This morning I had a few minutes to catch my Twitter feed via tweetdeck and noticed that my colleague in London, ON – Danika – had shared her students’ personal essays on their class blog. I took a few minutes to listen to the students’ voice recordings of their essays and realized that they were a perfect pairing for my own students’ memoirs – a work in progress in our classroom at the moment.
Students in my class have been working on their memoirs in our writer’s workshop over the past week and we are focusing on developing word choice (expectation 2.3 writing – regularly use vivid and/or figurative language and innovative expressions in their writing) and voice (expectation 2.2 writing – establish a distinctive voice in their own writing).
After making a few quick adjustments to my afternoon lesson plans, I was able to set aside a little chunk of time for my students to listen to the personal essays and discuss them. I facilitated the conversation to focus on content, organization, word choice and voice. The discussion was rich and I believe that hearing the examples written by Danika’s students provided my students with excellent models of personal memoir writing.
After my students took a few minutes to ‘rapid write’ their reflections on the essays, we posted our comments to their class blog – a networked learning teachable moment!