Friday, March 9, 2007

Project Juggling

[Cross-posted from 1001 Teachers]

Michelle's discussions were interesting to read and prompted me to add this post about my classes' Flat World Writing session yesterday (Thursday in Honolulu). We were working on feedback only. (Okay, now several anecdotes are popping into my head).

First, two students were sitting next to each other making their way through the organization rubric and their partners' stories. The first student's partner had not posted a second draft. So I asked if she put her partner's number and name on the 4th column. She said no. I asked why. She said that if her partner looked under history, she'd know who put her name up there, and she didn't want to make trouble (sorry for unclear pronoun references). So I asked her how she'd feel if she took my class, did no work, and I still gave her a passing grade.

Second, my other student was working on giving feedback on his partner's introduction. He was typing some rather discouraging and unhelpful notes. So I asked what his partner was supposed to work on after reading the feedback. And I asked him to rephrase his feedback according to Elbowing protocol. All of sudden, very useful feedback.
My observation is that because we don't share a physical classroom, each piece of feedback, every edit to the wiki carries more connotation. And that's a great exercise for students.

Finally, what's been really fun for my students are the two warm-ups that Clay created on the 1001 Writers blog. My students loved collaborating in a lower stakes activity. I think those really help trust/relationship building.

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