Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Creating Life

So many of the writing assignments that are assigned and completed at most schools are a one-way, or maximum two-way communication between the student and the teacher. The communication ends there, and it often ends in a crumpled ball tucked in between the sides of a locker and a math textbook. I've felt driven lately to give those assignments new life. I caught about 10 minutes of a lecture given by Tim Fish at the AIMS Conference on students in the Web 2.0 world. Most of it wasn't new information, but he showed this really neat personal narrative that had been brought to life through image, song and spoken word. "Wait just a second!" I thought. "Our fifth graders write personal narratives, too." Needless to say, the idea has germinated in my classroom. Fifth graders are just now drawing, downloading and capturing photographic images that somehow tell their story. We're using Voicethread to create these stories, and they'll narrate them last. I have to say, they are ALL ABOUT this activity. The public nature of voicethread appeals to their massive adolescent, post Myspace Reality TV egos. There are more ways to extend and expand written communication, whose day as a standalone activity are nearing extinction.

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