Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Student Google Doc Writing Thread

Like many teachers, I've been trying to find an efficient, inclusive way to respond to student writing. This year, I'm trying the use of a Google doc writing thread, and I'm liking it.

Essentially, I create a Google doc each week with a different writing focus.  On the doc I create a table with space for student writing and teacher comments.  Students add their stories, paragraphs, essays, and ideas during the week. I check in each night and comment on each child's efforts.

There are many aspects of this assignment that I like including the following:
  • The thread is public, but not too public.  It is shared by our class community and a few more.  Hence children have a good size audience for their work.
  • Children may easily read each other's work, and get ideas from one another.
  • Families may read their child's work and other children's work to have a good idea about fourth grade writing skills, challenges, and strengths.
  • I get to check in on and respond to student writing each week in a timely way. 
  • I have the chance to assess individual student writing as well as the class writing weekly, and use that information to inform follow-up writing focus lessons.
  • The assignments are generally light hearted and enjoyable to read.
  • The assignment provides good practice for the Common Core expectation that all fourth graders can type one page of text with skill. 
Take a look at the example below.  This might be an approach you'd like to try.