I’ve been spending time over this past year reflecting and evaluating on how I can be more effective in teaching writing — both to English Language Learners and my mainstream ninth-grade students.
In Kentucky writing teachers have had to cope with the 'demise' of the writing portfolio in their own classrooms, but perhaps what's worse they have had to deal with its demise in other content area classrooms. - post by tellio
“authentic audience” — in other words, someone other than me.
I like this very simple definition. Writing to learn, yes, but mostly to do since the object of all teaching is to get student to use what they learn. Writing to learn that does not result in 'doing' of some sort is... A WASTE OF EVERYONE'S TIME. - post by tellio
I’ve also been trying to pull together a list of easy online sites where students write more for an “authentic audience” and meet the following criteria:
I am a sucker for lists like this. I am just going to visit and annotate a few of these, not a bad idea for students to do either using Diigo and a blog. - post by tellio
* The writing required would be short, not lengthy pieces, that could be done in a reasonable amount of time — a few days at a maximum and preferably less.
* The creating and posting process is simple — accessible both to my English Language Learner students and to me.
* Posting the piece does not necessarily require any kind of ongoing commitment for communication — once it’s up, it might be interesting to check-back after awhile to see if there have been any reactions (if the site is set-up for that kind of involvement), but it’s really just a matter of sticking it up there in a place that gets a fair amount of “traffic” and knowing that it’s likely others will read it.
* There seems to be some kind of enforced standards for all the content that’s posted on the site. In other words, when students explore it to see models of what others have written, it’s unlikely they will encounter something that is inappropriate for classroom use.
Larry Ferlazzo's Authentic Writing Criteria in a Nutshell 1. Make 'em short to produce and do. 2. Make publishing simple and accessible. 3. Write and done and move on to the next task. 4. Make sure the publishing site has a cop. - post by tellio
you need to sign up to comment, but does allow you to do a little more indepth research on issue. - post by tellio
Recipe Key lets you drag-and-drop items into a virtual pantry
Perfect for classroom recipe books. Perfect for family living activities. Students need to know about online food info. This is one of many. In fact it would make a very authentic writing to get students to gather cool, student-centric food/recipe websites together for an annotated post. - post by tellio
Shelfari, though, seems like a very reasonable alternative. Students can create their own virtual bookshelf and write reviews of them.
I use this one and find it to be excellent. You could start a new shelfari for your class, open up a new discussion, then have students discuss the book selected. After a round of discussion you could ask students to pick a top five then create a rubric in groups that would be used to evaluate the next round of writings. I know it would have to be adapted, but wouldn't this make for interesting action research as you compare first and last discussions using this method. - post by tellio
Go here just to see this: http://www.librarything.com/zeitgeist - post by tellio
Zunal is a free and easy way for students (and teachers) to create webquests (though they might be more appropriately called Internet Scavenger Hunts).
Great idea in their demo for a math teacher to use writing as learning. http://zunal.com/webquest.php?user=1 - post by tellio
Travel DK, which lets you easily create your own online travel guides including writing reviews of attractions (Thanks to Diana Dell for the tip).
OK, you are taking a fieldtrip or a class group (Ok imagine you have the money to do this or just do it virtually). Do this guide first, then do 'reporting' while there, then do a follow up. Print the book and allow folks to buy it and buy one for the library. Documenting one's life is an old idea, but now everyone can do it. Shouldn't we show them before they make a dog's breakfast of it on MySpace or Facebook? - post by tellio
Students can pick a painting, or create their own artwork, and then write a story about it at The Art of Storytelling.
A great idea, execution is very simple, requires a quiet place for students to record. Constrained to the art in their museum, but still a great way to demo the process that multimedia production might go through: image-->script-->voice-->product-->publish. - post by tellio
Students both asking and answering questions at the various online Wiki-like sites like Yahoo Answers, WikiAnswers, and Wikianswers (yes, the last two are indeed different sites) are definitely examples of writing for an “authentic audience.”
I can't even begin to draw out the implications for authentic writing here. Perhaps the class could keep a list of running questions that need answering at one of these sites. Allow any student to publicly add to the list, take a cellphone picture of the list, prilnt it out and allow students to work at "fallow" times of the day. My motto in any classroom: always have something cool to do. - post by tellio
My Hero is a site where students can write about people they view as…heroes. You can register and create a multimedia webpage about your choices, but, even better (at least, in my view), you can go to the Guestbook area and write a short piece that appears immediately (there are automatic filters to screen content, plus it’s manually screened later).
This site has evolved quite beautifully over the last five years into one of the most interesting project sites on the web. If you like multimedia then you might like to start the year doing a film. Check it out: http://myhero.com/myhero/go/filmfestival/ff_inform.asp - post by tellio
BBC Memoryshare is a “place to share and explore memories.” The site has a cool-looking timeline where you can access memories that people have written — on just about anything.
Start you class's memory book, assign a class historian, begin to think in historical terms. The more you look, the more opportunities arise. - post by tellio