How can blogging help extend elementary students’ summary writing skills? If you’d been with me Friday afternoon at David Reese Elementary School, where I had the privilege of joining 5th grade teacher Rudy Alfonso for his lesson on summary writing, I’m pretty sure you, too, would be inspired by the integral role his class blog plays in the writing process.
Rudy opened the lesson with an interactive review of the parts of a summary, which he’s made available on Slideshare:
Next the students read a piece from Time for Kids, She’s a Fashionista. Using a graphic organizer, the students unpacked the the story. From their graphic organizer, they moved on to writing their own summaries.
But wait…there’s more. And this is when and where blogs and commenting take a paper-and-pencil assignment and extend the audience beyond Rudy. With both papers in hand, the students then head over to the scanner and upload the graphic organizer. Next, they open the corresponding blog post, Summary Writing: She’s a Fashionista blog post, click on Comment, upload their graphic organizer, and enter their summary paragraph.
But wait…there’s more. The last step is to grab a voice recorder (Rudy uses an Olympus voice recorder) and record a reading of their paragraph (which Rudy uploads to their comment).
And the impact/outcome? I asked a number of Rudy’s students about the benefits of taking their writing and their voices out into the blogosphere. Jasmine shared “I’m becoming more confident about my writing and my reading skills.” Nicole added that “Being able to write in more ways than just paper and pencil is preparing me for the future.”
Rudy summed up the paper-to-blog process as significant because in the course of a month, he – and his students – can already hear their progress (great way to document reading fluency gains!) and classmates, family, friends, and the world can follow and comment on their progress.
Good things are happening in our public schools. And new technologies, such as blogging, under the guidance of caring, innovative teachers, are helping to level the playing field beyond the confines of the classroom, school site, and surrounding community.
I had the opportunity to participate in last week’s Computers and Writing 2009 Conference at UC Davis. One of the highlights of the conference was getting to hear Bill Cope’s Saturday keynote: The Social Web: Writing in the Era of Digital Reproduction. The good news is that Bill’s keynote was recorded and I know that immediately following his address, participants cornered conference organizer Carl Whithaus with the request to post the presentation in the same way CUE posted Marzano’s presentation (PowerPoint slides in the background or as close-ups, with Marzano narrating each one), or to upload the presentation WITH the accompanying podcast.
I find it frustrating to view the many PowerPoints educators have generously uploaded to Slideshare and other venues WITHOUT an audio file or script to clarify the meaning and intent of each slide. As for Bill Cope’s presentation, each slide is probably fairly self explanatory – but, oh my, hearing Bill explain and build the case for teaching multimedia literacy is a tool every educator and administrator should have access to. So as soon as that resource is available, I’ll post the link.