What in the world… #teachtheweb Week 4

choose2matterplain For week four, I wrote learning goals using the provided template for a project I have started with my sixth grade students which we will continue next fall, hopefully in grades 6, 7, and 8. I will share this “Share the Web Soapbox” project with my students.

Here are our first projects and directions: What In the World…

We will apply our Common Core State Standards which apply for  #teachtheweb while following our interests and passions, writing the web with media literacy.

The goal is to introduce students to an open web, a transparent, sharing web in which their projects matter, and their voice can be heard. We will read, write, and share on projects that matter to us, learning to code, to search, to read, to write, to convince, to collaborate.


What do you think?


Reference Projects

Angela Maiers Choose 2 Matter

Denise Krebs What action will I take?

Karen Fasimpaur What is open?


Collaboration and Peer Review: How To

Collaborate to Revise

Collaborate to Revise

Collaboration doesn’t just happen. We work at it. One way we do this is by partner work on the computer. After posting writing on the wiki, students partner up.  The partner reads the story, essay, or report and provides feedback while reading: celebrate excellent writing, clarify confusing areas, and suggest additions or deletions. The author listens and then revises the work. Finally, the partners edit the writing. Then students switch places so this author reads and comments on the partner’s writing.

We follow this process on computers or with writing on paper.

Peer Comments

Peer Comments

Since feedback is so important to writers, we often play Stars and Wishes. We place our work either on our desks or on the computer. If the writing is on our desks, we also place a blank paper beside it for our peer comments. Next everyone stands up and rotates to the next desk or computer to the right.  Each person reads the writing of this person one time through just to enjoy it. Next students read this piece again to add a compliment or two about the writing either on the comment paper on the desk or in the comment area of the wiki or Google Doc.  This compliment (star) would be about the writing traits and strategies we are learning or have learned. (Note: these areas are also what partners comment on during their collaboration / peer reviewing ) Next the student reads it through for confusing areas and suggest solutions (wish). After a few minutes of careful reading and commenting, students rotate to the next desk or computer. This repeats three or four times. Students return to their own writing to read the Stars and Wishes to decide how to revise their work according to the readers’ suggestions.

During this time, the room is silent. Not because I ask for it, but because the students are enthralled and so engaged in their peer review.

Directions for Stars and Wishes

Sample Writing Strategies:

Sample Star:
“funny i laughed at this line: ‘it sounded it reminded me of my aunties arguing or just plain old nagging.’
its such a classic you line.”

Sample Wish:

“i like the detail in the first sentence

but i think you should add more detail and description and of course more part of the story”

What strategies do you have for student collaboration and peer review?


Stars and Wishes Idea from Dollie Evans

Also posted at: What Else 1DR

Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness…  Reflect curiosity and wonder…

Mentors Inspire Writing

Our class is so lucky this fall: Washington State University students will mentor our students in writing. We’ve started our Writers Workshop with a focus on memoir and the question: “How do writers move from what we know to what we share?”

How do we take what we know and share it in a way that our readers can imagine and connect?

On September 23rd, Jeff Peterson’s Intercultural Communication class arrive for interactive icebreakers and time to meet and help our students with writing.

Take a look:

Our students will draft memoirs on a private wiki, then remix the memoirs into fictional stories to publish on our public site, Coyote Talks. During this process, our mentors will guide our students into writing with passion, voice, and clarity.

We hope you join us in learning more about writing with our mentors.

Fire It Up!


So what does this “cloud” of social networking within which our students continuously engage demand for my lessons?

Lessons must Fire It Up!




Students live in a world of instant gratification, engaged by peer to peer technology with phones, online games and chats. Their world fills with the fun this “instancy” and engagement provides; they are constantly stimulated in ways that create more neural pathways more quickly than ever did ours.

These are the children who come to us; we must accept that we must change. “It’s up to us to adjust to those patterns and pathways,” explains Brad Fountain in Understanding Your Students’ iBrains . We cannot even envision our students’ abilities, yet we must provide for them. And from Brad’s presentation I heard how students expect relevance, instant gratification, engagement, and fun. Because their social networking and multi-tasking allows them to participate in many activities at once, making frequent choices of interest to them, their patterns of learning expect the same from us. Therefore, I devised an acronym for my new curriculum planning: Fire It Up!

I must create a Fun and Instant lesson: frequent acknowledgment (gratification). It’s Relevance stems from student interest or interactive choices. The choices, discussion, and technological aspects Engage the students. Various Integrated Tasks with choices and interaction create Ubiquitous Pathways to learn curricular content.

The “ten minute” rule is crucial — but for some students it’s ten seconds! What question can I ask or video/image to display will capture the imagination and engagement of students so they focus and forge into the learning tasks? It reminds me of the years-past recommendation in science to create a disconnect with the expected outcome as a precursor to the lesson. The “novel” engagement that nabs the mind.

Students brains are different than ours. I relearned this today. How?

First, since I engage myself in some of the networks to which my students subscribe, including Twitter , I learned about today’s DEN (Discovery Education Network) Virtual Conference. I linked from Twitter to a signup page, signed up, checked email for registration info, clicked the link, and started the conference. Amazing.

I participated in:

Raise Your Hand if You’re a Rock Star (partial)
Steve Dembo

No Mind Left Behind: Using Media to Reach Your Students
Jannita Demian and Matt Monjan

Understanding Your Students’ iBrains
Brad Fountain

From Understanding Your Students’ iBrains with Brad Fountain, I learned again that student’s brains learn differently than ours; they demand fun, instant gratification, relevance, and engagement. Therefore, I must Fire It Up! Thanks, Brad.

And students, what should WE do to Fire It Up? Let’s power up the neurons!


Photo Credits:

Neurons in the brain
Credit: Dr Jonathan Clarke. Wellcome Images

Creative Commons