Friday, October 11, 2013

Revising with 'Draft': Collaboration Writing & Classroom Implications

Draft is a writing platform that strips away excess functionality to focus on the act of writing. For minimalists, this platform is designed for you: simple typeface, no visual clutter, clear and concise options. Draft also recently incorporated a 'Hemingway Mode' which turns off the functionality of the 'delete' key (I was quickly faced with how terrible a typist I am, but it did force me to keep writing, which was the point).

Draft just released an update that allows easy visual comparison of edits that someone has made on your writing. I had to edit my biography for an upcoming brunch (so this post uses an awkwardly self-serving text), and decided to test out the new features.

I wrote my bio and imported it (Draft will sync with Drive, Dropbox, upload from your computer, and most other options you will need). 

Then I  made some edits, which I could compare side-by-side. 

You can see the Current Version is editable, so I can still tweak while I look what I've deleted, what I've added, and how I've changed wording.  

If, however, I want to have someone else revise it for me, it's easy to export the document via a link. 

In this situation, I sent myself a link to edit, I edited it, and then I 'shared my edits of the original.' 

While this might be confusing because I'm one lady trying to do two roles, the point is that it's easy to send a document for feedback and for the reviewer to send back edits. 

Back in the role of Original Author, I'm able to see what Editor Katrina wrote. As you can see by the tri-split screen here, I'm able to accept or reject changes based on the changes themselves, but can also refer to the text to see them in context. 

This way, I can judge the sentence on its own merit, or see how well it flows from and into the rest of the text. 

Classroom Applications & Implications 
Using Draft effectively depends on the relationship between the writer and the revisor. Often in classrooms, re-wording someone else's sentence for them could be a sign of 'doing their work for them.' With that said, what does productive collaborative writing look like in the classroom? Where are the spaces for it to happen, and when are teachers talking about how to best integrate it? The topic rarely, if ever, came up in my department meetings. 

Most of my writing instruction was about productive individual writing, and I avoided assignments where students wrote together. I figured that the partnership would result in 'one student doing all of the work.' And I needed to grade them individually anyway. But how could I have used a tool like Draft, as opposed to say Google Docs, to have students give each other feedback? 

Actually, I can't come up with any meaningful classroom-applicable examples. So instead, here are a few musings about why: 
  • School's reliance on an individual grading paradigm: Because activities must be assessed, collaborative writing activities force teachers to individually divide shared intellectual work. Using Draft as part of the writing process would prevent neat division of who wrote what for the final product.
  • The real reasons authors ask for edits: Within the constraints of time, curriculum, and technology access (to list only a few), teachers can't always ask for authentic writing tasks, which in turn doesn't provide space for authentic revision processes. However, when I ask someone to look over my work, I ask because it's in progress and will be published and eventually represent me. Where is that ownership/investment in a traditional essay on Hamlet? Can we design classroom writing processes and publication spaces where students want to ask their peers and others for edits? 
  • Technical barriers in the time we have with students: Draft is an account-based platform, and students probably already have Google Drive set up (and, as many of us know, creating accounts can eat up half of a class period). This is not a critique for Draft - but it is of so many schools with limited technology access, compounded by what number of students don't have Internet at home. In practical terms, it's a simple tool that would not be simple for students to take advantage of. 

In an ideal world (and wouldn't we all love one of those), students would add Draft to their 'technology toolbox' and be able to draw upon it as writers and editors. High school teachers could support this individual use with CCSS Writing Standard 5 & Standard 6. However, collaboration in the CCSS is only mentioned in reference to discussion, not in writing/production. 

I look forward to using it in my own writing process, am delighted with every update I get from Nathan Kontny, and will continue pondering about how schools can design their space, roles, and technology to promote authentic student learning. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Universal Human Experience

Welcome to the end of the year! You've completed an intellectually powerful year, reading seven or more books, exploring fiction, non-fiction, poetry and a range of other texts through conversations, writing, and presenting. I can't believe it's almost June!

We have used the provocation of 'the Universal Human Experience' to frame our approach to 10th grade English. I said the frame was like an umbrella, and we touched base with it - like the prongs coming down the sides of an umbrella - each time we finished a unit.

To culminate your exploration of your selected Universal Human Experience, you will explain what it means to be human, how you came to that understanding, and why it's important to consider as we step off into the world (or at least into the summer). Explaining your argument in an EdCafe presentation, you will explain your thinking and lead a discussion on your claim. Through the process and product of this unit, you will prove that you are ready to embark on Junior Year.

For your convenience:
     Link to Project Overview
     Link to Plot Chart
     Link to Focused Revision Sheet
     Link to Overall Metacognitive Letter (due June 20 in signed hard copy)

Project Overview: 

What does it mean to be human?: The Final EdCafe 

A Period

C Period

F Period

Framing the Year: The Final Metacognitive Letter 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Senior Final Exams : Spring 2013

Congratulations! You're almost done! 
The last thing you'll do for High School English is read a variety of short stories and make connections to them. Not a bad way to end 13 years of English class :)

Final Exam Preparation: 
Click on the appropriate site below to read your classmates' stories. 

Recommendation: Read at least four or five stories to prepare yourself for the final. You will write about three that are not your own.

Dystopian Literature 

Final Exam:
The format of this exam gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding with no surprises. It's up to you to bring your best to this exam - you have choices, time, and energy enough to succeed - I look forward to your final submission.

Using your classmate's stories as your text, answer three of the five questions in short-essay form. Your mini-essay should have an introduction, at least one body paragraph, and a conclusion. You should incorporate quotations from the stories and your intellectual work (your notes, papers, books you've read, etc.) 

The three mini-essays are due at the end of the your period's final (B Period on Friday, May 25, G Period on Thursday, May 30th). 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Senior Stories: Checklist for Success

Dystopian Lit
Sci Fi

Print this checklist out and check off each step as you do it to ensure your success! 

Pick two buddies to check with when you have questions.  

____ turned in my sticker sheets (either checked on Friday or stapled together now and handed to Ms. Kennett)

Format Your Story:
____ Title of story in center of page
____ by _____ centered below title
____ should be 1.5 spaced
____ Paragraphs are indented
____ New lines of dialogue are new paragraphs (look at a book for guidance)
____ Read out loud to find minor errors in punctuation, capitalization, etc.

Example of formatted story here

Create a 'Book Cover' for your story:
____ "I declare I cannot find my image on Google, Bing, or any other internet search engine"
____ draw a picture or take one with a camera. Add effects as you'd like.
____ email it to or with your name in the subject of the email. Or, hand Ms. Kennett a hard copy of your drawing

Publish Your Story to the Web:
____ Logged into professional Google Account (NOT
____ Click 'File'
____ 'Publish to Web...'
____ If it asks you 'are you sure?' click 'yes'
____ COPY the link it provides

Submit Your Story and your Picture: 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In the Aftermath of Violence: Transformation through Peace & Justice

1. Get your login from Ms. Kennett
2. Log into Scholar - Click 'Accept & Continue' and click 'next' then 'next' then 'finish.' You should have an orange notification at the top, or just click on Creator.
3. Read through the project description and start writing! (Your writing prompt is in the document below)
4. As you write / use the program, give 'real-time' feedback through the survey (also below).
5. You have until 11:30pm to finish typing in your essay...

Project timeline (all due by 11:55pm): 
     Review / Peer Feedback

Link to document

Having trouble building an argument?
Watch Tim Wise's video 'On White Privilege'

His claim? I'd say it's something like: 'The rich elite use a visual difference (skin color) to distract from economic inequalities, creating the concept of 'race' with inherent power imbalances' 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Restorative Justice - What is it and how does it connect to justice and peace?

New York Times Article - Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice? - Annotated

1) What is the goal of punishment? Of prisons/jails/etc.

2) Compare and contrast: punishment and consequences

3) After committing this murder, what were the punishments and consequences? Which affected him more and how/why?

Unit Word Bank:
- Justice:
- Injustice: - something that’s harmful to someone else
- Restorative justice:
- Equality // Equity:  

- Security:
- Peace:
- Common good:
- Solidarity:
- Coexistence:
- Responsibility:

- Violence:
- Non-violent:
- Conflict:
- War:
- Sanction:
- Revenge:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Exemplar Non Fiction Letters






What skills do these products reveal mastery of?

Add your answer as a comment on the post. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why a Formal Submission Letter Matters in the Writing Process

When my students hand in a project or paper to me, they compose a submission letter. In the style of a formal cover letter, they learn an important professional format.

This letter, while it may vary by content, has a pretty general structure: Introduction, Reflect on Process, Reflect on Product, Conclusion/What I should know. Examples from non-fiction unit, and an essay.

I ask students to write me a letter even if they are not prepared to hand in their work that day. Their words provide a glimpse into where their work broke down, and a measure of accountability to a due date, even if they're not meeting it.

If students are late, I can use their letter as a 'to-do' list for touching base each day, jotting notes to myself about what progress they're making to complete the work. (See example below)

Students who are prepared are justifiably proud of
themselves and are given the opportunity
to highlight strengths that they found in this work. 

Students who will be late are given the space to explain what
 that have completed, and what they need to finish.
It gives some positives to emphasize, even if they don't have their final paper.   
For students who don't hand their work in the next day, I make notes on what they do during class (go to the library, type, etc) and then also note when they submit the paper. The letter basically becomes a log of how I've checked in with the student and is stapled to the top of their submission. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to embed a Google Doc on your blog

For those of you submitting your letter via your blog, you will need to do some very easy coding to make it look professional. Watch this screencast to find out how to do it.

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Teaching with Technology [presentation]

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Non-Fiction Unit - Formal Submission Letter

Dear Sophomores - 

To 'hand in' your work for this unit, you will write me a formal submission letter. The purpose of this letter is to convince me that you have successfully completed the objectives of the unit. It's a great opportunity for persuasive writing - convince me what grade you think you deserve. 

Below, you will find a model / suggestions for how to complete each paragraph. Concern yourself with a cohesive and articulate letter, which may mean you don't answer every single question. 

This letter will be due on Wednesday. For extra credit, you can embed your letter into your blog, and add hyperlinks to your evidence of completing the standards (Pearltrees, your final product, etc). This takes a bit of patience, but will produce a beautiful final digital piece that you will be proud of. 

Ms. Kennett 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Beyond 'Flipping the Classroom': Asking Students to Design their Own Learning

Too much of the teacher narrative out there is still devoted to what we do to our students. In my opinion, we need teach our students how to teach themselves. 

To this end, I have recently started a new non-fiction unit with my students... 

Dear Students,

You’re embarking upon the next evolution of our year. Our non-fiction unit builds on everything we have done, but will be more challenging than your previous work. I'm excited for the next two weeks - they have the potential to fundamentally change how we approach learning and teaching for the rest of the year. 

You just successfully completed your Poetry Portfolio. It was full of powerful intellectual work  - you curated content, wrote thoughtfully, and compiled everything into a finished product. These Portfolios were a pleasure to read, and I thank you for giving me a glimpse into the way you connect to poetry and music and life.

With that said, our non-fiction unit will challenge you in new ways. Instead of being asked to create a static portfolio, you will 1) publish your final product on the internet, 2) design both your product and your day-to-day tasks, and 3) will use at least one technological platform. Your product and process probably won't look like your classmates, which emphasizes the self-determination you have in your own learning. 

For such an independent unit, I expect you will be pushed a bit outside your comfort zone. You will need to be able to choose a goal and design backwards from it, be more comfortable with frustration, and be willing to ask for help when you’re floundering. If your confusion becomes too much, or you need to conceptualize it in more tangible terms, write out your questions or talk them out with either a friend or with me. It’s ok to get stuck, but help yourself get un-stuck.

This responsibility might be overwhelming at first, but it's meant to be empowering. In previous units, I’ve done this all for you - established the learning goals, designed the final product, and scaffolded your skills / activities to get you to that product. Now that I’m handing the bulk of this process to you.

I hope I have prepared you well for success in this unit. Consider:
-      In our Macbeth unit, I decided the annotations, the work, and you chose a product to show your understanding
-      For Lord of the Flies / Choice Book unit, I chose the essay format, you chose the book and the topics
-      For our Poetry Portfolios, you chose the content and intellectual work (within my prompts), I determined the product
-       Now, I'm choosing the overall learning goals, and you choose how to fulfill them. To help yourself,  track your work habits/progress daily – this can take the form of a to-do list, a log or chart, or however you want to keep your process tangible.

Think about what you have going for you:
-      a consistent emphasis on the process / product in my class
-      the five ‘teacher objectives’ so you know thelearning goals
-      freedom to choose a product that you’re interested in
-      ability to find mentor texts that help inform your final product
-      class time and technology to help your search /creation

What will this all look like in the end? To finish the unit, you will write me a 1-2 page formal letter explaining how you have fulfilled each of the five objectives. You will attach artifacts that demonstrate how you have fulfilled these goals. Compiling an ‘application packet’ like this is good practice for the future – colleges, jobs, scholarships, presentations all ask you to thoughtfully and carefully compile your intellectual work for a high-stakes audience.

Again, I'm not only excited, but ready, for this next stage of independence in our class. You are articulate young adults who deserve the freedom and support to publish your own voice - and I feel lucky to provide that space for you. 

Ms. Kennett 

Monday, March 11, 2013

MCAS Prep - Prepare Yourself for Success

MCAS Prep:

Next week is MCAS - prepare yourself for success!

There are two parts of the MCAS: Long Composition and Reading Comprehension.

The Long Composition is meant to evaluate whether or not you can articulately organize your thoughts around a topic and use a text to support your ideas. Think of this as a similar task to your UHE blogs and other in-class essays we have written this year. 

The Reading Comprehension section - which includes non-fiction, fiction, poetry, or other types of texts - will test if you can read and answer questions (both multiple choice and open response). Consider this a similar task to your poetry portfolio, the writing on the narrator we did, the knifefight scene, and anytime you have read the nutrition facts on a food and made an argument about why you should or shouldn't eat it. 

For both the Long Comp and the Reading Comprehension, you will use the writing and analytical skills we have worked on all year: strong thesis statements/topic sentences, clear use of support and explanation, brilliant analysis that ties together. On no part of the MCAS should you be writing straight summary.

Full Review: 
Practice Test - from 2012
Released Test - April 2012 (Long comp starts on numbered page 6)
Released Test - April 2010
Strategy Booklet

Long Composition: 
Book Review for Long Composition - fill this out
Scoring Guide for Long Composition
2012 Prompt
2011 Prompt
2010 Prompt

Reading Comprehension (text, multiple choice questions, open response questions): 
Practice Test
Practice Excerpt (questions at the bottom)

Graded student responses to the 'Bridge of Sighs' excerpt

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Poetry Portfolio!

Prepare Yourself for Success
     - 5 annotated poems
     - 10 thoughtfully-crafted responses
     - if you researched the poet, include cited sources as footnote or Works Cited page (and dig deeper than Wikipedia)
     - folder with middle-binding

Pages in Completed Portfolio

     - cover page (unique title and your name - think like opening to a cover page of a book)
     - table of contents
     - Introduction - super short 'intro' to the entire portfolio - welcome the reader to your compilation
     - optional! decorate your folder

Nitty Gritty Formatting 
     - Your ten poems and your responses should be consistently formatted (size of font, italics, etc.)
     - Responses should be double spaced, size 12 font, Times New Roman (or other consistant font)
     - You do not need a MLA header on each response
     - Poem titles in single quotations: 'Out, Out-' by Robert Frost
     - Citing one line from a poem: "The night knows nothing of the chants of night" (Stevens 1).
     - Citing two-three lines from a poem: "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day" (Shakespeare 189).
     - Citing more than three lines from a poem - block quotation (example from OWL)

In his poem "My Papa's Waltz," Theodore Roethke explores his childhood with his father:
The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.
We Romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself. (quoted in Shrodes, Finestone, Shugrue 202)

Folders for Sale! $1.75 but will take donations for $2.00

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Time Well Spent to Change the World

I like to read on Sunday mornings, pairing my coffee with articles, chapters, and posts I haven't gotten to over the week. This morning, two unrelated texts provoked a whole set of questions about time in the classroom. The first was Walter Bender's forward to Learning to Change the World: The Social Impact of One Laptop Per Child, and the second was 'Health, Happiness, and Time Well Spent,' a recent post by Howard Gardner on WBUR's Health blog. 

Bender opens with an anecdote when he asked engineers about a powerful learning moment they have had, and then asked them how they would use technology in the classroom. About their answer to the second, he writes "when they design technology for learning, they revert to a passive model in which the student is receiving information rather than designing a technology to enable students to rapidly prototype ideas, explore, and collaborate. They know what great learning looks like, but they believe that school is about instructing" (Bender, viii). In answering the two questions, there is a significant disconnect - for the first, they owned the problem and problem-solving process and in the second they intentionally distance the tools based on their idea of school. I thought to myself - why does moving into the classroom space force a disconnect to the immediacy of our own experiences and shape the way we approach our time with students? 

Gardner opened his article with the questions 'What do people value most? What do you personally value most?' and build his post around the research that people value time well spent, and how they feel frustrated when they think they have wasted their time. We've all had the classes or meetings that we've walked away from saying 'well, that was a waste of time'. If we equate time and effort, I find that students will justify the quality of their work based on how long they spent doing it. And, inversely, I find myself wondering how students can just 'sit there and not do anything,' dumbfounded at their learned passivity. How strong is the correlation between ownership and sense of time well spent? And who defines 'well spent'? 

I'll pull both of these texts together in a story from this past week. I just interviewed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at Michigan State University, and in one of my conversations with a prospective doctoral student at MSU, we discussed iPads in the classroom and how to re-frame them as a tool for learning so they're not just a distraction device. I said "honestly, my challenge to myself is to design the assignment to be more compelling than Temple Run." He gave me a look like I was crazy. 

I think his look was a reaction to how I had taken away the foundational assumption that a student has to pay attention to the teacher. I don't want to rely on and reinforce the traditional teacher-as-authority, student-as-producer role - but neither do I want to cede my authority into a vacuum. I want to leverage the roles of student and teacher in ways that will help me build frameworks of the assignment's purpose so that I am an architect of student learning and the students actually build their own experiences. If this is my goal, what does classroom time, and my associated instructions, look/sound like? 

I've finished many classes and said 'this is what I would do differently' but I realize that I'm the one prototyping the changes in learning, I'm the one reflecting, seeing cause and effect, and changing. While I know my students sometimes walk away frustrated, they don't ever come to me and say 'this is what I would have done differently' - how are we leveraging the classroom space to engage students having everyone's time well spent? How are we approaching learning as a messy process that takes time? And, in the end, what does 'time well spent' look like with technology in the classroom? 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Short Story Anthology

Here is what we've compiled and anthologized as we wrap up our short story unit. Enjoy reading through our stories!

- Ms. Kennett

If you have an iPad/iPhone, click the link here to download the book into your iBooks

Universal Human Experience Blog Post / Assignment: 
- connect your purpose for stories and your universal human experience
- read 3-5 stories and select three that relate to your ideas
- write a blog post (500-600 words) that thoughtfully connects your purpose, UHE, and the stories
- refer to the authors by their first names, put their story titles in 'single quotations' and clearly explain why that story connects

Due Tuesday, February 5th

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Using Google Spreadsheets & Wix to Publish a Class Portfolio

My two Senior Electives - Dystopian Literature and Science Fiction Literature - are drawing to a close, and students are completing the course by creating their own text. In the mix: short stories, vignettes, choose your own adventures, a musical album, and a board game. Final projects can be found here: Dystopian and Sci Fi

My objectives for the final project:

  1. demonstrate understanding of the genre
  2. go through process of disciplined inquiry and independent development to craft final product
  3. publish to broad online audience 
  4. incorporate student texts into the course final

Students worked for the month of January to construct their final story / text / world / narrative. To help them conceptualize their time and keep themselves organized, they set up project goals and a calendar. Click here for a copy of Sal's planning.

As we went through the subsequent weeks, we spent Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Information Media Center (If the day begins with T / We're in the IMC!) where students could spread out at tables or use the desktops to go online. We also had access to the iPad carts, which surprisingly few students took advantage of. When they completed some of their process (idea development, outline, etc) they brought it to me to initial and date.

In my effort to fuse objectives three and four, I determined that publishing to a class blog would be the most effective way for students to browse each other's work for the final. I considered Posterous, based on the ease of posting via email (Greg Kulowiec and I used this when doing our Paperless Research Unit), but find the interface unappealing, especially if students are formatting their work in different ways. Greg had used Wix as a platform for a previous project, but I haven't played with it.

I set up a account and chose a 'Portfolio' theme, as I wanted to feature thumbnails as 'book covers' that would catch the reader's eye. I needed a picture, a title, and a link for each element.

To collect those three things from my students, I set up a spreadsheet with their names along the side and what I needed across the top.

This spreadsheet served as both a to-do list and a way for me to keep tabs on student progress through the tasks. I used 'conditional formatting' to make it if students wrote 'yes' then the cell would turn green. In this way, I could quickly note which kids were completing what they needed.

Some might suggest using Google Forms as a way to have students submit work, but I find the collaborative feel of this spreadsheet (all of us have it open throughout the period) gives me a pulse of the class instead of empty forms that push information to teacher. In addition, sharing the document allows students to model for each other, easily lean over and ask for help, and gives me a chance to skim over the screen to see who needs help.

I used the board in the room to say that 1) fill out the form and 2) email me a photo for your 'cover photo' - students then did some metacognitive / rubric work while I helped who needed it.

After school, I took on the grunt work of the Wix site, uploading the pictures students sent, labeling them with titles and 'by ___' and adding the link the student had put on the document. While this sounds like many steps, it was actually pretty quick and easy to do. As I went down the spreadsheet, I coded it with colors, comments, and notes about the day's submissions. When I was done, the spreadsheet looked like this:

Thankfully, it took only about 30-40 minutes to get that all organized (I told you - Wix was easy). Some teachers might not be comfortable with the color coding of the chart for all students to see, but I am more concerned about clear communication with my personal organizational mediums. Students can see in real time whether or not I have everything or if they need to fix something - they don't have to wait until I catch them the next day. In addition, no actual grades are ever posted on a spreadsheet like this, as it is for collection purposes only.

A nod to the importance of repetition: 
- students were familiar with virtual submission because of our earlier Pearltrees assignment
- students had enough familiarity with Google Docs to be fairly at ease publishing to the web (before they had just 'shared' with me) and with helping each other when they needed to walk through it

Submitting assignments can always feel like trying to reign in chaos - paper or virtual. This was no exception, as I had absences, missing assignments, and missing photos. However, the extra time I put into publishing this one will have multiple benefits:
          - students can read each other's work later this week
          - next semester, I can use this as our model for our final
          - I can grade these assignments from anywhere with internet access and am not tethered to a pile of papers

While not a perfect workflow solution, combining Google Spreadsheets and Wix was an excellent way to fulfill my objectives for this project.

Again, here are our final sites: Dystopian and Sci Fi

Final Project : Digital Submission

Congratulations Seniors! 

Today you will submit your final project, demonstrating your excellence in either Dystopian Literature or Science Fiction Literature.

If you were handing in a tangible item, I would have a folder and put your work into it. Since your submission is digital, I will be 'collecting' your work in a digital space - a Posterous blog.

Carefully read the directions below and follow them exactly so that your work is accepted and can be published.

What you need:
1) your final product in publishable form
2) a 'cover picture' for your product (email this to
3) patience

Dystopian Literature
- anything you send to me today MUST NOT have your last name attached. First L or it will not be accepted
- format your dystopia in whatever form fits
- fill out the form on the Collected Works document
- staple your completed rubric to your process and hand in by the end of class

Science Fiction Literature 
- click on this link
- complete the requirements that are listed
- write me a 1pg metacognitive letter about this project and the course as a whole
- staple letter to your process and hand in by the end of class

Friday, January 4, 2013

Using Pearltrees to Collect Online Resources / Create an Annotated Bibliography

Pearltrees, an online curation platform, allows users to visually organize any resource that has a URL. This could be website, blogs, wikis, videos, images, etc., making it a powerful collection space for students as they research.

I have had students use this as a place to collect short stories for our short story unit. I also have it as an option for annotated bibliographies for my seniors.

The intellectual work is the same - students find resources, summarize them, and evaluate their use - but the visual collection space is more engaging and visually organized around topic (instead of forcing resources into alphabetical order).

Below, you have the collected pearls of my Fall 2012 Senior Dystopian Literature class. They commented on each pearl and wrote a brief summary, explained how the resource connected to their book, and cited the source.

We are on the brink of our Short Story unit, and a significant part of your assessment will be grounded in stories you select, read, and write about. Take today's class to set yourself up for success. 1. Create new account at 2. Create a NEW pearltree and title it with your First Name and Last Initial : FirstL_SStories (this should not be your 'root' pearl)
3. Add New Pearltree titled
3. Use advanced search, various genre terms, etc to find 5 short stories
4. Take the story URL and 'Add Pearl' --> 'Web Page'

If you are having difficulty, find 5 stories and email yourself the links.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sci Fi & Dystopian Lit : Proposals & Calendars

Today, you will create your blueprint for the rest of the Term. Planning ahead like this helps you break down big projects and prioritize the order of what you need to get done. This independence is an opportunity -

1) sign into google drive
2) Click here to access the calendar below. Click 'File' --> 'Make a Copy' to bring the document into your drive
3) Answer the questions and fill in the calendar
4) Rename the document so it has your name in the title
5) Share the document with both of my email addresses -,

Thursday Choices : What's Your Path?