Alas, we are at the final chapter in Laura Robb's book. This may just be my favorite chapter since my work focuses on integrating literacy and technology.
What "out of school" writing do your students share with you (if any)? Do you incorporate any online writing in your classroom? I've used blogs to set up international exchanges with students in other countries. This is always a good motivator for students as they get excited to learn more about students in other cultures. Are any of you using blogs, texting, wikis, or other forms of online writing?
This summer, in order to encourage reading, I worked with our school librarian to set up a blog so that students could have conversations about what they were reading over their break. It did not catch on as well as I had hoped. Very few students participated. Reflecting back on it, I wished I had started it while kids were still in school. It would have given not only me, but the other language arts teachers a chance to encourage them to blog. Though I explained the blog before school was out, it was not up and running until students had been dismissed for the summer, and once the summer fun started, very few of our kiddos gave it another thought.
The library media specialists in Jessamine county are going to a training next week and will be talking about and considering book club blogging and other techy exchanges. Some of the LMS have had book blogs in conjunction with the local public library. Right now I have an after school poetry club that reads and shares writing. This is a small group who have joined voluntarily:)
I occasionally will have a student bring me a poem or story to read that they have written from home, but that does not happen very often.
I am well-known in my circle of teaching partners as being a “non-native” when it comes to technology. I have been able to cause a computer screen to go totally black just by putting my hands on the keyboard, and I locked up a week old computer by changing one word while typing a Word document on it (no joke). Our TRT responds to one word, “Help”, when I send her a text message, so one would expect me to say that I do not use an online writing with my students – which is partly true.
However, I do try to incorporate some on-line writing with my students. This year, I am attempting to use Edmodo with my students. I have not been as successful at providing time during the school day for students to access the site, but I do have students post questions, comments, etc to me from home. It is my goal to begin to use the website as a way for students to take quizzes and to respond to survey/poll questions during the school day, but I am not there yet.
As a part of our summer reading program, students are required to complete one project to be graded by the language arts teacher as a part of the first nine weeks grade. One option is for students to create a Destiny Quest blog. I have several students that need to post their blogs to the Destiny Quest website. Since one of the criteria is that it has to be approved by the library media specialist, I need to hook those students up with Mrs. Raybuck (see post above) to get those reports posted online soon.
One that I have has done in conjunctin with another teacher occurred several years ago whenI was working as the Literacy Coach for our school. I was able to introduce our Technology teacher to NINGs. He set up a class NING for his eighth grade classes to which students posted powerpoints, accessed websites, responded to posts, etc. As a member of those NINGs, I had several students correspond with me online as well. However, NINGs have been phased out and are not a real option for students in terms of technology currently.