Today we experienced the best collaborative writing experience I’ve ever been part of. Lisa Parisi and Christine Southard’s 5th grade class in New York is involved with my class and a group of other teachers around the country in a writing project using the book “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.” I blogged about it the other day. Lisa’s class and mine are paired up for this project and today we had our classes collaborating in two innovative ways.
Students discussing their shared story while co-editing it in real time via Google Docs
The students are collaboratively writing stories in groups of 3 or 4 using Google Docs. Today they logged into their shared Google Docs so they could write and discuss the stories they have been brainstorming at the same time. What made this truly transformative was we also set-up computers in our rooms with web cams and had the students working on the same stories discussing characters and setting and plot and everything else involved in their stories over video-Skype, while at the same time editing together via Google Docs. So they were discussing and watching each other edit and add content while seeing and talking to each other at the same time.
Google Doc – students used different colors to keep track of whose work was whose.
I was being observed by a mentor teacher and her 3 mentees during this time … they were blown away by what was happening. Read Lisa’s post to learn about her experience with her principal.
Students discussing comments being left by their writing partners 2,500 miles away.
We are hoping to recreate this experience and maybe even have more computers to Skype with so conversations can continue.
Afterwards I had my students blog about the experience. We used these questions to drive our thinking. Note the word bank we were developing at the bottom.
Learning is messy!