Slice of Life Possibilities

 

It’s March Slice of Life Challenge by the Two Writing Teachers:

Write a slice of your life every day —  a moment of an any day or every day experience. Write it so others can live through it.

How It Began

Slice Challenge 2017

When I was a middle school teacher for thirty-one years, I discovered this wonderful motivational challenge. My students loved writing every Tuesday for Slice of Life Tuesday, and twice many of the students accepted the March: Write a Slice a Day challenge.

Some students had occasional mental blocks, so I created a Google Slides menu of suggestions, along with some writing expectations for digital safety and for writing class. We adapted these as needed, but below are the possibilities and the Slice Menu options for 2017.

If any of my former students or others would like to participate, just add a link to your Slice blog post or document in the comments for this post so others can find and read your Slice stories. Please also comment [using your positive netiquette — see slides] and encourage each other.

I look forward to the stories for this year. Write and enjoy your memories.

#DigiLit Sunday #NaNoWriMo Google Apps

DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, November 9, 2014.

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Our students in grades seven and eight are participating in #NaNoWriMo again this year. Each students sets their own goals and we continue to follow the Common Core State Standards aligned curriculum by Young Writers NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. I wrote about it last week, and this was our first week.

We actually have only twelve days of classroom time to allot for this due to trainings, conferences, and Thanksgiving. However the students are writing about what they know: their hobbies and interests. They took that lesson to heart: writers write about what they know [or research]. So students are writing about friendships made and lost, sports goals and goofs, and characters new and ancient.

Students draft their writing in Google Docs.  Our Teacher Dashboard by Hapara allows me to quickly see new additions, view, and click to add comments to encourage their continued efforts. I point out the positives to encourage their continued use of those strategies such as dialogue and description to help set the mood and tone for their action.

teacher_dashboard

 

nanao comments

 

Students share their novels with each other to also add comments and encourage each other. Students or teacher and student can carry on a feedback conversation through the comments and when completed, just click “Resolve.” The collaborative aspect of Google Apps for Education encourages writing by students through this process; it’s personalized learning at its best.

When not writing for NaNoWriMo, the apps allow for students to choose the app that best fits their audience and purpose: a blog? a Google site? a document? a slideshow? a survey [forms]? a spreadsheet with charts for data? a HangOut with experts? To meet the Common Core State Standards, collaboration and multi-media information are key. I’m so thankful our school district adopted this for our students.

 

 

#DigiLit Sunday #NaNoWriMo #clmooc

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DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, November 2, 2014.

 

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 Engaged !

In October, we begin our preparation for our novels, following the helpful curriculum by Young Writers NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.  Notice: Common Core State Standards focus each lesson. That means, YES, you and your students can write a novel in November.

On Friday, we mapped out the days we can write in school and set our writing goals. Teachers write 30,000 words and students choose their own goals. Students are excited and talking about their novels.  Monday, we begin writing. Most will draft in Google Docs, leaving their “inner editor” in a box somewhere on a shelf so that only the flow of their story taps onto the page, one letter, word, sentence, paragraph at time — ideas driven by a character with problem.  That’s all you need to start, but if you need more, the Young Writers Program provides help:

Links to Start

Lesson Plans | NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

NaNoWriMo YWP: Middle School (6-8) Curriculum – Google Docs

Students | NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/files/ywp/nano_ywp_10_suggested_rubric.pdf

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

NaNoWriMo in the Classroom – Home

Teacher Stories

NaNoWriMo: An #EduAwesome Project for Your #BestYearEver | Edutopia

Wordsmith Agora – Let them Write !

Start

I’d like to thank my friends at #clmooc for inspiring me again — their 5 image story task set my imagination in motion for my novel; here’s my start.  It helped my students see how to start — with a character, an image in their mind, and a problem.

Are you ready? Are your students writing?  Check out our Virtual Classroom and watch our progress.

Connected Learners #ce14 #clmooc #DigiLit Sunday

Connections.  Everywhere. A network of sharing and growing.

That’s what being a connected learner is.  My connection with #clmooc has expanded my focus from one classroom and one teacher, to a networked community from which I can give just as much as I can learn.

Here’s a network, a small one:

Note: You can enlarge the MindMap and click the related links.

Create your own mind maps at MindMeister
I’ve made several connections by following blogs of people I admire and learn from on Twitter and in other communities. Here you see and can link to the Two Writing Teachers and Grant Wiggins. Their blogs brought me information about projects, workshops, rubrics, and checklists. I had already read about and started using the question strategies noted in the Right Question book, but Grant Wiggins brought it new dimension.

I designed a project based on a focus question:

Thousands of kids from Central America are entering the United States illegally — and alone.”



Students wrote and considered open and closed questions before reading an article about it. Then they answered their top three questions.

By this time I had read the blogs and Grant’s book, so I designed an authentic task that would include several Common Core State Standards as students collaborated, investigated, discovered relevant content, designed a campaign, and edited each presentation:

“With a team of peers, collaborate to create an informational or persuasive campaign for an audience of your choice to share the information you research about “Thousands of kids from Central America are entering the United States illegally — and alone.” Each team member will create a project for your campaign that meets the expectations of an investigative researcher and project designer. Together, your artifacts will present a thorough, factual, and detailed explanation, and perhaps solution, of the topic. “

Along with the task, considering the Common Core State Standards,  I drafted a set of Essential Questions which we will consider all year:

Essential Questions:

  • Investigate: How do researchers investigate successfully?
  • Collaborate: What strategies and processes do collaborators need for success?
  • Discover and Develop Content: How do readers and writers determine and develop relevant, accurate, and complete topics?
  • Design and Organize Presentation: How do publishers design and organize content for their audience and purpose?
  • Edit Language: Why and how do editors and speakers use and edit with the rules for standard English grammar and language?

I had already drafted a rubric, and now revised it to include the Standards and the five topics of the Essential Questions. Finally, I created draft checklists that explain the rubric and allow students and I to connect and confer on the progress and growth of their work. We now have authentic work: Kids Alone.

Student chose their focus, audience, and purpose and began their investigations, collaborating in teams. I confer with each team as we discuss the checklists and transfer our progress to see how we meet the expectations on  the rubric.

Here are the project documents:

As we work on our campaigns, students are connecting with each other and with me. I provide feedback towards learning goals and standards, and peers teach peers as well. Here is one example from a team of four students: Debate: Are You For or Against Obama?  There audience is bloggers, and their purpose is to consider both sides of an issue.

So, through my connections in blogs, on Twitter, and through blogger’s books, I have developed a learning progression that differentiates student learning, expects high standards of work, and provides a venue for students to connect and collaborate as well. Since many have chosen to publish work online, their connections could grow globally.

We are all connected learners.

 


Post also part of NSD21 and DigiLit Sunday:

DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, October 19, 2014.

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#DigiLit Sunday Google Slides, Wordle, Veterans Day

My favorite presentation tool: Google Slides.

First of all, it has really advanced since the time my students created the project I will share. Take a look at this Parent Night Slideshow. Google Slides has transitions, animations, and themes to really help students learn talking points and design.

That’s part of what two students did in my class a while back. The loved Wordle.net, but wanted to bring it in line with what we were learning about presentation, and to connect it with Veterans Day.

Every year the Nespelem American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a contest for Veterans Day. The theme is usually “Honor All Veterans.” Veterans Day is an important event in our community. In all the towns around, breakfasts, dinners, school assemblies, and Pow Wows honor those who served our country to keep us safe and free. We thank all those who sponsor activities, and especially the Nespelem American Legion Auxiliary.

The seventh and eighth grade students started with a prewriting plan in Google Docs which helped them think of nouns, strong verbs, and actions of those who served in the Armed Forces. Next the students revised and edited their work.

Two students, Tristen and Mysti, asked the  students to create word clouds using their essays as the source for the words (Wordle.net ). Each then saved the images, uploaded the wordles, and pasted their essays into a Google presentation. Each student explained why they chose the colors, word arrangements, and layout. This is their gift. Thanks to Tristen and Mysti for asking their peers to join.

We asked other schools in our Quad Blog Team to comment about our project and about Veterans Day. You can read those at our student blog here.

It was an engaging way to learn writing and design while also honoring our veterans. We may just do that again this year. How about you?

Based on this post: Writing Class Veterans Paragraph

 

DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, October 5, 2014.

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#DigiLit Sunday Assessing Blogs

How do you assess blogs?

What is your purpose?

That is the question.

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DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, September 14, 2014.

This week’s DigiLit Sunday is a follow-up to Margaret’s question last week: How do I turn this activity into data? 

How do you assess blogs?

What is your purpose?

That is the question, and that determines the data.

For some, the purpose may be writing fluency. Then assessment would be to provide feedback on the increased number and length of posts.  [ CCSS: 10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. ]

As students develop fluency, suggest organization of paragraphs — not the five-sentence paragraph, but the idea of topic and support. [CCSS: 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ]

Next, add in conventions — sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.

If fluency and foundational skills are not the focus, then consider:

  • design — the theme, layout, widgets, links, focus, invitation to participate, categories, tags [CCSS: 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.] 
  • content — topic, support details, vocabulary, questions, style [ CCSS: 1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. 2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. 3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. ]
  • conventions

Perhaps the focus is writing:

  • organization
  • ideas
    •  [CCSS: 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ]
  • voice
  • word choice
  • sentence fluency
  • conventions
    • [CCSS: 5  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. ]

Perhaps the focus is collaboration:

  • research
  • connect
  • share
  • collaborate
    • [CCSS: 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others  7  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. 8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. ]
    • [CCSS Speaking and Listening 

Comprehension and Collaboration 1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. 2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. 3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.]

For a thorough review of blogging with students, see Silvia Tolisano’s work at Langwitches:

I especially like this rubric she created [click to enlarge]:

Silvia Tolisano’s Rubric

My hope is my “assessment” is a conversation with students and students with each other, so that the learning is a growth goal of which reflection inspires improvement. Therefore, an ongoing component of blogging would be a reflection by the student of the growth their blog demonstrates. If I must give score from a rubric, the important part is still the conversation, goal-setting, and reflection!

What are your thoughts about assessing blogs and gathering data?

#DigiLit Sunday #Chalkabration Poetry

sundaydiglitIt’s Sunday!

 

DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, Aug 31, 2014.

 

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We also join Betsy Hubbard’s Chalkabration.

 

 

To be digitally literate means that you communicate with the tool that fits best. Betsy asks us to share poetry in chalk, on chalkboard, on black paper, or on the sidewalk. Some people may even want to play with neon writing in apps as an adaptation. If you write or draw your poem, you’ll need a tool to snap the image and upload it to your computer to place in your blog: that could be a digital camera or phone. And perhaps your poem is fits with a video format, using an app like Vine.

 

The important idea is to choose the tools – digital or analog – that fit your audience and purpose.

summer_chalkabration

What about the poem? Of course, you’ll need to write your poem, using powerful words and chalk that colors that make your idea pop. Don’t have an idea? Read others’ poems to for a spark of an idea. Then use your powerful writing strategies to write your idea, to create an image in the reader’s mind. Snapshot. Figurative Language.

Writers don’t just prewrite, draft, revise, edit, publish. Writers are always thinking about the end — what the words look like and sound like, and how to best get those word ideas across – with color, image, video, illustration, etc. It’s a recursive process, moving back and forth into drafts to make the words, and the accompanying media, work together.

If you look at my poem in the image or Vine, you won’t see how I thought about the end of summer and moving into fall. I didn’t use “Fall” or “Autumn.” But I inserted the word “slip” as another word for fall to complete the alliteration of “Summer slips slowly.”  I then thought of “falling” to bring “Fall/Autumn” in with “slip,” adding “with leaves” to complete the connection. My colors start with spring green, summer great, yellow, and two shades of orange to move the words through the seasons. The small leaf added the final touch, the end of summer. Since the breeze kept blowing away my leaf, I added the vine, a perfect tool to accentuate the poem.

So, the writing process started with the spark of the end of summer, and through thoughtful give and take of ideas and words, my poem came alive — using the tools needed to share with other #chalkabration writers.

How about you? How do you show your digital literacy? How is your process?

 

 


Common Core State Standards

Anchor Standards

Writing

5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

6.3E Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.

Reading

6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone

7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.