Wednesday, December 17, 2014

English 9LE Authentic Authors - A Transformational Experience

"During the writing process I felt I am a professional author."
                                                                                                    - English 9LE Student

The tradition in Mrs. M’s class, aka Beata’s, continues with her English 9 LE students becoming authors and illustrators of their own short stories and sharing these with an authentic audience. This year Emily’s Grade 3 class at PIE participated in the story share.

The journey begins with the writing process, let us take you through some highlights.

First a bullet point plan...

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Which is then expanded to a plot, a list of events, and shared via Google docs...

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Then the first draft is written and shared via Google docs with the teacher for feedback...

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When the story is re-drafted, it is read and commented on by classmates. Using Google forms, students write reflections on how the peer editing session has helped them move forward.  

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Subsequent to more drafting, the stories are made ready for publication. Original illustrations are drawn, scanned with an App such as CamScanner using iPhones, iPads or iPods. Students copy and paste their text in iBooks Author, insert their scanned illustrations, prepare a cover page for the digital book, and include an "About the Author" section. The short stories are previewed in iBooks either on MacBook Airs or an iPad.
Back-up PDFs are uploaded to to be viewed as interactive “flippy books” just in case of technical glitches. Here are some of these books (you might need to set up an account to view these): Hayoon’s heart-gripping “May I go inside your heart?” , Riwa’s comical “Tee hee” , and Kunqi’s competitive “Who’s worth it?”.

You can see Susan read her story " Dream to the Sky" in this 45 second video:

The magical moment this year came towards the end of the hour when we were watching the interaction between the students that were done, as they relaxed and Grade 9 and Grade 3 students started talking to each other, asking each other questions. The younger students proudly took out their work to share with the older students, they started reading their poems to them, they took out their research posters to show off. It was truly touching.

Before leaving the G3 students were asked what they liked about the short stories they had just read. They highlighted the interesting vocabulary words used to describe “thunder”, they referred to a metaphor presented in a story,  they were impressed with the “About the Author” page as well as the artistic illustrations that were included. See here what they had to offer:

After a few high fives and goodbyes and promises to visit each other’s classes again, the English 9 LE students left feeling a wonderful sense of accomplishment and excitement. There was a buzz in the air on the long walk back to class.

Upon arriving to class, the students wrote reflections about their experience and their learning:

* What did you learn?

A / I learnt how to use literary devices to make the story more interesting and I learnt how to apply variable verbs and adjectives to the sentences.

B / I learnt the technique of layout and how to preview iBook on iPad.

C / I learnt that children’s understanding skills are impressive and they can learn from the story 
quickly. If I have more illustrations, that would be better.

* The most important thing I learned was …

A / If I am writing my essay or story, I need to revise a lot of times to make a perfect draft.

B / The world is changing with new technology and I have the right to use it wisely.

C / Grade 3 children respected my story and listened carefully, even if it was boring.

* What got in the way of your learning? ( What I found difficult was … )

What I found difficult was to write an interesting but simple story, I am still not satisfied with my story. I tried to make a sad and touching story, but the conversation and descriptions could not send messages to the readers, not very well.

* I might have learned better if … I need more help with...

I might have learned better if I had more help with revising the draft a lot of times, and tried to read more books to get inspired on descriptions to touch the readers’ feeling.

* How did you feel?  ( During the writing process I felt… After the visit I felt….)

A / During the writing process I felt I am a professional author.

B /  During the publishing process, I felt proud of myself that I made the story and published it with the lovely pictures in iBook.

C / After the visit I regretted - what if I made the story more interesting for Grade 3 kids?

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Through the students thoughtful reflections of their journey as authors it is clear that this experience was transformational on many levels.

A big thank you to Emily Dixon-Ryan's Grade 3 Class!

Beata Mirecka-Jakubowska and Pia Druggan

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