RM Winter 2016 FLIP

publication. Through a series of lessons, the teacher and I modeled and discussed reasons for editing and revising and emphasized doing both for publication, in this case through a digital story. Writing Lessons Prior to Publishing While ultimately the teacher and I knew the students would be publishing their work as a digital story, there was a significant amount of work we wanted to do to help the students grow as writers before they moved into digital writing. As Bogard and McMackin (2012) describe in their research on integrating traditional and new literacies, we wanted students to understand how to plan, draft, and revise as they prepared to create their digital stories. Since I was not be able to be in the classroom daily, the teacher would continue having students writing regularly in between my visits. Each of the lessons I taught connected to both this on-going writing and our ultimate goal of publishing a digital story. While I will share the order and details of my lessons, those wishing to utilize digital storytelling in their own classrooms do not necessarily have to follow my process exactly; rather, I hope they will see how digital storytelling can work seamlessly with more traditional writing instruction. Lesson one: Prewriting The week after completing theWAS, we focused our first lesson on prewriting and using our senses to describe. As a whole class, we discussed an example of a prewriting strategy as we described a pig. We explained to students that prewriting strategies would enable development of their best work, which they would be publishing as digital stories. There are many ways students can pre-write, including brainstorming, sharing orally, and using graphic organizers. We combined a bit of each of these as we conducted our lesson on prewriting. Students described the pig’s appearance (size, shape, color), movement, and sound. Examples of student responses include: 4 legs, 2 pointy triangle ears, medium size, tennis ball shape nose, black hooves, curly tail,“Oink”, and rolling in mud. Students recorded these ideas in their notebooks by creating a graphic organizer. They drew a circle and wrote“pig”in the middle with lines emanating from the circle with the ideas the class had collectively shared to describe the pig. Students were then asked to write a short paragraph describing the pig using at least five sentences. As I observed the students, I noted that some primarily focused on the number of sentences that were required instead of the quality of their writing. While discussing this with the teacher, we decided to be careful of the language we used when giving parameters for the writing tasks and would attempt to leave them as open-ended as possible. We also considered how we might have modeled writing a short paragraph about the pig and then having students select a different topic to describe using the senses strategy so that students were allowed more choice in their writing. Lesson two: Using our senses to describe During the second lesson, we reminded students of our previous activity describing the pig. We then assigned each of the five student desk clusters a sense. We gave each student a sticky

(see Table 1 for an overview), a teacher might choose to make this a much shorter unit of study by sequencing daily instruction rather than weekly. Additionally, making the series of lessons part of a consistent writing workshop where students have extended periods of time to write and share on topics of their choosing on a regular basis would likely increase student motivation to write. Table 1. Overview of Lessons 1. Practice using senses for descriptive writing. Introduce prewriting strategies. Model how to write a paragraph using prewriting 2. Divide students into groups for each sense (sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch). Have students write words or phrases describing a weather patter (rain, snow, sunshine –choose one) on sticky notes. Post notes on board under corresponding sense. Discuss examples and create a collaborative description of chosen weather. 3. Discuss the purpose of editing for publication. Introduce proofreading marks. Practice editing as a whole class then individually. Emphasize how everyone makes errors and good writers edit their own and have other people edit their work before publication. 4. Students revise an informative paragraph about weather they have written. Give students feedback using two stars and a wish. 5. Model how to revise a paragraph about your favorite season. Emphasize the use of descriptive words and explaining why. Have the students choose a season and begin the prewriting process by using a bubble map. Students should continue working on this draft. 6. Students review peers’writing using a checklist and two stars and a wish. Encourage some students to share a sentence they are proud of. Students draw pictures to coordinate with their writing. 7. Once final drafts are approved, students can begin compiling their digital stories. Demonstrate how to use the digital storytelling app such as 30 Hands. Have students create a practice story with a partner to gain understanding of the application. 8. Across multiple days, Students create their digital stories by organizing their pictures and recording their scripts with the digital storytelling application (e.g., 30 Hands). Students may need assistance by numbering each picture with corresponding sentence(s). Encourage students to play back their recordings and edit them as needed. Then students will publish their stories to create a movie. As the teacher you can download or upload these movies to share with parents and friends. Initial Attitude Assessment Before any instruction related to our digital stories project, I administered theWriting Attitude Survey, or WAS (Kear, Coffman, McKenna, & Ambrosio, 2000). This twenty-eight question Likert- scale survey utilizes cartoon images to depict various attitudes and was designed to measure writing attitudes in grades 1-12. The scored responses provide both a raw score and a percentile rank for students based on a national norm and asks questions such as: “How would you feel if your classmates talked to you about making your writing better?”and“How would you feel if you could write more in school?”For the purposes of this study, I examined the students’raw scores to determine if they had positive or negative attitudes toward writing. After the initial administration, I found that 75% of the students strongly disliked writing overall. I also found that 93% of students strongly disliked revising their own work or peer reviewing other students’work. The average answer on a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the most positive was 1.475 for both revising and peer editing. These results were concerning since peer-review and revising work are key elements of writing for

Reading Matters Research Matters

Reading Matters | Volume 16 • Winter 2016 | scira.org | 07 |


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