Session # 3: Technology Tools, Tips and Apps to Make Your Writing Workshop Cutting Edge with Cornelius Minor
As we settled in to our seats In Milbank Chapel, Cornelius (AKA @MisterMinor) had these three questions on the screen for us to talk about with a person near us.
- What do you want to do in terms of workshop?
- What do you hope for in terms of “digital literacy”?
- What do you need to learn today to get you there?
We had not even begun and Cornelius had us thinking about our goals and purposes for the session as well as “TALKING” and “doing the work”! I was quite happy as I knew I was in the “right place”today!
Cornelius described himself as “a bit of a tinkerer” as he promised us cool techniques to blow up our writers workshop. That is an understatement as Cornelius has a great deal of knowledge about technology and always keeps his work practical!
As you read this post consider:
What are you already doing?
What could you add?
What could you do – more efficiently or effectively with technology?
Cornelius reminded us that the writing process is everything. Tech in the past has ranged from a hammer and a chisel to reed and papyrus. We have more options if we consider his definition of tech – “any device that helps me do my work better”. (As I sit here with four devices open, I’m wondering about the “do my work better” part as tech has again failed me this morning, but more about that later!) And to illustrate his point, Cornelius used the writing process as his organizing framework for his presentation!
Where do we begin?
- Prewriting or collection
Simple, begin with talk. We were to find someone who was not our partner. Ah, yes, the dreaded workshop facilitator move of, “Get up out of your seat and go talk to someone somewhere else in the room!” Then we were talk to that person about where we were from and how we traveled to TCRWP. We returned to our original seat mate partner and told the story that our “new friend” had shared.
a. Talk to someone outside your circle – Tell that story
b. Find a picture on your device (30 seconds) – Tell the story of that picture
What if students don’t have a picture? Send a device home so they students can take a picture and tell a story. Goal: Use technology to foster experiences, the source of narratives, so that talk can lead to writing!
Content Area Idea Collections: We watched “Climate Change with Bill Nye 101” and then used Today’s Meet to “collect ideas from all the participants in the room. When you need ideas in response to something, consider “Today’s Meet” or even a common google document to collect those ideas. Or for additional ideas, find an expert in your community and face time with them so you bring video into the classroom and expand the world of your students!
a. Today’s Meet – generate ideas in class
b. Face time – Bring in expert from outside
How can you increase production before drafting?
Choice . . .
Establish a personal help desk . . .
Students doing the work . . .
Increasing student agency because students are doing the work . . .
Cornelius called this the “hustle plan” . . . setting up students with their own personal help desk. Who are the three people who can help you when you are stuck? This list cannot include your teacher or your parents? Who would your three be?
A brother or sister of a friend?
- Having a list of three people to go to for support and then setting up those lines! (Using phone to call and ask if the person would be willing to help when stuck!) Just think about who will be doing the work here . . . who is already building their own PLN?
What about drafting?
Use the camera on your device, any device, to tell your story. That may have been your rehearsal, but now it can also be a part of your drafting process. Before you begin drafting, think about the structure of your piece. Use the structure to help you tell your story!
a. record your draft (audio or video)
b. consider the structure while drafting
This works for all ages. Melanie Meehan blogged about a kindergarten student in January of 2015 as she planned her writing. ANYONE can do this. No more “I don’t know what to say.”
How can technology support Revision?
Up until this stage, all of the participants had been using “tools” that came with their device: camera, audio record or video record. (Although some of us are less familiar with those features than our students!)
An app to help with revision is “Skitch”. You can take a picture and then write, type or draw on top of that digital picture. Partners working on revision could actually annotate the text together!
Use the app skitch to share text for revision and then consider multiple ways to revise – word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph levels. Where could a graphic be helpful?
And the most important part of the writing process?
Celebration is the most important part of the writing process! (according to Cornelius) We have data from year after year that tells us that if the teacher is the only audience, kids don’t always write well! “Put the writing where the people are! Laundromat, coffee shop! Not just class blog. Nickelodeon. Teen magazines.”
Find real audiences for students outside your classroom!
Our final To Think About from Cornelius:
“Analogue writing is monologue; digital writing is dialogue.”
What’s your purpose for student writing?
How would we know?
And what are you going to change, add or delete from your current writing process work?
(I didn’t forget about those questions at the top of of the blog post. How can you re-energize your writing workshop for the final months of the school year?)
I shared my notes (in word) with my pc so I could return to using it now that I am back in Iowa. Surprise! Surprise! No menu bar in WordPress so I could not add a new post. So odd! Therefore, I continue to work on my personal Mac. I copied my notes from Saturday into the draft. I considered my own purpose as I felt the writing process framework was the heart of this post and the part that I needed to process in order to explain it to colleagues. (Any errors in the retelling are all mine!) My goal was to make this as doable as possible and yet also add text features to make it EASIER to find the main points in a reread of the text! I was anxiousing – so much to do – time was running out – so all errors would definitely be mine!
Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!