Presenting: The Resources of NWP’s Digital Is

nwp digitalis
About a year and a half ago, I went out to California for a meeting about a National Writing Project venture that was be entitled Digital Is. Supported in part by the MacArthur Foundation, the Digital Is concept involved a web portal to explorations of technology, writing and learning in ways that would go beyond the “how to do it” of typical websites.

Yesterday, the NPW Digital Is site launched to the public, and it is a wonderfully rich potpourri of teacher reflections on the “why” of technology as much as the “what we did” of technology. There are plenty of examples of student work, too, and discussions will hopefully revolve around our changing ideas of what writing means when it comes to multimodal composition and the classroom.

Elyse Eidman-Aadahl,who directs the national programs and site development for NWP and whose insights into technology and learning are worth their weight in gold, explains in her blog post on the site about the launching of Digital Is:

…  there’s no mistaking the impact of both the development of new digital tools for composing and of the internet as a global communications and collaboration space. What it means to write, to research, to publish, and to work together has changed dramatically in the last few decades.  As educators, we know our teaching must change too.

As a start, I want to point to a few “collections,” which are curated resources that are constructed around themes. This idea of collections is a great idea, as it pulls together projects and frames them in an importance concept or question by the curator.

So, check these curated collections out as a starting point:

The site is designed to keep growing and you don’t need to be part of the National Writing Project, either. I encourage you to take a tour of Digital Is, become a member and join the conversations around what writing and composition looks like in this midst of technological change, and where our teaching might be going in the years ahead.

Peace (in the sharing),

Creative Writing with Invented Artifacts

This week, I intend to introduce a new book that we just bought this year: Regarding the Fountain by Kate Klise. It’s a short, fun book told with humor and in the style of using “artifacts” from the characters in the story — mostly memos, letters, and notes. I also considered Avi’s Nothing But the Truth, which is another powerful story told through emails, phone messages, etc., about a high school boy who hums along with the National Anthem, gets in trouble with his teacher and sparks a media frenzy. But, some of the language was a bit too much for my sixth graders, and the themes were more high school than elementary school. Still, it’s worth reading.

What I like about the concept of Regarding the Fountain is that I can really teach inference with my sixth graders, as you need to make connections between what is being shown and written, and what is not. And, of course, point of view is critical, too. What are characters not saying?

I am working on my own short story with artifacts, too, because when we are done with the book (it won’t take long to read), I want to have them try their hand at their own. It may be tricky and some of my young writers will be in a better place with their critical thinking skills than others. I know that I am struggling a bit with how to leave out important information so as to not give the story away too early.

Here’s what I have so far:

And if you have never heard of Regarding the Fountain, check out this glog review I did last year when I stumbled onto the book.

Peace (in the inferential thinking),