For this lesson I wanted to integrate technology into the writing workshop. Again with out limited resources and lack of a technology coordinator I was a little nervous. With everyone finishing their stories at different times I knew going to the computer lab would be hard. We have no assistant in the lab so I couldn’t send kids down when they were ready and many of my kids had never typed a story before so I knew they would need support. I came to find out many didn’t know how to make a question mark, quotation mark or know how to save. In the high school we have several laptop carts. I went and talked to our MS/HS librarian and luckily no one was signed up to use her laptop cart in the afternoons. My writing block was during the HS lunch period! Every day I would roll the cart over to my classroom and use the laptops in class. This was I could help the student who was done get logged on and I could be there to assist them and also the kids who were still editing their stories (though now I wish I had access to laptops all the time!). Since these computers were borrowed we talked a lot about how they were shared with the whole school and how we had to be responsible when using them. I created a template in keynote so that the students had the area to type, but also the area to draw once the stories were printed. They also created a cover, dedication page and all about the author page. After doing this I realized just how little they knew about basic typing and other word processing skills. I am glad I did this activity with them as we are planning to do a research and brochure creation project for Earth day and I know now that I am going to have to be very basic with step by step instructions. They kids seemed to really enjoy typing their stories. It made them seem completely finished and published. The students took a lot of pride in them because they said they “look like a real book!”. Next year we are supposed to have a laptop cart *fingers crossed* from the HS since they are going 1:1. I hope to allow them to publish their stories more often. This really showed me the need to have them on more, typing even small things, to allow them to have that basic practice and confidence.
The second part of this integration was after the stories we all typed, printed, illustrated and assembled, the students took photos of their stories using the new iPad cart. Luckily most kids are so familiar with the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad that it required no teaching from me. The kids who were not sure just watched a student who was familiar and figured it out. Such quick learners Then using the VoiceThread app the kids uploaded their pictures of each page of the story. Then they recorded a video of themselves reading the story over the picture. After it was over they listened to it back and posted it to their VoiceThread. They reflected on their reading by noticing how they could become a more fluent speaker (i.e. using a loud, clear voice, adding character voices, more expression, etc.). This was all to practice for when the parents came in for our final celebration and they read their stories out loud to their mom or dad. After the celebration the kids could then go online to VoiceThread and listen to their classmates stories and leave a comment. Here we talked about digital citizenship and the responsibility you have for what you post online and the comments you make online.