Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pop Culture, Media and Technology in Writing Workshop with Kate Roberts

Technology is hard.  It barely works, and when it does for a minute, it freezes.  So why use it?  Because we have to!  It is what our students know; they live it.  At the TCRWP workshop last week, I listened in awe as Kate Roberts showed us new ways to fold technology into our daily instruction.We need to incorporate pop culture into our connections to engage students.  Even something simple like a metaphor hooks writers and helps students engage and connect to writing.  "You know how you go back to video games and try, try and try again if you can't beat a level... that's like revision because..."

Here are some great ways to use technology in your daily lessons to engage students:

  1. Create a questionnaire to find out what your students are doing with technology.  What are they watching?  What kinds of social medias are they using?  Pay attention to what they like to do.  Are they big Justin Beiber fans?  Do they love American Idol?  Know what students are loving and use that to your advantage to hook them with stories, activities, and connections.   
  2. Transfer literacies from one text to another text.  Go to YouTube and download (short) clips of those shows to use as mentor texts. Use the movie clips, songs, television shows to talk about writing.  "How does this show incorporate 'back story' of characters? How might that 'look' in writing?"  (Kate suggested going to ZamZar or TubeSock to download the videos so that you don't have to worry about YouTube streaming from slow wireless or being blocked).  
  3. Ask students to use the technology for publication.  Take students out of the passive role to make active projects.  They can do this with a list of options, independently, and in a few days.  Ask students to transfer writing to another medium-- podcasting, iMovie, garage band-- the sky's the limit.  This teaches students the main idea, the theme, the important characteristics of the writing. Carl Anderson called it meaning, structure, details, voice, conventions.  Here's a great way for kids to showcase their talents to their peers.  
  4. Create writing communities.  Edmoto, Blogster,  Websties and GoogleDocs are just a few powerful tools that can help create a writing community in your classroom.  
Have fun!  Good luck, and share, share, share what you are trying!  :)  

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