I’ve had a couple of crappy days this week, so when it looked like things might be easing last night, I found myself sitting at my desk, itching to make something. Let me be more specific. I found myself craving the experience of being immersed in the process of creating something. Of composing.
This collection shares resources created by educators across the Educator Innovator network who are working to transform their teaching in order to promote connected learning.
Resources in this collection have emerged from a growing partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Writing Project (NWP) designed to bolster connected learning opportunities within the national parks and reach more young visitors and educators.
This collection features the work of three Teacher Consultants from the UNC Charlotte Writing Project who explored and reflected upon how a "maker" approach to teaching English Language Arts worked to empower students in the classroom and connect them with the community.
This collection of resources demonstrates the ways that middle school teachers at a high needs middle school in Eastern North Carolina are transforming their professional learning and teaching practices with Connected Learning frameworks.
What does it look like when young people are writing on their own terms, in spaces outside of school? What new ways of composing do digital media tools open up for us, and what does that mean as it relates to literacy pedagogy and writing instruction inside of schools? This collection features resources written by Hip-hop & spoken word artists & entrepreneurs who work first-hand with youth on initiatives that center youth production and literacy.
- english class
- high school english
- social justice and art
- students writing
- writing outside
- art and writing
- connected learning
- personal story
- classroom discussion
- public voice
- civic engagement
- peer mentorship
- community connections
- community engagement
- interest-driven learning
- teacher education
- lessons learned
- Group Process
- Social & Emotional Learning
- authentic audience
- LRNG Grant
- LRNG Innovators
- meaningful audience
- broadcast media
- LRNG Innovator
- digital storytelling
- media literacy
For the past several years, PhilWP has partnered with the Independence National Historical Park to offer a two-week summer program for students in grades 9-12, giving them the opportunity to explore the history of their city, think critically about American history, and use their experiences to inspire their writing and art. In addition, the partnership provided an opportunity for middle-school students to explore the importance of creating arguments using evidence as part of their ongoing learning. In 2015, the Philadelphia Writing Project, the National Writing Project and Independence National Historical Park completed a video called The Power of Argument, featuring Philadelphia eighth-graders and highlighting the Declaration of Independence as an argument.
Keynoting and presenting in a virtual site like Blackboard Connect is sort of like hanging out with roomful of ghosts. They're very friendly and curious ghosts, sort of like Casper if he were to become a teacher instead of just a cute spirit. You feel the presence of participants in the scrolling chat room as you talk to a screen featuring slides you made and know by heart (mostly). Sometimes, they take the mic. Yeah, being a presenter in that kind of screen-based format is slightly odd.
Resources in this collection have emerged from a growing partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Writing Project (NWP) designed to bolster connected learning opportunities within the national parks and reach more young visitors and educators.
Yesterday was the fourth and final day of the 4TDW digital writing conference, culminating in Kevin Hodgson’s keynote, “A Day in the Life of a Digital Writer”. Kevin blogged about his experience here. As with all the conference sessions, a recording of the session, as well as slides and notes will be available shortly on the 4TDW home page. These are all well worth exploring.
I left a long comment on Kevin’s post then realized it was more blog post than comment. Here’s an expansion of my comment.
Fun and play can create a more engaging learning environment. One of the units in eighth grade science that exemplifies learning through creative, playful, engagement is the Rube Goldberg unit. A Rube Goldberg device is a machine that uses a chain reaction of steps to accomplish a simple goal in a complex and whimsical way. At Friends’ Central School (FCS), the eighth grade students, in groups of 2-3, build Rube Goldberg devices to learn about energy.
The prompt for the Rube Goldberg device project is as follows:
“Your device must have at least five different steps.
(This is a post for DigiLitSunday, a regular look with other educators at digital literacies. This week's theme is connected to the upcoming National Day on Writing, which takes place on Thursday with the theme of Why I Write.)
With a 2013 NPS Japanese American Confinement Sites grant, the National Japanese American Historical Society in collaboration with the Bay Area Writing Project, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and the Tule Lake Committee used newly accessible primary documents, secondary sources, photographs, oral histories, and artifacts to develop a web-based inquiry curricula for grades 4-12.
In my experience conversation flows freely when paired with food. While I wish I could offer my webinar guests an actual snack, the company and conversation that is bound to occur will be rich and rewarding, I'm sure!
I’ll be honest. I have only played Pokemon Go once or twice, and not even on my own phone. But I will say that its application of technology illustrates a major concept I want to highlight in my workshop Collaborative Writing 2.0: Learning the Moves Writers Can Make. It's that our mobile devices have had GPS and maps for several years now, but in that time, they’ve been used as just that: GPS and maps. The developers of Pokemon Go have given GPS and Maps a new purpose, so that they are a means to a new end, not the end in and of themselves. As school districts everywhere immerse their students in digital platforms, teachers of writing must think creatively about practices that harness the unique features of digital tools to help students grow as writers.
When I began my work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013, I was surprised to find both confusion and concern over teaching with technologies from the millennial preservice teachers I worked with- so-called tech-savvy digital natives. Little coursework and even fewer opportunities in practicum/student teaching placements offered experience planning for or implementing technology in the classroom. Even when I integrated digital writing projects into our methods curriculum, we still faced the challenge of transfer, as preservice teachers needed support diving into the why of designing their own digital writing projects in order to make them manageable and meaningful for their differing classroom contexts. It struck me that these were many of the same challenges facing practicing teachers in the schools I had worked in previously.
As my district moved to a 1:1 environment with Chromebooks for all students in grades 5-12 a few years ago, I couldn’t help but be excited about the possibilities of moving to digital writer’s notebook. Afterall, wouldn’t that be a more authentic, modern writing experience for students? How many of us handwrite a draft of anything these days? For me, the majority of my writing happens digitally, with my drafting, revising, and editing happening concurrently as I type, rather than as discrete steps. For many students, their out of school writing happens this way, too: on social media and in messages to friends. Despite this, I also wondered if some intangible part of the writing process would be lost or if the magic of having such a linear, messy paper notebook would hinder students’ thinking.
The post first appeared on my blog, All Hands on Deck, at the end of August 2016. It emerged as part of a discussion about remix, digital writing, etc., in the #clmooc2016 community. Kevin Hodgson and Sheri Edwards responded, beginning a thought-provoking conversation in several digital spaces. Kevin suggested I repost this here.
by Sharon Murchie and Janet Neyer
We met in 2015 at the Chippewa River Writing Project’s Summer Institute. Janet was a returning CRWP Teacher Consultant and Sharon was a Red Cedar Writing Project Teacher Consultant joining the CRWP for the summer. When given the opportunity in the institute to fashion our own inquiry project on writing, we both identified the research process as an area that intrigued us. As teachers we have always loved research — even back to the days of card catalogs, index cards, and microfiche.
Yeah, we’re geeks like that.
Research papers often get a bad reputation. But we conduct research all the time in our everyday lives. Whether we want to understand civic issues or make a major life purchase, we need research skills to sift through all the information. Research writing skills students practice in the classroom need to transfer to their lives too. The most powerful opportunities for this kind of academic learning to transfer to lifelong skills happens when students have some degree of choice about the topics and texts they will study, are able to socially construct new meaning from shared experience, and to demonstrate their skills in both writing and through other media.
As I enter my 21st year of teaching at Thurston High School in the South Redford School District, I have seen the change in how my students learn. Students in 2016 are no longer the same passive consumers of information that they were in the mid 1990s. Instead, they have transformed into creators of information they disseminate through blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos and more. In fact, hundreds of hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The transformation from consuming to producing created a need for me to change my teaching style in order to encourage student engagement.
Yesterday was International Dot Day, and this is the first year I had my students join the millions (6.6 million from 139 countries, in fact) people making circles and dots as a way to nurture a sense of creativity and imagination. The Dot Day idea stems from a picture book by Peter Reynolds, called The Dot. We connected with Peter and his brother, Paul, last school year, and we hope to do so again this year.
It's quite possible this is impossible. I am trying to narrow in on the affordances of what we mean by the phrase "Digital Writing." I may even veer way off track here, and perhaps it is best for all of us just to drop the "digital" once and for all, and just call it .. writing. Although, I, for one, still prefer the word "composing."
As an English teacher, when I say the word literacy to my non-English teaching colleagues, their eyes glaze over. They’re no doubt thinking about reading a textbook and answering questions, and they’re bored by the thought of it. But in today’s world, the definition of literacy has changed. It is no longer acceptable to only teach students what I’ll call classic literacy skills. Of course, these are important, but if we as teachers focus solely on these, we are leaving out a large chunk of literacy skills that are necessary in today’s society, the so-called new literacies. But, what are new literacies? The National Council of Teachers of English (2013) defines 21st Century literacies as the ability to:
● Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
So, consider me intrigued ... I just re-discovered the MediaBreaker tool by The Lamp as part of the Letters to the Next President campaign. MediaBreaker is like the old Popcorn Maker (I still miss you, Popcorn!) by Mozilla, in that you can layer media and text on top of video content. In this case, the idea is to make commentary on top of political videos.
[Cross-posted on Edutopia]
There is a sad truth about the way that most students learn to write: They become boring writers. To write with clarity and insight involves struggle (regardless of age). When faced with this challenge, many students are taught to detach from content, to analyze with sterile language, and to develop ideas within a narrow formula.
Structure is helpful, but if not implemented strategically, it can stifle creativity and require students to go through motions rather than investing themselves in creating something. Many of our attempts to help young people develop writing skills actually deter them from the joy and power of developing a unique, insightful writing voice.
New Ways of Understanding the Writing Process
For three months in the fall my 12th grade students designed their own learning. Each plan culminated with a project. In the fall I wrote about the fear I felt when I began to step back. There is a lot I learned from this process (and I plan to write more about it in the future.)
Designing learning in this way meant students were able to pursue topics they felt passionate about and many did so by embarking on complex projects. The result is a collection of products that go beyond traditional ideas of school work and instead speak to the abilities of young people to create work that has meaning in the world.
But, you shouldn’t trust me. Go and judge for yourself!
Radio pieces made in collaboration with Jeanette Woods at WHYY:
So, I have been having more fun that I have a right to have by making political-themed distorted graphs that have no data correlation whatsoever. I don't even think or consider any numbers when making these. Who cares about data when you have cool graphs in a misinformation campaign!
My teaching load increased this academic year, for the second year in a row. I am not alone with this struggle, but it doesn’t make it easier to cope. There might be content areas where this is easier to handle, but writing is not one of them. There might be groups of student that make an increased load workable, but first-generation, first-year students is not one of them. However, after weeping, wailing, and gnashing my teeth for a while, I remembered a key tool that could help me serve my students’ unique and varied needs while providing the support they need to grow as writers (and readers and thinkers). This magical tool is the workshop. Two weeks into the semester and I have fallen back in love with the workshop. I’ll share my love letter to the workshop in a future blog post, but this Notable Notes will share some thoughts about workshop to inspire your thinking and teaching.
One of my goals this year is to provide writing experiences that encourage young people to identify as writers and thinkers. My own school writing experiences (many of which were unmemorable), my opportunities to write in non-traditional ways (thank you Mr. Gross and Susan Lytle,) and knowledge I gained from my spouse via her time working with Pat Hoy in the Expository Writing Program at NYU, all helped me develop a structure for what I call Advanced Essays. I wrote about the details of the writing process for our 11th grade Advanced Essays elsewhere but right now I want to gloat.
I like to think I am always open to new technology for my young writers, and I am not afraid to beta test or try out new platforms that show possibilities for my students. I do make sure I try things out first on my own. As a sort of mental checklist, I consider a few things before bringing a new tech idea into the classroom:
This year I began incorporating the concept of the makerspace into my classroom. I began the process by giving students the opportunity to make something to represent the definition of a vocabulary word. They were given the options of filming a stop motion video, creating a skit, making a sculpture out of playdough, or any other ideas they came up with to show their understanding of a new word off their vocabulary list. This was just the start of our making journey in the classroom. As a class, we would soon find out this journey would consist of creativity, collaboration, and fun through expression. Expressing ideas about literature would never be the same after diving in to this making journey.
The World of MathCraft: the Inquirer (the “Inquirer” is the 2014-15 version, each year the storyline and quests changes) project is a game-based math learning experience that is integrated and aligned with Common Core Math standards (http://www.corestandards.org/Math/) that take place at school, at home, and in collaboration with the Intel Computer Clubhouse. The program utilizes a “Flipped Classroom, “ which inverts traditional learning/teaching – students build skills online (utilizing resources such as the Khan Academy), at home or outside class, and then engage in a math concepts/gaming based interactive platform with the help if the instructor while in class.
The door to my 8th grade classroom opens, and in walks a group of the district’s administrators and central office staff, including the superintendent and three principals from our district’s high school. My students don’t seem to notice, seated silently in rows, deep in their own thoughts, their attention is fixed on the computer screen sitting in front of them.
The group whispers among themselves and start back towards the door. I make eye contact with the superintendent, who whispers to me, “I’m sorry, we don’t want to disrupt. Are you testing?”
“Even better,” I say, “we are writing reflections!”
There was a pause as they stopped to consider this, perhaps trying to make sense of the scene before them. 25 14-year-olds, oblivious to the visitors in the room, absorbed with the document open on the screen before them, typing like they could not get the words out fast enough.
The link below is to the video montage of our Innovation Hour Showcase. The program itself ran three hours, so this is that experience in clips.
The video can also be viewed on the blog post "My thoughts on 20 Time" at Strawbabies and Chocolate Beer
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Eva Mejia is a Learning Systems Associate and Director of Special Programs for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Working in the area of network initiation, she leads partnerships with organizations that are launching Networked Improvement Communities and builds processes to accelerate learning and build capacity among practitioners.
Project’ is one of those words with a meaning that hinges on whether it is used inside or outside of a classroom. ... How do young people learn how to take on projects of their own? How do they learn to trust their impulses to imagine and devise - and follow through on these notions?
Codecraft Lab, a 501(c)3 public charity in Brevard County, FL, began working this school year with local public schools to create after-school clubs that teach students how to create with computer coding while focusing on student expression and creativity. Codecraft Lab currently works with three schools to offer 118 students in grades three through six the opportunity to learn to code using Scratch, an object-oriented, drag-and-drop, cloud-based programming tool designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group (http://scratch.mit.edu/about/). Scratch is designed specifically for children ages 8-16 and is used worldwide. Children create and program their own interactive stories, games and animations and also work collaboratively on team projects.
This project guide offers a method for teaching basic circuitry and developing powers of observation and persistence by building simple robots that color as they move.
There are essentially three camps among educators who support the idea of integrating video games and learning:
- those who are playing video games as a means to support student learning (e.g. Minecraft, SimCity Edu, Civilization, augmented reality simulations)
- those who are creating video games as a means to support student learning (e.g. Scratch, Globaloria, Gamestar Mechanic)
- those who are applying gameplay structures from video games to real world learning environments (i.e. gamification)
In this post I focus on the third approach, specifically on ways that intentional use of gamification can either empower or disenfranchise its participants.
Games are powerful
One of the difficulties of translating the school makerspace experience for people who are not currently engaged in maker projects with us, is that most of the work we do with students in the makerspace takes place over many days, weeks, or months. However, as is often the case when you are working in an area that generates great interest, it is necessary to find a way to boil down the experience to fit into a more limited timeframe. When my colleagues and I were asked to create a STEAM/maker experience that can be completed in two hours we were skeptical that we could design an experience that honored our principles of creating Agency, Audience, and Authenticity, while fitting within the time constraint. Ultimately we focused on crafting an experience that encouraged significant participant agency, constrained audience to the fellow participants, and hoped that this would be enough to create an experience that felt authentic.
The Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration (CLMOOC) summer professional learning is comprised not of units or weekly topics. Instead, the collaborative professional learning is organized into "make cycles" which invite participants to make artifacts or content in an effort to explore Connected Learning principles by embodying them. Make cycles are lead by intrepid teams from National Writing Project sites or Educator Innovator partners.
This resource supports make cycle leaders in preparing to lead these cycles, detailing the explicit tasks they'll need to complete, and describing the help they'll receive. The graphic below lists the tasks which correspond with the content of this resource.
Brianna Crowley is a Pennsylvania high school teacher who encourages her students to use social media tools to express themselves and expand agency in the classroom. She also asks her students to use these platforms to teach each other about a range of topics and to build a sense of connectedness and community. Before approaching her teaching, she asks students what they have to teach her.
post by Colin Angevine and Josh Weisgrau
We started a STEAM program, and three years later, we’ve outgrown the acronym.
It began when a group of upper school students approached a physics teacher about creating an advanced physics group tutorial. The physics teacher recruited a computer science teacher and the tutorial became robotics. The computer science teacher enlisted the support of a media and design teacher and the program became STEAM. By the time September arrived, our students, teachers, and school began a three year trajectory we did not anticipate.
Start with design: The hated classroom chair. We asked students to redesign them. They did. They couldn’t stop. They redesigned the classroom. Then they redesigned the school.
Last week, I read an article on venturebeat.com, describing Nancy Pelosi’s “awe” for the maker movement. The article was old, (published January of last year), but I was still happy to see this opinion vocalized, being a maker-educator, myself.
This project guide gives a series of lessons for teaching basic programming and mathematical concepts using "Turtle Art."
These lessons were developed by Miriam Leshin, Laura Kretschmar, and Aaron Vanderwerff of the Lighthouse Community Charter School, in Oakland, CA.
Guide written by David Perlis.
Popular culture has changed. No longer just television and movie franchises created by large Hollywood conglomerates, popular culture can be formed by the students in our classrooms. Our students are now both consumers and producers. Sure, they watch the latest blockbuster, but they also spend time making Youtube videos and mashups. This shift is an important one for educators to recognize when incorporating popular culture into their pedagogical practice. Adolescents and young adults are producing increasingly sophisticated forms of multimodal “text,” which include remixing dominant narratives of marginalized populations. Examples include re-messaging popular songs and video games for social change. The following four resources from the Digital Is site highlight how teachers can effectively support the critical media development of youth in their classrooms.
The Make Movement is a shift towards helping us see the value in the act of creating instead of merely consuming. As more young people spend their time online, it is important for us, as educators, to consider how we can help them develop the agency to move from being passive consumers to active creators.
For educators and parents, blogs can be tools for providing their students with relevant, purposeful, and connective writing and learning experiences. For students, blogging can offer new ways of participating in the affinity groups they are active in, or they can provide opportunities to discover and experience entirely new ones.
How do youth explore and express identity online? How can educators support students as they work through this stage of development in online spaces?
Right click. Copy. Paste. Save image as.Is it free for the taking? Or am I breaking the law? Teach and learn about fair use with the resources in this collection.
How do teachers get started? What can we learn from the digital journey of other educators? The resources here function both as stories of teachers who struggled and figured something out and as examples you might start with in your own classroom.
Many teachers are wondering whether digital writing can align with the ELA strand of the Common Core State Standards, now adopted by 45 states and DC. Many Digital Is resources demonstrate that it can.
One significant change to ‘Learning in the 21st Century’ comes in the form of “transmedia storytelling,” a process of writing and reading stories that invites participants into stories in ways that they have been unable to do before digital technologies and the internet allowed us to connect in so many ways, so quickly.
What happens when we become more deliberate in our thinking about placing text in motion and the direction suggested by the text itself? How does motion affect meaning and our interpretative process?
Our lives are awash in short form compositions. What is the impact of these brief bursts of words and characters on teens, on teaching, and on writing itself?
With so many programs and tools, the possibilities for using technology in the classroom seem endless. How do you choose which to use? How do you know where to start?
Many of us maintain profiles across an ever-increasing number of websites, effectively distributing our identities into discrete, albeit linked, chunks. How do our different online incarnations serve our goals for connecting with others?
What does it mean to be “visually” literate? How can we encourage students to be more deliberate and careful in how they look at the images that circulate in today’s digital culture?
Newsflash: The Information Age, which favored the left brain, is over, according to Daniel Pink in his revolutionary new book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. This collection explores the book and considers how the themes presented in A Whole New Mind may influence culture and education.
Released in 2009, The Digital Writing Workshop (Heinemann) blends the pedagogical approach of a "writing workshop" with the technical and rhetorical features of "digital writing." This collection features a number of resources related to the concepts presented in the book, many of which feature fellow NWP teachers and examples from their classrooms.