Day 5—Task Design

Hi folks! Here is the recap for class on 1/26/2016.

Our readings for class were Indiana Standards for Writing and Ken Lindblom’s blog post titled, “School Writing Vs. Authentic Writing.” Reading these two texts together generated a lot of discussion about implementing standards and authentic writing in the classroom. Hopefully, this blog post can refresh your memory and keep the ball rolling!

Class started with a bit of “housekeeping.”

  • We were reminded of our upcoming due dates:This I Believe draft 1 – Thursday 1/28 (Next class!)
    • Don’t forget to make this your best first draft!
  • Twitter reflection #1 – Thursday 2/4
    • Remember to put your thoughts out there!
    • Don’t forget that you can use #BSU350 and #bsuenglish

We also turned over responsibility of our blog-post writing to students in the class (thanks for kicking us off, Emilie!), and an interesting question was asked.

When it is my turn to write the blog post, can I use information about other people or myself from class? We discussed the pros and cons of this as a group. One suggestion was to tag the speaker with the their Twitter handle. It is nice to give nods to people and credit to the knowledge being build in class. However, using a person’s name or their Twitter handle may put information on the blog, e.g. a person’s last name, that they would prefer not to have publicized. Ryan suggested that we request permission to use people’s names (Thank you for permission to use your name, Ryan!). In conclusion, simply make sure that you have been given consent to use people’s names and information they may have shared in class.

*This also means that people are responsible for answering the appointed blogger when they ask to use your name or quote you!

The next order of business was to reflect on Ken Lindblom’s main points. Together, we made a list of key points made in the blog “School Writing Vs. Authentic Writing” and reflected on what they might mean for a classroom.  Here’s what we came up with!

  • We talked about how students may not be getting the type of practice that they need for “real-world” environments. When decided that when we only ask students to only write a five paragraph essay, we could deprive them of ways to practice and learn skills that will be pertinent later in life. Lindblom added to this by saying, “Auhentic writing not only helps students learn more about writing in the real world, it’s also more fun for them, for their teachers, and for their families, who can appreciate seeing their children making a difference in some aspect of their world.”
  • We also discussed on where we place value when we look at written works from students. we concluded that maybe the focus should be more heavily rested on content (which is not the way that it is currently for most). Lindblom called attention to the importance of content by saying, “Because young people are now constantly engaged in real-world, social-media writing, it’s more important than ever that they learn how to write effectively, intelligently, and ethically.”
  • School writing is almost always focused on the teacher as an audience. It was interesting to see that when asked how many of us had previously taken a class that allowed us to write to an authentic audience, only a few of us raised our hands!

When our thoughts on Lindblom were collected, we moved on to discussing the Indiana Standards for Writing.

In case you need a recap on how to read the way the standards are written, here is a key: W = writing, first number = standard, second number = indicator for specific standard

After reading the standards across grade levels, the class made some excellent observations on how standards might help or create difficulty in the classroom.

At first, I found the standards and the idea of authentic writing to be relatively simple. However, after the class discussed it, I realized that combining the two in writing tasks could present a great challenge.

Here are some concerns and questions that the class came up with:

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Class impressions of the criteria for creating a writing task.

Important take aways from our conversation were that we need to keep authenticity as our first priority and that frameworks are only dangerous when they become our only focus.

Looking ahead, we should be mindful of opportunities for authentic writing for our students! Grant Wiggins wrote an article called “Real-World Writing: Making Purpose and Audience Matter,”in which, you can find ideas about helping students find what they want to say and putting it into an authentic and strongly impacting form. After our discussions in class, it is also clear that we should strive to be transparent with our students about goals and standards that we want them to be able to accomplish. Grant Wiggins wrote a post about authentic teaching that might help you understand ways to be open with your students about goals that you are aiming for them to achieve!

In conclusion, by allowing them to see what they should be able to accomplish, giving them an authentic audience, and the opportunity to write on a topic they feel passionately about, we will be setting students up to be successful students!

Go forth and inspire students to write!

(And start writing yourselves!)

Hannah

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