*Powering Up the Writer’s Workshop

 Mike Porter and Mary Vedra

Come join representatives from two school districts (Englewood and Littleton Public Schools) describe their partnership to infuse technology into the intermediate grades literacy blocks. We’ll discuss the low cost hardware and software used to “Power Up” the writing process. Then, and most importantly, we’ll walk through the writing process and share at how technology can complement every step, from prewriting, drafting, self-and peer editing, conferencing to 21st century publication methods. After this hands on section, we’ll discuss the results that we’ve seen in our districts, where teachers are saying things like “The use of the laptops has transformed the way I teach writing. I can’t imagine going back to pencil and paper. I’m thrilled with the progress my students are making and I”m sure my writing scores will reflect that as well.”

 

  • Powering Up the Writer’s Workshop
    • CoLearning 2009

 

  • Powering Up the Writer’s Workshop:
    • Background:
      • 2008-2009 EETT Grant from CDE
      • Summer 2008
    • Focus:
  • Improve writing practices using a consistent approach to technology integration
    • Connect to the writer’s workshop model

 

  • About the hardware…
    • eeePC
      • Pre-conditions
        • Bandwith
        • Open wireless networks
        • Filtration on the network, not the device
    • Bretford cart
    • Printer
    • Mice/flash drives for students

 

  • Professional Development:
    • Kickoff (4 hour session)
      • everyone involved – teachers, principals, IT, coaches, etc
      • Teachers sent home with computers to play with for a few weeks
      • Full intro to technology
      • Management discussions and brainstorming
      • Troubleshooting training
    • Session 2 – Prewriting
      • (remaining 2 hour sessions with 2 hour follow ups in class with tech coaches coteaching)
      • Graphic organizers, seed ideas, podcasting as a prewriting tool
    • Session 3 – Drafting
      • Kids get stuck on conventions
      • Teacher shown how to turn off squiggles
      • Basic program operations – Open Office
    • Session 4 – Editing
      • Color coding topic sentences
      • Find/replace training
    • Session 5 – Publishing
      • Focused feedback with Insert comment
      • Blog tools – blogger
        • Students sign blog entry with initials only
        • Can be approved or rejected by teacher before comment is posted

 

  • Support Structures:
    • In-building
      • Tech coaches brought in
    • Integration Specialist
      • Once a week with teachers
    • Online Professional Development
    • Cross-district “sister school” visits
      • Littleton and Englewood schools paired up
      • Visiting across district and school
      • Partnered high income school with low income school
      • Partnered small population with high population

 

  • Levels of Integration:
    • Low
      • typing/word processing from paper & pencil
      • Some editing/spell check
      • Published work only
    • Middle –
      • Web-based graphic organizers used
      • Not all steps in process on technology
    • High –
      • Full writing process completed on computers
      • Blog publishing
      • Podcast prewriting
      • Online organizers (mywebspiration, bubbl)

 

  • Lessons Learned:
    • Blogging can be a transformational tool
    • Support is needed—co-teaching model is absolutely in valuable
    • Machine access matters—strong (but not absolute) correlation between access and integration.
    • Lessons Learned, cont’d.
    • Cross districts partnerships have been extremely positive.
    • Process of classroom management cannot be modeled enough
    • Student “ownership” and personal responsibility for the hardware has been amazing

 

  • Final notes: areas for improvement
    • Full access matters
      • Teachers have to know the machines are there
    • Publication as a process
      • Across content
    • Cross district collaboration should have happened earlier

 

  • Things we got right (or lucky):
    • Revised PD Model
      • 2 hour session with 2 hour in class co-teaching follow up
    • Teacher professionalism
    • Alignment of PD
      • Not teaching the tech, but the content
    • 5th Grade
      • Participating classes show improvement on Language Arts MAP test

 

 

Maine has a lot of research and experience with 1-1 programs.  Test scores have improved across the board as measured by state pencil/paper test and technology tests.

 

MyAccess – online tool where students write to a prompt – AI grades their writing and can provide feedback in other languages – Englewood and Littleton using in middle school and up