Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Body Systems #8 - Collaborating on writing

Hello Friends,

In post #7 I said I would write about  how we use our class Google Drive for collaboration and moderation. This is something I started using last term, when our school server "died'. I wanted some way that students could write on-line and access for collaboration and moderation. Enter our class Google account.
Now there are probably snazzier ways that people are using the internet for this purpose but as a starting point, this was perfect for me and my Y4 kiddies last year. This Year I am repeating it with my Y6's and so far so good. The only difference of course is that last year we were a digital class (12 iMacs- 1:2) and this year we are 1:3 with variable devices (iMac, windows laptops, iPads).
P.S. I still like to think that we are a digital class because its about mindset really, not the hardware you have.

Anyhow...this is how we did it:
Step 1) Open a Google account for the class. Make it something generic that can move with you if you should change rooms or levels.

Step 2) Make the password something relevant to you and your students.

Step 3) Agree on a set of user etiquette with your students on the appropriate use of this shared drive.

Step 4) Create folders as required and teach your students a few basics, they'll soon figure out the rest.

Home Folders: I created a class 2013 HOME folder first and tasked each student to log in, open the Home folder and create their own Home folder inside this one. They had to name their personal folders as follows:
e.g. name_home2013, and finally assign a colour to it.
This is where they file away completed or personal work.

Work Folders: next I created a folder for our current theme - Who we are-Body Systems. Within that there are 3 folders - draft (red), peer review(orange) and teacher chat(green).  As students prepare to type up a paragraph from their research notes, they create a new document each time. Again the naming convention is important: e.g. name_1_intro, name_2_heart. This way its clear to see at a glance whether a student is keeping up with the pace, or needs a little extra support. 

Once they are happy with their paragraph, they move it to the peer review folder. They then set up appointments with other kiddies (also in that orange folder) for a peer review. I require them to have 3 collaborative sessions, before posting into the teacher chat folder.

As work appears here, I call students for a teacher conference about their paragraph. Following this the final work is filed into the group folder for that body system. Once the work has been used in the presentation, it is filed away in the student's Home folder.

Teacher Chat: I copy and paste the student's work below in the same document. I work with or without the student in the copy only, leaving the original work untouched. Great thing is that I can easily access this drive from anywhere, even my iPhone and edit work if we are backed up.

Notice the Peer Reviewers names below the student's paragraph.

 I have a marking code that I use as follows. This document also sits inside our drive for reference. The student then pastes a 3rd copy beneath mine and makes the edits suggested. This way there is a very clear trail of evidence to show progress. They can use this to talk to when sharing their learning at parent evenings

Here are our rules for using the drive:
 And here are the process steps that we had for reference:

Once all the editing is completed, then comes the fun part of creating a presentation, the brain can switch fully into creative mode as it no longer needs to worry about elements of handwriting, accurate copying, spelling, etc.

I'll post about the presentation options next term when we get to that, lots of hard work researching, writing and editing first -  haha :D

Would love to hear about how you use Google Drive with your kiddies.
'Til next time :)

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