How I Use It
During our Intervention period on Tuesday's, I read an article from StoryWorks Magazine with my students. Generally, it is a non-fiction story. The topics range from surviving a hurricane to the Great Molasses Flood. At the end of the reading, I pose a question or series of questions for the students to answer. They must answer it with their own opinions in at least 4 sentences. Every once in a while, we will read a debate. I will ask the students to choose a side and write down at least 3 reasons they have chosen that side. Later in the afternoon, I take my students to the computer lab to type up their responses to the article. If a student did not finish writing it in the period before, they finish it before getting to type it. After students have typed their response, I ask them to respond to 2 other people's opinions with at least 2 sentences. Their sentences are to be thoughtful and well written. Saying "Good job!" or "I agree." are unacceptable. During this time, I am, sometimes, able to respond as they are typing. I respond so the students can have an example of what a well written response would look/sound like. I still have some of my students writing shallow responses to other students, but it has been mostly positive writings. That can be a big issue with my students and how they interact with each other. I'm happy to see that they can use the internet appropriately and safely.
I love using this website to allow my students to interact with each other over the internet. My students do not have a technology class, so it gives them practice in their typing skills. It also allows them more free reign to share their opinions of their own and on other student's stances as well. I also enjoy responding to the students and being completely honest with them. Due to some of my students being faster typers than others, I can have an extended activity on there for them to complete. This could include an interactive quiz, video, or assignment to complete. The students also enjoy receiving badges and changing their own profile.