We have just
finished our Literature Circle project.
bit about these students -Cleveland Municipal Schools is a 100
percent free lunch school district. Poverty level in Cleveland
is the highest in the U.S. among cities of this size (according
to the 2000 US census). In the past year, the district has had
to lay off over 1000 teachers because of a huge budget deficit.
I found myself as one of those 1000 teachers so I have been
volunteering in a former coworkers class. These students do not
have computers or Internet in their homes. I worked with a group
of 6 students (all 5th graders) that their teachers identified
as needing enrichment. Because of the budget cuts, any extras -
like computer time, etc. have been cut.
the steps I followed (learning along the way with them with what
students were already very familiar with the Literature Circle
process so they were able to do their reading and discussion
part independently. The book read was Wringer by Jerry
Spinelli. Our extension to this project came in the form of a "blog."
I set up a
blog under my http://schoolblogs.net (http://schoolblogs.net/wringer)
the students had to use an email address, I started with
teaching them how to email each other and how to navigate a blog.
As they were going through the book, I gave them the "teacher
question" they would normally have in their literature circle
packet, as a question in the blog. They were required to answer
5 of my questions.
problem we had was that our Internet access was spotty and would
time out while the students were posting their comments. I had
to stop and teach them how to type in Word, save their document,
then copy and paste their comment into the blog. This ended up
being a good thing because it gave them confidence - in the form
of the spell checker and grammar check:) After completing those
questions, their final assignment was to create their own "fat
question" to post on the blog. They then had to comment on at
least 3 of their friends blog question. As a final extension,
the students have their own blog page in which to publish their
own stories to create a portfolio of their writing. This will be
an ongoing project throughout the rest of the year.