National Day on Writing

Students and teachers began writing blurbs about why they write

Today, October 20th, is NCTE’s National Day on Writing.  Many authors have contributed audio testimonials to their page about why they choose to write.

I created a Wallwisher page for students and teachers to contribute why they choose to write.  A few teachers and students began the conversation today, but because we are in our early release days for parent conferences, there wasn’t a lot of time to participate.  We’re going to continue to contribute to this page and invite you to visit the page and contribute your own reasons for writing.

Bigger, Better, Faster: Our Changing Nation

This week me and three fifth grade teachers are working with about 60 5th graders in the media center as they create final products for the Bigger, Better, Faster unit.  Students have spent several weeks researching their topics using a variety of print materials and online resources, including multiple websites and Galileo.  Students have also created their own united streaming accounts and watched videos about their topics.  Now students are working to create their final products using a variety of digital resources.  Most students have chosen to do Glogsters or Power Points, and a few have opted to make Animotos that they will link in their other products.  We explored Creative Commons as a resource for finding images to include in products, and students got to work creating.

This was my first venture into Glogster, and while it hasn’t been a perfect experience, I’ve been amazed at what the students have figured out how to do by just going in and exploring.  I showed them Glogster as one option for their final products, but I did not go into great detail about how to use it.  Students quickly figured out the features of the tool and began sharing it with one another.  The most frustrating thing for them so far has been that the free basic educator account does not allow them to upload files.  I’ve temporarily fixed that by subscribing to a one-month trial of the premium account so that we can see how well we actually like using Glogster.  

All in all, using tools like Glogster to create a final product has been a motivating experience for most students.  Instead of creating tri-boards and paper brochures and posters, they are creating digital content that can be easily shared with a winder audience.  They have worked collaboratively in groups of 3, and we’ve seen that each student is bringing his or her strengths to the groups.  I’ve stood in awe as I’ve watched one student pull up a double entry journal from the research phase of the project, which contains both quotes directly from the source and information in student words, while the other students had the final product pulled up to input the information.  I’ve watched students split themselves between 3 computers to do individual work, email their work to one another, and then find ways of putting it all together.  It has just reaffirmed the power of doing initial instruction and then giving students a space to create, at which point the teachers and media specialist become facilitators and supporters of learners as students need guidance or run into barriers.

I’ll spend the next 3 days working with these students to finish their products, but in the meantime, you can enjoy some of the early versions of their work and see how they progress.

Glogster 1

Glogster 2

Glogster 3