Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sync and Write

After a week of spring break, we're back at work in our classroom. Happy, carefree days will soon return with summer break arriving in 8 more weeks.
However, with only 15 days remaining on the SMART Sync free trial, it was back to work for everyone with collaboration on the forefront. We began a Twitter collaboration with a third grade class in Connecticut our first day back from break. That project is shaping up to be a great way for students to write an interesting sentence in 140 characters or less as we communicate with new-found friends across the country. Our big emphasis the remainder of the year is to polish our writing skills so that we become master communicators. Adding colorful, interesting adjectives to sentences is a great way for third graders to add interest and meaning to their paragraphs. So with that in mind, our next Sync collaboration focused on writing. First a quick review of adjectives, and the students were off to their computers to complete the assignment, which I divided into part 1 and part 2. Groupings of two were chosen this time, with the computer randomly pairing students. For the teacher to assign partners requires a different log in with a student name on each computer and I haven't figured out that option yet. Maybe during afternoon conference there will be a window of opportunity. Back to the assignment details. Part 1 was to copy and paste the best adjective into the correct sentences. When that was complete, each individual "handed in" their document. The students were eager to chat again. Armed with a list of interesting adjectives for possible use, they were set to write collaboratively with their partner. Each group was to compose three interesting sentences containing two adjectives before one of the nouns. One group had so much trouble, but in reflecting upon why, it's because both are hesitant speakers, learners, and writers. This exercise was certainly a challenge for all the students as composing a sentence while considering the other person's ideas was a new experience. This time, the recorder knew what to do and had no trouble "handing in" the assignment. But they still forgot to put their name on their work! Perhaps I really do need to name their computers!

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