The first website I like is Boom Writer. It is an interactive website where classmates can work collaboratively on a single story. You could compare it to shared writing or “sharing the pen.” Watch this quick YouTube video to get an overview of how it works. There are several interesting features of this website…
- #1 – Each student still works independently on their own chapter but the finished project is a group effort.
- #2 – All work must be submitted to the teacher for approval. This way the teacher can decide if the student is Off Track, Staying On Track, or Blazing New Ground. (Shout out to GMU rubric grading!)
- #3 – The voting process is anonymous and all work is judge based on merit. This is so important in my opinion!
I believe this activity can be a great way of getting students excited about writing and is similar to a technique called the Language Experience Approach (LEA) that I learned about in my own literacy class this semester. LEA is an activity where students tell their own stories or dictate their own experiences to the teacher. The other students in the class are able to make connections or draw upon their own experiences to add to the story or help make revisions to it. This has been shown to be a very motivating and engaging activity for students. Boom Writer also provides the option to read the book online or purchase it in soft cover to keep in your classroom library.
The second website I like is Storyline Online. It is an online streaming video website. Here students can go and listen to SAG (Screen Actors Guild) members read aloud different childrens books that come with accompanying lessons and activities. This is a GREAT website for emergent and beginning readers but could be well-liked and appropriate for all ages. Storyline Online could easily be used as a center since it is accessible through YouTube (the website does warn about some school systems blocking YouTube use – so check that it works before introducing it to your class). As part of the center students could “Turn and Talk” with their partner and retell the story. Another idea I came up with is using it during quiet time. The website can be streamed via the SMART board and the whole class could listen and watch.
The third website I like is the Teaching Channel. It is a website where registered members can trade ideas and share encouragement and inspiration with each other. Watch this quick video for an overview of the Teaching Channel. There are a few key factors I like best about this website…
- #1 – The video library spans several different subject matters and focuses on all grade levels K-12.
- #2 – The website also features a weekly one-hour program of Teaching Channel videos that airs on PBS stations throughout the country.
- #3 – The quality of the videos posted is TOP NOTCH! All videos are produced by a unique team of collaborative professionals. They consist of video production experts, educational advisors, and the classroom teachers.
I found this website to be similar to Pinterest in that teachers can look for new and creative ideas. What makes the Teaching Channel special is the high quality videos that they use and how beneficial and useful they are.
These three websites are just the beginning of my research into building a solid, organized, and well-planned out literacy program. I look forward to using the approaches and ideas I found and incorporating them into my future classroom.