Elizabeth Peterson writes about an interdisciplinary unit she conducted combining science study of Land and Water with blues songs about life on the Mississippi River - extracting rich narratives from the songs' lyrics. Pictures and music included. -JL
There are many websites designed to help educators teach reading and writing in the classroom, and this article lists some of them. Students can build their own comic strips with the help of Comic Creator, while Essay Map helps students structure their writing with outlines. Another site, Fun English Games, features tongue-twisters that help students master the parts of speech, among other activities.
Spotlight covers the intersections of technology and education, going behind the research to show how digital media is used in and out of classrooms to expand learning.
Some of the changes with writing today, Baron says, have little to do with new technology and are more the result of our increasingly less formal society. But, digital tools do bear responsibility for “flooding the scriptorium,” a phenomenon Baron likens to the way we behave at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Essentially, the huge opportunities and options for creating text (email, tweets, blogs) cause us to write (or type) more than we ordinarily would. The result is that we are less careful with our words.
The massive adoption of digital media in the everyday life of teens has reshaped social and educational practices in Latin America. A digital divide persists but youth are increasingly more connected. In Chile, for example, more than 96 percent of all students have Internet access. In Brazil, almost 80 percent of the population between 16 and 24 years and almost 70 percent of those aged 10 to 15 accessed the Internet in 2009. With that kind of penetration, digital media is creating new ways to understand literacy, learning, reading, and especially, writing. Far from hurting the writing practices for youth, digital media seems to be creating a far more complex and compelling space for them to flourish.
During what might have in the distant past been called "quiet time" in Arlene Anderson's fourth-grade classroom, many of her students are glued to their netbooks. The intense, enthusiastic focus and the hushed chatter amongst the students are all about high scores and strategy. But the students aren't playing video games. Instead, they're revising and editing their writing assignments within a web-based application that instantly assesses their writing skills and suggests ways to improve their work before turning the assignments in to their teacher. "For students, the software is an amazing self-motivator for writing, editing, and reviewing their writing," explains Anderson. "They're constantly working at learning the skills that will raise their scores."
The software and netbooks are part of the Saugus Union School District's (CA) Student Writing Achievement Through Technology Enhanced Collaboration (SWATTEC) initiative, one of a number of similar tech-supported initiatives that encourage writing across the curriculum. At the same time, the Saugus initiative is helping to prove that schools can see improvement in student achievement and engagement by harnessing 21st century tools to enhance writing skills.
Plenty of other web pages offer advice on coding, design, and stylesheet tricks. This collection, emphasizing content, rather than coding, offers advice on how to write electronic documents (mostly web pages, but also e-mail and interactive fiction). It is part of a larger collection of handouts on writing. – Dennis G. Jerz
Some tools have been making it easier for me to write lately, and I thought I'd share them with you. Over the course of the last three weeks, I've found them indispensable. They're all free, and all worthwhile.
Online interactive tools from Tom March to support students in finding a topic for a written piece, creating a good thesis statement, generating an outline, or developing a causeo and effect essay. -JL
In the 1990s, the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association established national standards for English language arts learners that anticipated the more sophisticated literacy skills and abilities required for full participation in a global, 21st century community. The selected standards, listed in the appendix, served as a clarion call for changes underway today in literacy education.Today, the NCTE definition of 21st century literacies makes it clear that further evolution of curriculum, assessment, and teaching practice itself is necessary.
Originally published in Feb. 2008, this document remains relevant, particularly for those in the humanities who may see their disciplines as refuges from the imperative to embrace technology. -JL
"I was working with 3rd graders on creating their own book trailers. It was a long-term project and I was thrilled with the trailers I had found to study with children. This seemed perfect for this grade level as book response is a part of their writing curriculum.
I believe strongly in Study-Driven/Inquiry-Based writing instruction. I live by Katie Ray's quote from her book STUDY DRIVEN, which is one of the books that has most influenced my life as a writing teacher."
This seems to be similar to Evernote, but might have more social linking capability. The idea of keeping your notes and writing 'in the cloud' can appeal to anyone who as left their materials at home. Is it right for you or your classes? That depends on just how web friendly you (or your audience) really is. ~ Dennis
This is another great tool for collecting web research and links to resources. Great for developing those digital study skills.
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