Age: 9 -12 yrs
The Google Docs/Drive, a sharing and collective writing space is a great tool to promote writing skills. The collaborative construction of text allows reflection on the writing process, because it happens in interaction with peers and with the teacher. The ease of building and reformulating the text also helps the development of creativity and critical thinking.
In class, present the activity to your students. Maybe you can start be reading texts and exploring the type of text that will be reproduced by the students. For example, if you choose the narrative text you can focus on transforming it: changing a story keeping the structure, imagining a different outcome for a story, etc.
Next step is to create a script for the story to be constructed collectively through brainstorming. In this exercise of creativity, you can help spring up ideas by formulating questions for students to decide on the theme of the story, the type of storyteller, the characters, the space, the time, the storyline, etc. Then, place the script on Google Docs in a document shared with the whole class, to serve as guidance to the story development.
It’s now time to start writing the story! So divide the class into working groups (2, 3 or 4 elements per group) and create a schedule that organizes a sequence of weekly participation of groups. The participation of each group is made independently, outside class hours.
Every week in mother tongue class there should be a time for a “writing workshop”, in which the class assesses the excerpt prepared by the responsible group and decides what should be improved (in terms of vocabulary, punctuation and the construction of the text …). This changes can be done in that same moment, using the multimedia projector so everyone can see. The excerpt proposed, which is always written in a different color, becomes black after properly corrected and approved by the group class. However, reformulations may be reviewed throughout the construction process history.
On the last class dedicated to this activity, the students should come up with the title of the story. The story is then illustrated with digitized drawings produced by students and may be published in print and/or digital format: e-book, blog, etc.
What do I need?
- Internet connection
- A multimedia projector
- Google account – https://accounts.google.com
Google Docs/Drive makes it easy the reformulation and improvement of text, enabling a more engaged construction of the text, allowing greater interaction among peers and monitoring of the writing process. Student groups can work online simultaneously for the chat support embedded in the application. The use of this tool allows the experience of writing as a social act, going beyond time and space of the classroom.
Hints and tips
Google Docs / Drive can be used for the collective construction of other types of text in class projects, but also inter-class or inter-schools. If this is the case, the organization of the activity should be reconsidered. It is extremely important to schedule each group participation , so that they will know when they are expected to produce part of the story. The moments of review, correction, illustration and publication may also need to be scheduled and reorganized according to the characteristics of the classes involved.
One other interesting idea is to get the title of the story as the result of a competition open to all those involved. After the proposals, students get to vote on the title they prefer.
This activity can be done at any level of education. It is very advantageous in the early ages of the primary, because it represents an opportunity for the pupil to reflect on the act of writing through the realization collaborative text.
Other opportunities to use the same software
Google Docs / Drive has a set of tools that broaden the opportunities for production and collaborative writing to all contexts and in all areas of education.
By Helena Felizardo
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)
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