W.CCR.6 — that's the 6th College and Career Readiness anchor standard within the Writing strand of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA/Literacy — reads as follows:
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
Though I often see CCSS alignment synonomized with buying technology, there are actually very few anchor standards that specifically mention tech; W.CCR.6 is one of them.
Producing/publishing writing via the Internet
To put it briefly, W.CCR.6 is the online writing anchor standard. (<-Click to tweet.)
I have to admit, I'm glad this standard is in the CCSS. While I'm pretty old school when it comes to literacy (I like to find ways to get kids engaged with mastering fundamental print literacies), there's no doubt that students need ample experience thinking through and practicing the implications and strategies and methods for producing and publishing writing online. (<-Click to tweet.)
If they don't, they'll be that guy who creates squirm-inducingly private Facebook posts and blasts them out to all of his friends.
Down to business: how do we help students use technology to produce writing via the Internet?
There seems to be another option every time you turn around, but the main resource I use for online writing production is Google Docs. It's not very unique of me, but it's very practical — it links with other Google products, and it tends to work on anything that connects to the Internet (I've had students write papers on their iPods using Google Docs — I don't advise that).
For 12 other online word processors, check this out.
Now, on to online publishing. There are about 17 million ways to publish writing online, and they range from Tweets to notes to pages to blogs to ebooks and more. Here are some that I've used, with varying degrees of success:
- WordPress.com — I taught a Grammar for Writing class one year, and I wanted students to practice the editing skills they were learning by frequently publishing writing. Hello, blogging. Even though this was a small class, I had a hard time keeping students accountable for the editing they were supposed to be doing: 20 students X 3 posts per week X 3 minutes reading/assessing each post… It was hard. But I do think blogging is probably the awesomest way to publish online, so please: if you're a student blog whisperer, share some love in the comments section.
- Edmodo.com — This is a resource that friend/colleague Erica Beaton (@B10LovesBooks) turned me on to last fall. I used it all year, and it was a great way for students to post drafts or finalized pieces to the class and receive feedback.
- Google Docs — Again, it's not sexy, but it works. Students can “share” their documents with specific people, or they can make their documents public. They can also enable commenting on their documents, which allows readers to interact with the writing throughout the text.
Interacting/collaborating with others via the Internet
There are so many freaking ways to interact and collaborate with others on the Internet. Some of them aren't very easy to manage in K-12 ed settings (e.g., Facebook), but there are tons of resources out there for collaboration and interaction.
Unfortunately, I've already hit on two of the three main resources that I use: Edmodo and Google Docs. The third resource is simply Gmail — it's conveniently linked with Google Docs, and it provides various methods (email, chat, video chat) for students to collaborate and interact with each other, whether across the classroom or across the world.
Now, let's be W.CCR.6ish and collaborate!
What resources do you use to get students producing writing, publishing, interacting, and collaborating online? Share a resource in the comments section below.
Jonetta Jonte' says
My students build collaborative research documents and literary analysis in PB Works. We also use our Wiki to download class notes and share documents.
Thanks for the heads up on PB Works, Jonetta — it looks pretty cool! Would you be willing to share a link to your wiki? I’m always interested in seeing how teachers set up online structures.
Erica Beaton (@B10LovesBooks) says
I totally agree that “blogging is probably the awesomest way to publish online.” After finally experiencing it with my students this Spring, I was blown away at the “audience awareness” my students took on before publishing. Once they realized that anyone out there could stumble across their blog, they shifted their perspective from writer to reader, clarifying confusing details and revising those grammatical errors that we know they know how to fix but sometimes just don’t.
Secondly, my friend, you say that Google Docs is not so sexy, but remember that while your students use it regularly–because of your awesome support–there are still a majority of students out there that don’t speak the language of Real-Time used on the Cloud. The power of sharing a piece of writing with teachers, parents, and peers in real-time is still so foreign to too many kids. This deliberate practice, along with e-mail, creates more mindful writers.
Thanks for tech breakdown (and the shout-out)!
Erica, thanks for the reminder — you are totally write. I hope that, as the CCSS inevitably creates a technology push in many districts, one fruit of that shift will be more students productively and effectively using cloud computing and online publishing to grow into more intentional, TAP-minded writers. Thanks Erica!
I like that concept of “deliberate practice,” Erica, and that use of explicit instruction balanced with “possibilities” outside of the field of our own teacher vision (ie, kids exploring, playing and discovering, and making their own connections) is important. Of course, that is also the very thing that can scare some teachers, too.
We use Glogster (edu) for much of the year, as a way to talk about design, synthesis of ideas, publishing and use of multimedia in composition.
Here is just one collection that they did around digital citizenship: http://edu.glogster.com/presentation/glog-flow/7757938
The hardest thing is not to get locked into one tool, or see the tool as the reason for the assignment, you know? What we want is the technology to be part of the overall composition strategies of our students, as much as possible anyway.
Here are some more examples of how we use technology in our sixth grade classroom for publishing, collaborating and more: http://digitalis.nwp.org/site-blog/technology-and-writing-through-year/3922
Dea Comrad-Curry says
I like Wikispaces for building classroom wikis. I also like VoiceThread. Both have specially designed accounts for educators that make uploading class rosters easier and applications for developing group projects.
Dea, thanks for the comment — I’ve seen a colleague do awesome things with VoiceThread, but I haven’t had the courage to jump into it yet. Thanks for the encouragement and the resource share!
Mike Tokarczyk says
I have used Collaborize Classroom the last few years. This is a free online community web tool that promotes proper online interaction between students by providing teachers with lots of resources to aide instruction.
My classes have had a number of good debates using Collaborize Classroom. It was pretty cool to see students not only respectfully disagreeing with one another, but crafting some really well thought out arguments in written form.
I would definitely recommend taking a look at Collaborize Classroom. It’s an excellent tool that would work well in any subject. http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com/
Mike, this looks sweet! Thanks for the heads up — I’d like to try Collaborize this coming school year. I’ve been using Edmodo, which has proven a great and time-saving online classroom platform, but the discussion features on Edmodo are not as robust or user friendly as those on Collaborize. Thanks again!
Matt Jacobson says
Here’s a conundrum we’re grappling with – maybe this could be an idea for a post – I’ve found very little on the Web to help supply answers, perhaps your readers could help:
Let’s look at the mentions of Keyboarding in Writing Std #6:
Grade 3: With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
Grade 4: With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
Grade 5: With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.
Grade 6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.
This raises some questions that I’m having trouble finding appropriate answers:
1. What is considered “a page” and “a single sitting”?
2. Does this mean simply keying in a previously-composed thesis, or does this encompass all of the good writing process skills kids need: pre-writing, organizing, editing, etc.?
3. “Guidance & support from adults” disappears in the 6th grade standard, then all mention of keyboarding disapprears completely from the standards. Does this indicate an expectation of mastery of keyboarding skills no later than 6th grade? What implications does this have for high school business departments, etc.?
Thanks for the VERY POSTABLE question! For the sake of getting back to you sooner than I can write a full post, let me take a crack at your questions and, perhaps, some true sage of the interwebs will come and more fully answer them for us.
1. I think this is a classic case of intentional ambiguity–a common tactic used by the CCSS authors to allow for local flexibility. I think your group (district, state?) would be wise to define “a page” and “a single sitting” in explicit terms (e.g., 250 words in 20 minutes, or whatever).
2. It seems here that there are multiple skills in a single standard. The keyboarding is meant to be done in a single sitting, whereas the use of technology, the publishing, the interaction, and the collaboration could very well occur over multiple days or even weeks. Though I like how the CCSS have simplified reading and writing down to 10 standards, the fact is that they have often only done this by condensing multiple skills into a single standard, as is the case here.
3. It seems to me that the idea here is that, by the time 6th grade is over, students have mastered keyboarding. The implication for high school business departments would be that keyboarding is no longer a part of standard curricula–instead, I hope they’d go deeper than they are currently able to.
Thanks again, Matt–your question is a great one that I’m sure many have (or will have)!