Resources in this collection
Assessing Digital Writing: Looking Closely at Student Work
This collection highlights six case studies centered on evidence the authors have uncovered through teacher inquiry and structured conversations about students’ digital writing. Beginning with a digital writing sample, each teacher offers an analysis of a student’s work and a reflection on how collaborative assessment affected his or her teaching. Because the authors include teachers from kindergarten to college, this book provides opportunities for vertical discussions of digital writing development, as well as grade-level conversations about high-quality digital writing.
Our book—Assessing Students' Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely—includes an introduction and conclusion, written by Hicks, that provides context for the inquiry group’s work and recommendations for assessment of digital writing.
Resources in this collection
One of the most difficult challenges of teaching first-year writing at the university level is moving students from a set of tightly held, prescriptive beliefs about what constitutes good writing into a space where they can broadly consider the unique rhetorical situation of every composition. Each semester, multiple students tell me they’ve never written anything for school other than a five-paragraph essay, and they look at me incredulously when I tell them that their thesis might not be best located in the last sentence of their first paragraph. They tell me good writers put five to seven sentences in every paragraph and never use contractions, and I tell them that this semester, we’re going to break all those rules and write with more than words on a page or a screen, just to see what might happen.
Working with young children is something I feel very fortunate to be able to do each day. The best part of my day is being able to share great stories with my students. They love when they see me walk in with a large, plain, brown bag. They know it is filled with new treasures from the local, independent bookstore.
My 2nd-graders not only love the rich stories we share together, they become inspired by the authors who touch their lives. We share a strong sense of family in our classroom. We spend the first few weeks of school building routines, setting expectations, and getting to know one another. Throughout the year, we continue to do team-building & activities and share our lives with one another. We have a daily show & and tell, and I eat lunch with students every day. We are very close.
Katie was one of those quiet kids who came to school every day and did what was expected of her. But she was a digital creator in the confines of her bedroom, making movies on her MacBook that she shared with friends.
If Will Richardson, well-known tech educator, had run into Katie when he was researching his recent wake up call for teachers in the USA, entitled “Why School?” and asked her if she thought that school was offering her valuable learning opportunities in the digital world, she might have smirked, shrugged and then responded, no way!
“The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.” Paulo Freire, We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change
Think globally, game locally
In my classroom, we wonder. We wonder how wildfires start. We wonder what is the largest dog in the world. We wonder who invented Legos. My 4th-graders are full of questions. Their curiosity is contagious.
We set the stage for wondering from the very beginning of the school year. Inquiry is the foundation on which I build my curriculum. My 4th-grade students know that our classroom is safe; it is a place to ask questions, take risks, make mistakes, and learn. I want my students to take own- ership of their learning and to produce work that is both meaningful and purposeful to them. I provide spaces and time for those very im- portant conversations that grow student learning. Books, both fiction and nonfiction, line the walls in my classroom. Websites are posted so that students can read articles and blogs online.
Excerpt from Assessing Students’ Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely