Last year I was fortunate enough to start working at a school that enabled their students and teachers to have access to technology. My first few years as a teacher I was very overwhelmed and did not use technology to its fullest potential. I was the type of teacher that would try a program once, get frustrated because the students could not get logged in, then quit and never try it again. As I started my new job, at a new school, in a new county, at a new grade level, I was determined for my attitude to change.
As the year started, I quickly learned that a teammate of mine had a passion for technology and her excitement rubbed off on me. As we were planning our writing units for the year, we decided that after each unit the students would publish their work in a unique way. This not only brought out excitement in my students but I too found myself overly excited for my students to “show off” what we had been learning and what they were capable of. I am going to walk through each writing unit and share the way I had my students publish their work.
Unit One: Small Moments Narratives–
In this unit students had to write a story about a “small moment” that has happened in their life. Many students chose to write about different memories they have had with their families. As we finished up the writing process, students started to build their small moments stories using legos. Each group had one lego kit to share and they were to create the setting from their small moment story. After the students finished building, they took three different pictures signifying the beginning, middle, and end of their story. Students then used the Lego Story Visualizer app (Link Here) to create speech bubbles for their stories. Once students completed the storyboard they exported it to a PDF to share on SeeSaw!
Unit Two: Writing Like A Scientist–
In this unit students learn to write like a scientist, but to also do the work of a scientist. They will learn to record, to question, to hypothesize, and to observe and teach others. Throughout the unit we do different experiments and students learn to record their findings. At the end of the unit, students design their own experiment and make a video teaching other students in the class how to do the experiment. The students recorded each other and we posted it onto our class youtube channel.
Unit Three: Writing Poetry–
In this unit we studied different forms of poetry and students eventually wrote their own poem. Students used google docs to type their poems and we made a class poetry anthology book. Students then recorded each other reading their poems and made the video into a QR code. We attached the QR code to their poems so that when people read our class anthology they also had the option of hearing the student read their own poem. Each student got a copy of the book to bring home. To celebrate at the end of the unit we had an “Open Mic” event. Parents and other students were invited into our class to hear the live reading of the poems. We had a microphone and a signup sheet just like at a real “Open Mic” event!
Unit Four: Opinion Writing–
In this unit students either chose to study a whale shark or a hammerhead shark. They had to write a persuasive essay defending the shark they thought to be better. After they wrote the essays on google docs, students paired up with another student and created a google slide presentation on their shark. The students then went to other classrooms and gave their presentations. Students in the other classes then voted on which shark they liked better. After all votes were in we graphed the results!
Unit Five: Fairy Tale Writing–
This was our final writing unit of the year and my absolute favorite! We studied a fairy tale (Jack and the Beanstalk) together as a class and then students had to write their own version of this fairy tale. After students wrote their fairy tale we made movie trailers using iMovie to entice readers to want to read our stories! Students had so much fun creating the movie trailers and working collaboratively. Once all the movie trailers were complete, we had a “red carpet” event. We invited all the parents and we watched all the movie trailers that we published onto our youtube channel. We made a red carpet and students put a star onto the “walk of fame”.
There are still a few of my writing units that I would like new ideas on how to publish (Informational Writing and Realistic Fiction). I hope that this year my writing workshop continues to grow and that I learn even more from my students. Through these publications, writing workshop has become one of my favorite things to teach and one of the best memories I have with my students throughout the year.