A blog that ties all the Littleton Public Schools cohorts together in a common reflection space.
It's crazy to think that where we are in time, technologically speaking, that is as potentially grand as the printing press was in its time, but I think the author is on to something. Everyone IS writing more today than ever before, and students like to write when technology is involved. I think the role of schools is very important in this revolution, because it's there that students will learn the power behind the communication opportunities. They need to know that this revolution goes beyond emails and texts, to the very pieces they create- in school, for school, and beyond. Our ability to go back to a piece and re-think, re-write, recreate is powerful. Students are willing to stay with a piece longer, because it doesn't require as much work as with paper and pencil. And the end product is often something they are very proud to share with others. Students like to write when they know more than “just their teacher” will be reading it. The opportunities to communicate with peers is so valuable, but if not taught in school, it will never get beyond the poorly edited texts sent each day.
What struck me the most about this article was the statement that the reason writing has not progress and kept up with the time is the fear of change. In most schools writing is not even a course because many feel that the quality of the writing will be compromised. What many do not understand is that writing is creating, writing is communicating ideas and there are no always going to be set rules as there are in math and or science. What has changed is the fact that we can now write and make constant revisions through google.docs. A student can submit and re submit a piece of writing over and over and it is quite simple to make revisions. Student are so used to communicating through text that it has become second nature to them , they usually prefer to write that talk! The positive outcome of this is that it is actually encouraging students to write more often and to be creative
Two major quotes jumped out at me while reading this article.First, “Written words are no longer static. Whereas ink on paper produces a fixed product, digital writing allows constant revision and is easily supplemented with animation, sounds, videos and graphics.” I think about one of my major writing projects as a kid. We had to put together a book about a state we studied. Everything was hand drawn, hand written and pasted onto construction paper. Believe it or not, it was also bound by yarn. Now, students have everything at their fingertips. They are creating written pieces in a day or two that include all of the nitty gritty stuff that it took me almost a month to create.The second quote, “The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the "nation's report card" tells us that 21% of our 12th graders write below basic level; 52% write at basic level; 24% are proficient; and a mere 3% are advanced.” WOW, about sums up my reaction to this quote. Hopefully, with the desire and vision of LPS we are changing those statistics. However, we need to make writing prevalent in all subject areas, not just from 10:00 - 10:45 M-F.
This was an interesting article about a subject that needs to be explored more. I do hope that LPS has better statistics than the nation with "21% of our 12th graders writing below basic level; 52% write at basic level; 24% are proficient; and a mere 3% are advanced." But how true that we don't teach specific courses enough to address this. I wonder if we can help kids with texting, tweeting, posting so that they can communicate effectively and with purpose. We need to catch up our teaching to help this generation with all the writing they do. Whew! That is all we do! Try to catch up with technology and instruction with this fast-paced world we live in!
I just finished reading the article for this session.Wow... Where do I start?To highlight a portion of his post:The neglect comes from schools that do not value writing. Unlike, for example, math or history or biology, writing does not even rate its own course and this is reflected in our classrooms. The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the "nation's report card" tells us that 21% of our 12th graders write below basic level; 52% write at basic level; 24% are proficient; and a mere 3% are advanced.We know scores are not where they should be...we work diligently to improve this with focused, directed instruction, reteaching-small-group support...revisions. We won't "quit" until our students can write coherent thoughts, in a variety of formats. Educators need the support of the family as well, businesses too. This would help. If he is so upset, I wonder if he can offer suggestions? He thinks he is an "expert"...does he prefer to write from a narrowed point of view, to ignite strong feelings from people, in particular educators (me)...I would love to have him come to my classroom, to see the degree of effort we put into our writing on a daily basis. I would like him to see the improvements my students are seeing, small at times, but still improvements, none the less.So Gene and Alan, come to my classroom to see exactly what you seem to so quickly say I, as an educator, am not doing. Come spend several days in my classroom...then maybe offer some suggestions (if you can) and let's see if your opinion changes regarding education and the "lack of importance" you think we have. My thought is: What schools has he been in lately? Does he not know about Common Core State Standards and the elevated expectations placed on educators today? Teachers place so much value on writing, not only in the specified area of writing, but also in other academic areas: reading, math, science, social studies, world languages, theatre, PE, music...the list goes on and on. I looked him up to see his credentials:
I think the concern the author has with the laziness people are showing with texting and tweeting is going to carry over into the creative process of writing in the classroom. It is important to emphasize conventions and grammar. It does drive me crazy when I get texts that are lazy and take shortcuts. I am trying so hard to encourage to push themselves to elaborate and expand in their craft while texting and tweeting is encouraging shortcuts and clever ways to do the opposite.
I clicked on "publish" before I was finished!Gene's credentials:He has not been in the educational area since 1994. So ...20 years. It would be beneficial for him to go back into a public classroom...to see what is happening, learn about Common Core and higher expectations.I would love to have him come see what is happening.I think he would be very surprised.Maybe, he would write a retraction to his post too!My classroom door is always open, Gene!
"Digital writing may create different cognitive processes. The new tools may "wire' our brains in new ways, having a significant impact on the creation of ideas and the words and sentence we produce." This part of the article is especially interesting to me because it affects how we approach teaching. If students brains are "wired" differently from how ours were as students, we need to meet them where they are and teach to how they are seeing the written world. This is why using technologyy in the classroom is so important!! I've experienced this shift first hand as students are more motivated to express their thinking on an iPad or Google Docs versus traditional methods of paper/pencil or standing up in front of the room to present. I notice an increased student accountability/ownership as we discuss the accessibility to their work online to the world!
I may just be 29 years old, but I was lucky to live pre-digital world and now I love being technologically literate and using technology in my teaching. I am amazed by the doors technology opens for us and for our students. With that said, I am still a fan of pen and paper. I think using pen and paper helps us remember things more long-term, and while autocorrect is a wonderful thing - so is knowing how to spell a word like "grammar" or "tomorrow" without the need for autocorrect or the "Review" button on Word.I was always an avid writer as a kid, and the process of opening up the dictionary and physically looking up a word helped me with long-term memory and inclusion of new words into my every-day vocabulary. I can see myself struggling now, because I rarely use a dictionary. I am ashamed to admit my long term memory is affected by using technology rather than going through the motions of looking things up in a dictionary. Are we going to be wired for short term memory only? That is one scary thought!While I love technology, and believe that kids should learn how to write with a purpose - blogging, tweeting, etc; I also think there is value to pen and paper... But that is only the thought of this old school 29 year old educator.
Britt, again you said it better than I could - living in both worlds is key, we are lucky that we have had access to both growing up! There is such a benefit that comes with pen and paper instruction as you outlined above, in no way should we "throw the baby out with bathwater," which I think is many people's fear. You are an awesome advocate for this revolution.
So interesting and alarming at the same time to read this article. It's quite disturbing to read, according to the article's author and recent statistics, that..."21% of our nation's 12th graders are writing below proficient, 52% are only scoring at the basic level, 24% are proficient, and only 3% are advanced." Sad statistics if you ask me! I can see how this could be true though, as some districts/schools don't really even honor a strong writing curriculum. I feel so fortunate teaching in LPS where we truly believe in developing young writers, where we work hard at providing a strong writing foundation for even our youngest students. Our youth today are not growing up in the same kind of "writing world" that we did. Technology is changing everything about writing, and we need to meet those changes head-on with strong curriculum and well prepared teachers.
Jackie,Those statistics gave me goosebumps too, wow! It does make you feel lucky to work in a district that puts such an emphasis on this difficult skill. You have a strong call to action, we need to rise to the challenge.
I have to say I loved a lot of things about this article, and I loved them because my district is embracing this revolution. If I were not a part of this, I would be terrified! The reality is we are asking students to leave the confines of “Writer’s Workshop” and “write more often in more formats.” The world we live in has opportunities for written communication all over the place and we have to embrace this shift in order to best serve our students. Yes, we still want them to write essays and write in more formal ways, but this doesn’t reflect all of the writing they will be asked to do. We can’t ignore what is happening, we have to incorporate it into our instruction in order to encourage them to still be strong writers whether in a formal or informal capacity. We are very lucky that we have access through our EEE/Chromebooks to the new tools that are being discussed. We can access these new writing mediums - Twitter, Blogs, Emails, etc - and give our students immediate, genuine opportunities to write using these mediums. There is a fear of change out there, and rightfully so, this goes against what many teachers have been embracing their whole careers. But as natural as this fear is, it has to be overcome. I think a lot of this fear stems from the idea that “quality will be compromised,” but if we instruct with quality in mind when teaching these new mediums and platforms then there will not be a compromise. I love the quote, “The task of a writer is being able to something out of an idea.” I need to embrace this outlook more in my classroom and understand that the value of writing is in its fluidity and ability to change forms. If I am really going to be a part of this revolution I still have some fears to overcome as well and that begins with incorporating the fixed with the fluid - “written words are no longer static.”
I am irate.“The neglect comes from schools that do not value writing. Unlike, for example, math or history or biology, writing does not even rate its own course and this is reflected in our classrooms. The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the "nation's report card" tells us that 21% of our 12th graders write below basic level; 52% write at basic level; 24% are proficient; and a mere 3% are advanced.”When has anyone walked into a school and has observed that writing is not valued? What is their definition of value? How is value demonstrated proficiently?I also wonder if the percentages on the “Nation’s Report Card” have changed since 2011? It would seem to me that discussing rates of change (either positive or negative) would be more important.
Are we in the middle of a writing revolution? I believe that we have been in the middle of a writing revolution ever since I came back to teaching over 20 years ago. After staying home with my own children, I remember the excitement of learning about Writers Workshop, hearing some of the experts at CCIRA and reading their books, and then putting their ideas into practice in my own classroom. Now, I am changing my classroom to utilize the benefits of technology. So, I believe that, yes, we are in the middle of a continuing revolution.
Hmmmm... This article makes me think about myself as a writer, how I teach writing, and what I expect from my students. I think how I was taught how to write in school --- the grueling task of revision (actually cutting and pasting) parts of papers together. I needed a dictionary and thesaurus available at all times. Today, students "cut" and "paste" in a matter of seconds , spell check available on every device --- no wonder students get bored writing in a notebook. This year, I was afraid getting rid of my "writers notebook". It's what I knew. It was comfortable. However, students can write/revise/edit and publish in far less time using technology and tools used on our EEE/Chromebooks. With the tools I've learned this year, I can edit student's work, give feedback for next steps, and give them ways to publish to keep them motivated to write more than they ever have in the past. I'm so glad I've been part of IW this school year. It's given me an outlook on writing that I haven't seen in awhile. I am looking forward to next school year and starting out from the first day with these tools.
This is an exciting article because it is our students who are in the middle of this “writing revolution”. I feel lucky to have learned tools and strategies to help my students become better writers. I love that these tools and strategies leverage the writing process, but they do not take over creativity, ideas, and the responsibility that comes with a written piece. I can still hold my students accountable for the quality of their writing while providing support along the way. I loved this quote from the article: “Written words are no longer static. Whereas ink on paper produces a fixed product, digital writing allows constant revision and is easily supplemented with animation, sounds, videos and graphics.” My students enjoy that digital writing provides them with tools to supplement their writing. It makes the process more interesting. How can we not be excited about a final product where a student has worked on everything we look at on a writing rubric, but they have also enhanced their writing?! I think the article ended perfectly… “The task of a writer is being able to make something out of an idea." To take an intangible thought and turn it into something for others to enjoy is awesome!
IW Blog Post “Writing Revolution” NovemberI believe that this “Writing Revolution” should remind us that writing should be across the curriculum, indeed embraced by all subject areas. Do we then need a designated class called “Writing 101”? I think, yes. It is nice to read a blog of a well thought argument with grammar that lends itself to represent the intelligent thoughts of the writer. I only need look to the young bloggers in my class to see the need for writing instruction. While I I encourage my students to blog in such a way, I find it challenging to meet the needs of this new kind of writing as quick as it enters our cyberspace!! I remember watching each word print out of the “dot matrix” printer, my 1st paper to be turned in with the ability to revise without starting over, each word laboriously typed, whiteout in hand. Today the “Writing Revolution” gives us an ability to coach, comment, encourage and educate our young writers across the curriculum, in and out of the classroom!