Dr. Peter Elbow’s story was amazing, wasn’t it? How many students finish their education, like Peter, without knowing how to write? Countless, no doubt…
Writing is a skill that requires a lot of practice to do well. It’s not easy. So, let’s do a writing lesson, connectivist style. We’ll be putting the learning theory of Connectivism and Connective Knowledge to a practical use in this activity.
Ready? Let’s go!
Goal: To produce a final product, one to two pages in length, by going through a process of peer-reviewed, collaborative writing.
Time: One class period: 40 – 45 minutes
Materials: Paper, pen, internet connection, data show, laptop or computer.
1. Brainstorming / Pyramid Speaking:
For 3 – 4 minutes, students turn and talk (in pairs) about their memories of being 8 years old, related to friends, school, playing, and how they viewed the world.
When I was 8, I had _______ friends…
When I was 8, I went to school by_______ .
We used to play/do/make/have_______ .
After 3 – 4 minutes, the pairs form groups of 4.
Repeat the process, reporting what they learned from their partner.
After 3 – 4 minutes, form groups of 8.
Repeat the process, comparing what they have learned.
2. Next, the Teacher conducts a class plenary.
Students report, randomly, with Teacher writing useful phrases, vocabulary on the board.
3. YouTube Video (Unity is Strength)
Next, students watch a short video, taking notes about their reactions, thoughts, emotions.
4. After viewing:
All students take one sheet of paper each:
Rules: Each student writes one sentence and passes the sheet of paper to a classmate. The process continues, continually writing one sentence and passing the sheet of paper to another classmate.
After 20 minutes, stop the connectivist activity:
Each student should have finished with a completed collaborative story. Summarize the class for the day in the remaining time.
Phase II: Homework:
Group shared writing:
In groups of 4 – 8 students (depending on class size), each member of the group has to write a second draft of the story that they finished with in class. They are expected to collaborate with each other in this stage, on-line, using a Wiki, blog, email, or other LMS, such as MOODLE or Blackboard. (I store my knowledge in my friends).
A hard copy of the the writing is displayed on the class wall, bulletin board, the hallway, in a newsletter, or other prominent place for their classmates to enjoy.
Parallel, a class blog could be created, using Blogspot, WordPress or other free blogging tool. Again, this is with student collaboration. (This depends on the resources available and the policies of each individual school).
This activity could be easily adapted, to meet the demands of students with higher abilities and skill levels, or used with more teacher support, in a guided learning / guided writing approach, to facilitate learners with lower levels of English.