My project is collaborative writing using Google Docs. I am starting with a small group in my Year 5 & 6 class. Family members will be invited to give us ideas for topics and to write with us or comment on our stories. Writing together gives students the opportunity to see how other writers turn their ideas into stories and allows the teacher to give immediate feedback.
At the start of the project, students will design infographics for each writing genre. The stories we write will be about our local area and will be published as writing exemplars in our school.
If our trial is successful, we will write collaboratively with other classrooms in our school and then with students from other schools across NZ. If you are interested in writing with us or finding out more about what we are doing please leave a comment below.
Writing frames, slow writing, digital literacy and writing for online publication are areas I will be exploring further.
Update: November 2016
We are now focusing more on the positive effects of the collaboration aspect because we have seen increased engagement in writing tasks, when tasks are completed as a group. The group members are now comfortable with others seeing their writing, as they work, and we have found that being able to see other writer’s ideas has improved everyone’s ideas.
Last week, one of the students in my group asked me why the other group from our class go out to ALiM (Accelerated Learning in Mathematics). I asked him why he thought he was coming to our writing group? “Oh yeah, because I need a bit of extra help with my writing” he said. I then explained the reason I had chosen this group was because I knew they would be successful at collaborating. We discussed in-depth the value of collaborating and how it helps our writing and learning.
The group have developed a strong shared language about how collaboration helps their learning in writing and makes tasks more interesting and achievable. Although each boy is usually competitive they now place a high value on sharing their ideas and collaborating for learning across the school day.
We have focused on writing for a purpose. The group were successful at producing a newsletter for our school. We are now skilled at using Google Docs for writing together. As we have developed many resources with our group, I have been using Google Classroom to store all assignments, writing projects and resources. We are beginning to explore options of collaborating across classrooms in our school to give students a wider audience for their work.