Sunday, February 1, 2009

Using the Tools for your Own Goals

I liked this idea from Jenny Luca:
We have to start thinking about the tools we can use that are going to extend the thinking of our students and help them make some connection to the idea that they can make use of these tools for their educational benefit.
I think that I have really gotten to this stage. I am not planning lessons around tools but vice versa. I am thinking about ways to use online resources to enhance learning goals. Right now I am most excited about the work on my seniors in The Novel elective. As we study the development of the novel through time, we have started writing our own class novel. The students are beginning to have fun with their characters and to realize that writing is entertaining for the writer too.

My goal all along has been to publish their book at the end of the semester. I have no idea how close we will get to this, but one of my students talked on Friday about making money from our venture. I was so excited about that because my non-AP students are beginning to see themselves as writers, and they may never have felt that confident about their writing before.

So, where are the tools? We have a class wiki where students take turn taking the notes for the day. This is also where I post topics and information and link to each of our blogs, where we reflect on the big ideas of each reading. We also have a page for the class novel and can use the discussion board to leave notes and ideas about the developing plot of our own work. I made a working timeline on TimeGlider of some significant dates as our characters began to develop and interact with each other. Students have written character descriptions and dialogues, which they have posted to so that they can peer review each others' work. Finally, we'll self publish on a site like this. Or some other that we find before May. Do you have any ideas or other resources that we could use?

Final learning goal: my students will know first hand what a novel is by writing and publishing one of their own collaboratively.

And, I don't see how that would have been possible before.


Susanne Nobles said...

Susan used Lulu for the 9th grade novel this year and had both bumps and successes with it, so her experience can probably make yours even smoother! I love hearing how this project is moving along and how their whole high school career is bookended around writing novels. (Interestingly, 3 of your students were not with us in 9th grade so this is their first experience).

jennylu said...

Yes. Beautifully said. This is what it is about. Learning tasks first, tools injected to give the taks wings. Thanks for posting this and of rlinking the my ideas.