Wednesday, January 21, 2009

CES: A Community of Writers

(Click on images to enlarge for easier reading.)

This school year Ed Wolf, 5th grade teacher at CES, started a wiki to encourage his students ("The Wolf Pack") to write more and more and more. In the process, with community authors and parents invited in to comment on student writing, and a set of explicit writing rules and guidelines, students also continue to write better and better. When asked to provide the goals and objectives of the project, he explains:

"This project was designed to extend the writing experience beyond the four walls of the classroom and to expand our writing community. I have always believed that student self-reflection is a very important part of the writing process. As part of my Writing Workshop students have always engaged in pencil and paper self-reflection. The goal of the wiki is to engage students in reflecting, not only on their own work, but the work of others. In doing this, the students gain a better understanding of the writing process and what it means to be a writer. This project has helped to raise the bar in terms of student work. In addition, and perhaps my favorite part of the project, I have enjoyed seeing the level of the comments grow in sophistication and complexity. The comments are not simply superficial accolades, but the students provide each other with real, constructive criticism. In our writing community, feedback is not looked upon as a negative. The students look forward to reading the comments left by their classmates and incorporate them into their revisions. I have also used the wiki as a place to ask questions of the students and use this information to guide instruction. Having professional authors commenting on the wiki has also served as a real motivator. The students enjoy when Judith Marks-White and Lauren Tarshis stop by and comment."

The Room 25 Look Inside wiki was well planned and organized. This wiki demonstrates the power of a collaborative writing environment, which included regular review by peers, parents and professionals. What a difference an authentic audience can create! The quality of the student writing is extraordinary.

(Copied to a page on a public wiki)

1 comment:

  1. I am always impressed at the sophisticated comments and level of insight Ed's students display on this wiki. They truly enjoy giving each other feedback and routinely incorporate it into their own writing. The students in this class understand how key revision is to the writing process. They post comments and suggestions to their peers at school and at home. Ed has done an excellent job fostering a collaborative writing community with his students. I look forward to reading and commenting on the wiki throughout the remainder of the year!