How can students successfully write a collaborative post (or written work)?
Build Background Knowledge (while hooking their interest)
First, we watched this video called Digital Dossier by DigitalNatives, introduced to us in Miss W's post for the Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge #3. Before playing the video, we asked them to focus on two questions to discuss after the video:
- What is a Digital Dossier?
- Why is it important to each one of us?
Following the video, we went back to our guiding questions and asked them what it was and why it's important. The students were quite involved in their discussions because of its relevance to their lives.
Introducing Tracy's Favorite Graphic Organizer
I once saw this organizer on a bulletin board and thought it was genius because it helps organize ideas while allowing for creativity.
Box 1: Introduction
- Stay safe online
- Be positive online
- a quote
- a question
- an interesting or shocking fact
- a sound (typically better for creative writing)
Box 2: Define it
Box 2 it makes the most sense to define the topic.
Box 3: First main point -- Being safe
This is based on one of the two main points from Box 1. They had to explain why being safe online is important to their digital dossier.
Box 4: Second main point -- Being positive
This is the second main point outlined in Box 1. Again, it's key to explain why it's important to be positive (instead of saying negative things about others, etc).
Box 5: Conclusion
Box 5 is actually a repeat of Box 1, but for the purpose of concluding. I emphasize that repeating something from Box 1 gives the reader a sense of closure.
Collaborating on the Writing
We organized the class in five groups and asked who wanted to write each of the five parts based on the graphic organizer.
Within each group, we had one or two typers (sharing their document in Google Apps), editors, word choice wizards, and task masters (helping with ideas and focusing the group). It's important to clearly define the roles in each group, and to talk about norms of collaboration, so the groups work together smoothly. Taking the time to set the tone for collaboration is worth it.
When the groups were ready, they filled in their part of the graphic organizer, then started working on their paragraph(s).
As we collected each of the groups' paragraphs electronically, I had a few students help with the final draft. It was hands-on modeling the revision process. They grappled with tense, point of view, and voice. They also chose to put the video in for depth, as well as links to other blogs.
Click here to see their final product.
Alternative way to use Tracy's Favorite Graphic Organizer
Learning how to collaborate is a necessary 21st century skill, through experience will become a learning habit.
Modeling the writing process is key to developing the writer, and so is writing for an authentic purpose and audience. Blogging has been one of the easiest ways to model and build in the authentic audience.
- What tips and trade-tricks do you share with your students to develop their confidence in writing?
- How does working collaboratively improve the final product?
- What else grabs your attention in this post?