iMacs coupled with Google Apps in Education allowed us to do. Have any of you done something similar with Google Apps?


This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Elaboration Strategies

How do we revise our work to make it stronger, clearer, and interesting?

We practice Elaboration Strategies.

Each week, students learn (or will learn) strategies for revising their work to make it more detailed and interesting. I read as short story that frames the strategy with good examples and students take notes as we discuss the author's use of the strategy.  Then we practice in our own writing.

As we draft and as we review our writing, we decide what the reader needs to know to visualize our ideas.  We add:

  • Description: describes what something looks like or sounds like
The crowd roared as Rex, his head dripping in well-earned sweat, slipped through the opposing team's star and dunked the tie-breaker.

  • Detail:  Adds who, what, when, why, where, how information (specific)
Henry, math in hand, tip-toed into the classroom to turn in the late math that he had redone after his little brother barfed all over it the night before.

  • Strong Verbs:  Action (can it be done?) --- pulls, slips, yells
My labrador, Rampage, pulls the table cloth until the plate slips onto the floor and crashes, spilling the roast beef for her to gobble up. 

"Stop!" yells Mom.

  • Emotions: How were you feeling? How was the character feeling? How do the characters feel about each other?

I could see my mom frowning. She tapped her foot and crossed her arms. I knew I was in trouble.

  • Thoughts: What are the characters thinking?
I thought, “Where did I put the key?” 

  • Example: -- a comparison -- an anecdote, evidence, for instance, for example 
Africa is a sleeping giant; The dog was as big as a polar bear.

  • Dialogue: include conversations between characters to SHOW what is happening

“Yeah!” I yelled. “We're going to the carnival.”

“Please don't spend all your money on the ring toss again,” pleaded Mom.


After students apply the strategy in their writing, they copy an example into their interactive notebook. Here's an example of a student's example of using dialogue. She chose to write about two falling leaves, the big leaf Squirt and the little leaf, Sunkist:



Perhaps you would like to share a strategy you use to revise your writing, or perhaps you would like to share an example for us?  We'd love to hear from you!


To remind--
This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you.

Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...