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Erin Klein - Digital Writer’s Workshop

Erin Klein - Digital Writer’s Workshop

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Published by Classroom 2.0 Book
The writer’s workshop is one of the most powerful tools for teaching students to write well and promote thoughtful peer review with significant teacher-student interaction. This paper explores collaboration and publication with appropriate digital tools.
The writer’s workshop is one of the most powerful tools for teaching students to write well and promote thoughtful peer review with significant teacher-student interaction. This paper explores collaboration and publication with appropriate digital tools.

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Published by: Classroom 2.0 Book on Jun 28, 2012
Copyright:Attribution No Derivatives


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Digital Writer’s Workshop:
Troubleshooting through Collaboration & Refection
Erin Klein
Creative Commons License:
Author contact:
Author Biography:
Klein has worked with teach-ers across the state of Michigan to help developcreative ways for technology integration into the
classroom. Though Klein rmly believes in preparing students for a global society, she
continuously reinforces that technology is simply a tool to support and enhance instruc-tion – the teacher and the students drive the learning. Those who have worked withKlein state that the most surprising aspect they walk away with is seeing how truly mo-
tivated the students become. Not only are her resources benecial, but her enthusias
-tic approach is contagious as she works with fellow educators and students. Klein is
the technology co-chairperson for the Michigan Reading Association, a national A PlusWorkshop Presenter, SMART Technologies Exemplary Educator, Really Good Stuff Monthly Blogger, Edutopia Guest Blogger, National Writing Project member, TeachingBlog Addict Business Manager, guest contributor to Edudemic, EdCamp Detroit Orga
nizer, and award winning EduTech Blogger at Kleinspiration.com.
Activity Summary
The writer’s workshop is one of the most powerful tools for teaching students to write well and pro-
mote thoughtful peer review with signicant teacher-student interaction. This paper explores collabo
ration and publication with appropriate digital tools.
Class or subject area: Language ArtsGrade level(s):
Specifc learning objectives:
The student will explore new forms of creative writing.
The student will cultivate the art of revision as part of the writing process.
The student will incorporate Internet technology as part of the learning process.
The student will acquire the knowledge of how and where to publish her/his creative writing.
One of my favorite platforms for publishing student’s stories is Storybird. Recently, a colleague wastelling me how her class just published their stories in writer’s workshop. Together, we decided toshare their written compositions digitally, through Storybird.
What is Storybird?
Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print. Read them like books,play them like games, and send them like greeting cards. They’re curiously fun.Reasons I love Storybird:The ease of the program - six year olds can do it!Beautiful illustrations available to select fromOpportunities to share work: email, embed, etc...Safety features - you can even get a teacher account for each classNot only can kids publish work, they can also get feedback on their work from others through com
-ments (way to naturally teach dialogue and digital etiquette)
Students can create a summary of their work to publish
Include ‘tags’ for their work (great way to incorporate a mini-lesson on main idea or adjectives)
Parents can purchase a hard or soft printable version of their child’s storyKids truly become published authors!I recently introduced a new favorite nd, Mee Genius, a free site for reading and viewing digitalpicture books. I mentioned how this site could be a platform to use prior to introducing Storybirdto students (in effort to get children to publish their stories online). I’ve received a few emails withquestions about how I use Storybird in my class. One email in particular inspired me to share myresponse. A new friend, Marty, had a question for her second grade classroom. First, I’d like to men
tion how thrilled I was to see that such technology was being introduced to second graders - howbenecial to give them the opportunity to become published authors.
This was Marty’s main concern...
“I have had my students begin using this wonderful resource (Storybird) this year. They initially werevery excited to read stories and put their pictures into their personal books. But, now that they arewriting the stories to go along with the pictures they are getting bogged down. Not all of them, of course, but even some of my best writers are having trouble.”
The following is my reply to Marty and her second graders...
“I can understand how from our perspective this could be quite the engaging task; however, once youintroduce it to a class, the sparkle only seems to remain for a short period. Once they realize theyhave to ‘work,’ the motivation seems to zzle. This occurred with my middle school students as well.I found what worked best for our kids was to:- psych the kids up about being published authors- explain that their work will be read by people all over the world - how exciting!- have the writings be completed before they go to the web... I’ve found that often kids can’t nd theright words to go with the pre-made illustration -- they become frustrated trying to make their stories‘t.’ However, if they already have a draft of a story, it becomes easier to chunk their sentences to
import into different pages to represent the given art work.
- The key for me was to do a whole class Storybird as a model rst. We did this by reading a shortstory from our textbooks, and then retold the same story, in our own words, through Storybird. I foundit easier to start creating Storybirds by rst having the writing done before logging in - and not creatingoriginal, creative pieces but rather simple retelling stories.- At rst, most of the kids were so literal about retelling the events. For example, we did a retelling of The Titanic. Kids were so frustrated because they couldn’t nd illustrations in Storybird that includeda big ship or water or ice burgs. Then, luckily, our Leah had an amazing moment. She understoodhow to interpret the story into a creative manner. She had her writing completed rst, and then beganto search for inspiring art from Storybird to represent her story. Her high school cousin helped her athome to work on her project (what a natural Tier 2 home intervention). I was so excited that she, onher own, sought out additional support to complete her project. Leah has given me permission to tellher story. Leah named her protagonist “Spoon.” I thought this was so creative and adorable. Whenasked about how she came up with this name, she explained that she and her cousin were discuss
ing ideas for the story over dinner -- hence, she was eating with a spoon. She thought I would thinkit was lame and silly. Quite the contrary... when she rst told me this, it was through a whole class
discussion - each child turned to me wondering how I’d handle this idea of just giving a random name
to a character. We took advantage of this teachable moment to explain how creativity stems fromour own lives and how our audience begins to relate to us as authors as we begin to humanize our 
selves and make connections to our readers. Then, I began to see others take the permission (thatI thought was assumed) to think outside of the box. Leah offered her peers something that I couldnot... an authentic example of how to tap into an internal, creative spark that each of them possessedyet didn’t realize where to nd. You see, as much as I told them that they were all creative, they didn’tsee it. They thought they had to be these experts, artists. Now, they started to see life as a creativeopportunity - common objects began to personify themselves... I was able to tie in gurative lan
guage mini-lessons into natural conversations within the classroom. Students began to swap ideasfor metaphors -- collaborative learning took off in a way that I could have never asked for... they tookover the class. I was in teacher heaven. I wasn’t leading the discussion but rather bopping back andforth between groups to either offer advice or listen to an idea a group couldn’t wait to share with me.Kids were even buzzing at lunch about their stories and encouraging others (families, teachers, andfriends) to view their work. We began to work in our celebration stories as a part of our daily classdiscussions. This encouraged others to jump on a computer and x up their stories.
- Another idea we did that worked was to offer choice. After students had a start on their writing
drafts, they were given a choice to publish their digital writing stories. Not everyone chose to do aStorybird. Actually, I found that mostly girls gravitated to Storybird. The boys in our classes (2 sec
tions of 7th grade language arts) chose to create a Capzles or a Glogster. The males were into up
loading video into their digital posters via Glogster. They needed multi-media.
- I will share with you the document I used to introduce the digital writing project (click here and down-
load the Word le - next to the Voki). The choice option gave everyone a creative inspiration. With
out the children realizing it, I personally created a Capzles (see here), a Glogster (see here), and aWeebly website (see here) so that they could be introduced before I even threw the assignment their way. Then, they were comfortable with the web 2.0 sites before I even asked them to use them for aproject. Naturally, when the kids saw my personal Capzles, they wanted to know how I did it so they

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Lisa Boze' added this note
Thanks, Erin. I like this lesson and will incorporate the writing websites into my instruction with 7th graders. This will motivate my struggling writers.
Melissa Dillon Dills added this note
Erin, Great ideas on digital stories. I teach K and am blessed to have 5 ipads in my classroom. My students can't get enough of them. I have found that reluctant writers are encouraged to write and with the app I use (StoryKit) they are all able to be successful! You can check out some of their work on my blog: http://www.kindergartenipads.blogspot... Melissa Dill
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