Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Utilizing an online forum and meeting the Common Core

One of the Common Core, or College and Career Readiness, Standards is to have students “use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products,” so I have been having my students interact with the book we are reading by posting on a “forum” that I set up through my website (my district uses School Center, but one could use one of the many free blog writing spaces available, Moodle, Edmodo, etc., and I require anyone who posts to have a username and password so that only my students are seeing them).  I have a variety of questions that the students have to answer that require them to use details from the text so that they are also meeting the standard to show evidence from the text.

The goal is that the students think about the text before the quiz and practice their writing skills using technology.  I provide perimeters for their posts so that the students realize that this is still formal English writing, not social media, and I provide a rubric so that they know how their writing will be graded.  I have used this assignment with non-fiction and fiction, and I do provide some class time for their initial post.  I then require them to “reply” to two other students’ posts on different questions than their initial post so that they are also interacting with each other.  I think the students enjoy seeing what their peers think about their topics and hopefully, this will prepare them for college.  I know I have taken a few post-graduate on-line courses that required me to do a similar type of activity on Blackboard.  This was an assignment that my librarian suggested, and I have been pleased with the results.

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