For our collaborative lesson, Mr. Fisher and I decided to motivate, inspire, and support our students in their writing. Writing is a challenge for many, if not all, students at any grade level. One of the biggest challenges I have seen over the years for first graders, is that they are not excited or invested in their writing and therefore have limited writing skills. I was hoping to use technology and some great ideas for blogging from Mr. Fisher to engage my students while also increasing the quantity AND quality of their writing. I decided that my wiki site on wetpaint would be a great place to post and share student writing. So Mr. Fisher and I embarked on the Monster Exchange!!
It began with each of our classes designing and drawing a monster. Then we used the Writing Process to write sentences describing our monsters. Our next step was to record each student reading their monster sentences and post them on my wiki. Each class read the other's writing and tried to draw each students' monster. Once each class had read about and drawn the monsters, we posted the pictures on the wiki. Our final step truly created a valuable and effective teaching moment when students saw the drawings of their monsters and commented on eachother's writing! For my students, they were amazed by how much detail the second graders used and how it helped them draw the monsters. They were instantly eager to try their own writing again and add juicy words and descriptions like the second graders did! I was able to take this energy and explain how good writers can truly create a picture in the reader's mind by using descriptive and clear sentences.
Commenting on eachother's writing also introduced blogging to my students. I had groups of students discuss one student's writing and then share their comments with me. I typed them onto our blog and then had the students read their comments on the wiki. They LOVED this! It gave them a voice in so many ways! I also loved how their comments made them reflect on their own writing and what makes writing "good".
I will definitely do another blog and collaboration like this again. It will be great to let students have another try with descriptive sentences and see what they come up with! Then we can compare and see all the progress in our writing!
A HUGE thanks to Mr. Fisher's class for sharing with us and inspiring us to be great writers!!
Please visit my wiki: http://chamberlainfirst.wetpaint.com/ and go to the Writing section and then Monster Exchange to see our writing and blogging!
Here is an example of one of my students reading his monster sentences.