Learning with Tech @ BLGPS
August 2012 Issue
Collaborative Story Writing
Two heads are better than one
Writing stories is a common activity asked of young children, but often the hardest parts of writing the story are developing the idea and getting started with that first sentence. Having children collaborate on writing stories may bring into play the "two heads are better than one" idea, allowing for language and plots which can be enriched by a variety of ideas and student backgrounds. Collaborations during the writing process offer support for writers, according to Short and Harste in Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers. Specifically, they remind us that through "a shared writing process, writers are able to offer demonstrations to each other about strategies they use while composing." The group process supports less proficient writers, partly because they can participate in grand writing activities while feeling "less overwhelmed by the amount of writing they need to contribute to the book."
Based on her research into collaborative writing, Helen Dale believes that: "Writing together allows students to work through the writing process in a social context in which they can both see the variations possible in areas like brainstorming and organizing and also experience the recursiveness of the writing process."
Online collaborative writing tool - TitianPad
With TitianPad anyone can instantly create a collaborative document. You do not have to create an account to use TitianPad, in fact creating an account isn't even an option. To get started just click "create public pad," enter your name, and start typing. To invite people to collaborate, just share the url assigned to your TitianPad. Every collaborator on TitianPad is given a unique color to highlight the text they've added.
A simple collaborative storytelling lesson using TitanPad
Pupils will be instructed to sit on the floor so that they can participate in the pre-writing discussion.
Teacher will show the 3 pictures of the composition for the writing practice, one at a time, in correct sequence. Teacher will use the 5W 1H strategy (i.e. Who, When, Where, What, Why & How) to elicit ideas and responses from pupils for the story.
Pupils will be assigned to work in groups of (two or three). Each group will be instructed to log into a computer and proceed to the “bank” (a folder created in the school computer sever) which is a central repository where pupils can access materials and resources they need for the lesson they are attending.
In order to participate in the lesson, the pupils will click on the “Come In” shortcut (of the unique TitianPad's URL address) which will allow them to enter the virtual space where they will be writing collaboratively as a class.
Each group will be assigned to write one part of the story.After the given time, pupils will be instructed to return to the floor to resume the story discussion. Teacher will read the story to the pupils. Teacher will ask if the story make sense. Teacher will introduce and explain the word “coherent” and “coherency”. Teacher will also lead the pupils to see/ realize that in order for a story to make sense (coherent), the parts which make up the story must be properly linked. The parts of the story should be placed in an order that makes sense. Specifically, every sentence which tells a part of the story must be linked to the sentence before it as well as after it.
Teacher will recap what they had learnt in the writing practice. The collaboration would have made it easier for the pupils to observe the importance of coherency in a story. Specifically, if the pupils had not taken into account what was being told to the reader before and after their part, the story will likely not flow well or even make any sense. This will help to sensitize the pupils concerning coherency in their own writings in the future.
Tips and Tricks for MS Office
Adding Visual Impact with SmartArt
Add a SmartArt graphic to a slide in one of the two ways :
1. To insert SmartArt into a new slide, click on the Home tab on the ribbon, then click on New Slide. The new slide will provide helpful icons to insert specific types of content.
Click the SmartArt Graphic icon.