Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Integrating Technology into the Language Arts Classroom

I've compiled a list of ideas for technology integration into the Language Arts classroom.

1. Integrating Poetry Annotation and Web Technology

In this hypertext writing project, "students annotate a poem, creating hyperlinks that connect keywords and ideas in the poem to related Web pages. The process of writing and creating links helps middle school students think not only of alternative textual forms but of more traditional organizational principals, only with more options. It also brings together the textual elements of color, font, image, as well as the more traditional conventions of print text. Further, students become more conscious of textual cues."

Webbing Tool Student Interactive
Google Page Creator


2. Story Character Homepage

Students will choose a character to thoroughly analyze it and create a homepage for the character. They will choose things their characters would be likely to include on the Web.

Literary Elements Map Student Interactive
Google Page Creator


3. Book Report Alternative: Comic Strips and Cartoon Squares

Students "want new ways to think about a work of literature and new ways to dig into it. By creating comic strips or cartoon squares featuring characters in books, they're encouraged to think analytically about the characters, events, and themes they've explored in ways that expand their critical thinking by focusing on crystallizing the significant points of the book in a few short scenes."

Comic Creator Student Interactive (students can draw anything by selecting backgrounds, characters, speech bubbles etc., but the comic elements are imited)
Comics Sketch Mainada.Net - Sketch your imagination (students draw online with a mouse).
QuickToons.com(students can draw anything by selecting backgrounds, characters, speech bubbles etc., but the comic elements are limited)
http://www.stripcreator.com/ (students can draw anything by selecting backgrounds, characters, speech bubbles etc., but the comic elements are limited)

4. Creating a Safe Online Profile

"In this activity, teenagers explore online names by looking at sample e-mail addresses to determine what they can tell about the person who uses the account. After this exploration, teens choose a screen name or e-mail address for themselves as well as decide on personal details to include on a safe online profile."

Child Safety on the Information Highway booklet
Online Profile Tips
Online Name Form

5. Student Blogs

Each student posts a blog entry related to the assignment.


Student Blog Examples:
Free-Range Thinking -- 11th Grade English,
Donna Hebert's Blogmeister -- Language Arts
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd -- a Modern American Literature class at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in the US has constructed a reader’s guide to the Secret Life of Bees.
Weblogs in Education: Bringing the World to the Liberal Arts Classroom -- explains how teachers and students in English classrooms are using Weblogs to effectively break down the walls of the classroom, integrating teaching and learning with local and virtual communities.
Mrs. C's Senior English Blog -- seniors in high school English weigh in on class discussions regarding British Literature. Also, teachers visit to comment on using technology in education and the language arts classroom.
English Literature 12
Senior English Reflections
HS senior English shares assigned writings via the blog.


6. Wikispaces

Michael McGrann, a Latin teacher, created a Latin B Culture Wiki for his 8th grade students.

"Part 1: At the beginning of the year, I had students write questions that they would ask a Roman if they could travel back in time. I've assembled these questions, organized them into broad categories, and posted them on a wiki. The students have an ongoing assignment to peruse the questions, do some research, and respond to the questions. They may include images, weblinks, etc. in their response.

Part 2: In the same wiki, I have a space for students to discuss elements of Roman culture they see in their own lives - in literature, art, architecture, etc. Again, they can post images or weblinks if appropriate.

Activities: I plan to use some class time to teach those who aren't familiar with using wikis - or can't figure it out - how to edit entries. We'll also use class time to see what students have entered and have discussions around these topics. We'll also have to discuss how to cite sources correctly.

Tools and Resources (software, hardware, websites, books): I am encouraging students to use any resource information they can to research the questions: the internet, books, people, etc. I will also encourage them to post and photos that they may have that are appropriate. They can access the wiki from any computer that has internet access. There is no special software.

Assessment: On occasion, I will ask students to work on this for homework or make it one option of several for a homework assignment. I may use high levels of participation as extra credit or as a way to improve the participation grade or a way to wipe out other missed homework assignments" (printed with permission from Michael McGrann).

Visit Wikispaces
Take a Tour

Wiki ideas for language arts from TeachersFirst:
  • A continuing story in which your class adds sentence suing new vocabulary words and writes and adventure story in collaboration with the entire class. They will NEVER forget the meaning of the words as they read and re-read their story each time they visit to add. The story can be a single version or branch off into multiple versions and endings.
  • A collection of mythological allusions found in “real life” while studying Greek/Roman mythology: Ex. Mercury cars- why are they so named?
  • An online writer’s workshop or poetry workshop with suggested revisions from classmates. Start with drafts and collaborate. Make sure students use the notes tab to explain why they make changes.
  • Summary and discussion of a scene of a play, a poem, or even chapter by chapter of a novel, with groups taking responsibility for different portions
  • Literary analysis of actual text on the wiki- with links to explanations of literary devices, a glossary to explain vocabulary, etc. Try it with a scene from Shakespeare or a sonnet! Each student or group could be responsible for a portion, then ALL can edit and revise to improve the collaborative project. You will be amazed how much they will find and argue.
  • Collaborative book reviews or author studies
  • Creative projects, such as a script for a Shakespeare scene reset in the 21st century
  • A travel brochure wiki- use wikis to “advertise” for different literary, historical, or cultural locations and time periods: Dickens’ London, fourteenth century in Italy in Verona and Mantua ( Romeo and Juliet), The Oklahoma Territory, The Yukon during the Gold Rush, Ex-patriot Paris in the Twenties, etc.
  • Character resume wiki: have literature classes create a resume wikis for characters in a novel or play you are reading. Both creativity and documented evidence from the literature are required (use notes to indicate the evidence from the text).

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