If you have a class blog, you may want to add an extra dimension by blogging collaboratively with three other classes from across the world. Up to four classes may blog simultaneously.
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Jim Lerman's insight:
I tried this out on some longish pieces...1000 words or more. The tool did a very good job of reducing several articles by about 50-60% in size, while preserving very well the meaning of the selection. I did this about 4 times and was quite impressed with the quality of the summaries. This could prove quite useful for students of all ages, as well as busy educators.
by Laurie Haag,
"I teach 7th and 8th grade writing, and while I aspire to have writing conferences on a weekly basis, I just can't seem to find the time or format that works for me and my students. I would appreciate any tips as to how others are achieving this in their classrooms."
Jim Lerman's insight:
A number of useful suggestions have been posted in response to Haag's inquiry, something almost every teacher of writing wrestles with.
by Med Kharbach
"Writing workshop relies on a set of core principles and one of these principles is about giving students the chance to publish and share their works with others. Below are some of the web tools you can use to publish your students work. check them out:"
"One effective way to teach students argument writing (specifically the use of a clear claim and sound evidence and warrants/analysis) is by asking them to solve mysteries. I found a great article online about a real-life murder mystery and wanted to share it with you:"
by Sarah Tantillo
"The most important [close reading] skill you can teach your students is how to ask questions. To be effective at reading a text—any text: a story, a poem, a graph, a painting, an opera—you need to be able to ask good questions. As The Literacy Cookbook explains, questioning is an essential step in the comprehension process. Let’s review how it works:"
Jim Lerman's insight:
If you're into professional development regarding writing, the site housing this webinar is the entryway to a host of resources on CCSS writing on the middle and secondary level. The webinar itself offers a good discussion of the planning for a year-long PD program. Be sure to follow the links to the several websites on this page; they take you to a mountain of resources.
"Every film shares the same common narrative, which is constructed with six sequential sentences:
Once upon a time ____________________. Every day, ___________________. One day, ___________________. Because of that, __________________. Until finally ___________________________________."
Via Gene Bodzin
by Shelly Terrell
"Every day people share the stories of their lives through images and short video clips on Instagram. We heart them and comment on them. Instagram is the social network for us to visually share what is important to us and many of our students and their parents visit Instagram daily. We can use this popular free mobile app and social network to engage our students and get them to connect with our subject matter. With Instagram you can have unlimited image and video uploads, edit and filter images and videos, create 15 second videos, and also use it with your Android or IOS devices. You can tag others, use hashtags, geotag your uploads, and post to other social networks. Your students can also turn in images to you via direct upload. Find out more in my recorded webinar and the slide presentation below. I have also listed resources to help you teach withInstagram. Remember, your students need to be 13 years-old and up to have an account."
by Demetri Lales
"Newsela strives to complete two learning goals: the first is helping students improve their reading comprehension skills, and the second is teaching students about current events. The different Lexile levels open up the platform to a broad range of students who can manually adjust to the level that is right for them. Young students may find the ability to lower the Lexile level very valuable. It could enable them to understand current news more easily. Teachers may find the combinations of quizes and articles useful for testing students' reading comprehension levels."
You probably won't recognize these storytelling elements from creative writing class.
"Karen Dietz's insight:
Not only is this a great tool to use, but what I really like about this article is that is hows how to use it!
"And it gives more background on how the table was created (culled from TV plots).
"The table creates wild and fun plots to play with -- even for business stories! In fact, you may find some of yours buried in here.
"Or if you are stuck for stories, play around with the table and I bet you will find some to tell from your real life.
"In any event, this should keep you busy and happy for awhile :))"
Via Karen Dietz
by Jim Burke
Welcome to the Writer's Workshop
by Michael McLaughlin
summary by MiddleWeb SmartBrief
"Students in Kristen Zodrow's class at Basalt Middle School in Colorado are participating in a cultural exchange with students in Pakistan through a partnership with the Global Kids Connect program. The students write letters and posters for their Pakistani pen pals, and they create videos to express their views about honor, ownership and tolerance. "The object is to improve relations and help understand we may have a lot of differences, but we also have a lot in common," said Jodi Fischer, executive director of Global Kids Connect."
by Jennifer Isgitt
"I’m ready to assess my students’ blogs from the first semester. Does anyone else feel like the first time you assess any new assignment that you’re just trudging through murky molasses? I’m so slow at the assessment piece right now.
"I’ve been looking around at student blogging rubrics as I try to decide which components a) I’ve actually taught and b) seem to represent my objectives for blogging as reader response. I know that I should have had a rubric before we even started all of this, but I just jumped into the project with many unknowns.
"I’ve learned that about the only way to force myself to do something new is to just start doing that thing before I have completely concrete plans. My apologies to whichever group of students has to do the project first!...
"I’ve been trying to create a rubric, so I’ve been searching the web to see how other teachers are evaluating their student blogs. Here are four that I like:"
by Matt Asay
"I work for an engineering-driven Big Data startup, so I understand the importance of engineering and I don't for one minute doubt that Silicon Valley's war over engineering talent is justified and will only increase.
"Small wonder, then, that ananalysis of the salaries of University of Virginia graduates found that systems engineering and computer science graduates stand to make more than twice as much as their peers studying the liberal arts.
"A strong developer is worth her weight in gold, but engineering is only half the picture in any tech company, and certainly in any startup. For every company that can develop an incredible hardware or software product, there are more companies who fail in the attempt to get someone interested in buying that product.
"This is why former Twitter and Google executive Santosh Jayaram told The Wall Street Journal that "English majors are exactly the people I'm looking for" in building up his startup, Daemonic Labs.
"English majors, according to Jayaram, can "tell stories," which is increasingly the difference between success and failure in a startup:"
Sarah Tantillo shares a simple, user-friendly graphic organizer that can help teachers unpack the ELA Common Core standards and design objectives and activities
"Often seemingly “simple” standards require extensive scaffolding, and some of the complicated ones are even more complicated than they might appear. (For example, Calkins, Ehrenworth, and Lehmanrefer to Writing Standard #9 as “the standard with twenty standards hidden within it,” and I don’t disagree.) To unpack the standards, you need to do the following:"
by Christopher Pappas
"Digital magazine creation is an endeavor that will encourage your students to express their knowledge in creative ways and will allow them to produce something that they can be proud of. Use these 5 Best Free Digital Magazine Creation Tools for Teachers in order to provide your students with the tools to create a great digital magazine."
Writers experience a ridiculous range of emotions throughout the writing process: excitement when a new idea comes along; satisfaction and joy when a work-in-progress is completed; and fear at varying intervals between.
by Brian Sztabnik
"It got me thinking about a theory of four. Could I boil down the many facets of writing to four essential steps? We want our students to achieve clarity, could we model this by giving four clear steps before writing. To achieve this, I went through 10 years worth of AP exams and read the high-level sample essays looking for the common threads. What did good writers do repeatedly?"
by Daniel Melbye
"For years nonprofits have used storytelling as a way to share the impact of their work with donors and the community. Typically these stories illustrate a specific case of how individuals and communities have been transformed through these charitable projects. These stories often provide the reader with an emotional connection to the non-profit and can serve as powerful examples of how an organization is truly working to make a difference.
"Many people might consider data to be something of a boring topic that is unlikely to inspire potential supporters and that is of limited use to non-profits seeking those developing rich content, but data can be used to share stories that gives organizations the power to both better understand the impact they’re making and share it effectively with others."
by Anna Small Roseboro
Here are samples of the Six Traits © Rubrics for Writing that has been customized to highlight specific requirements for specific assignments. When using the General Grading Guidelines for Writing, it’s important to show students what is required to earn each letter grade. Customizing the familiar rubric makes those requirements clear. Students can self-check before submitting their work, and are seldom surprised with the grades they receive.