ELA teachers spend a huge chunk of time reading and responding to student work, as well as teaching student how to think critically about what they read. This activity is about thinking how you can leverage the collective intelligence of your students to engage them in a learning community. Last year I got to experience first hand how a collaborative learning platform impact the experience of a student. Even though the content was dry, its was hands down the best class I’ve ever taken. The facilitator designed an environment were we sought and got quality feedback from our peers. She probed our thinking. But the lions share of the work was on us and I learned a tremendous amount from the other participants.
As we move forward, you should be considering what kind of management system you will use to create this blended environment.
1. Check out a 2 min overview of Collaborize Classroom.
Here’s how Catlin Tucker, a 9th-10th grade English teacher uses Collaborate to help students develop essays in her class.
“…I use my site (Collaborize) for creative and formal writing all the time. I like to use media (bizarre pictures or interesting videos) to inspire creative writing on a variety of topics. I create a Vote or Suggest question type and embed the media, then ask students to post their story or poem. After everyone has submitted their creative piece, I ask them to vote for their favorite story. It has been so fun and validating for them. I can tell they put much more effort into their work because they know their peers will be reading them, replying to each other and voting for their favorites.
When we work on a process paper for a formal essay topic, I ask them to post parts of their essay for peer review. One night I will ask them to post their introduction with hook and thesis for peer feedback. Then I have them select their strongest example of a quote with analysis to share since so many of them struggle with analyzing. I will also post feedback if the class does not catch and error, but it makes my job so much easier since they do a great job of providing each other with constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement (especially after we practiced a few times).”
2. Brainstorming for ELA is a must. Check out these two. How could you use these in class? Discuss with a colleague.
- This one is for one users.
- Create an account after your finished.
- Invite others to collaborate
- Accepts multimedia
3. Have more time? Checkout Paper Rater and other Tools for ELA.
4. Vote and head back to the main page to take the exit survey.