Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Creativity and Tech Integration in Writing - Part 1

An informal brainstorming session with +Jonathan So, a good friend and colleague, led my students and I down the road of a character development idea that would fit in nicely with writing. Our talk provided me with some sparks on how to hook my students into doing some writing while having the opportunity to be creative, integrate some helpful technology, and bring their ideas to life.

The task is to create a fictional character and then weave him/her/it into some narrative writing. We started by talking about internal and external character traits and then started to develop our own characters. The students were provided with a graphic organizer where they would draw a picture of their character in the middle and then list their external and internal traits on either side of the character. Here are a few examples:

After the students finished getting their rough ideas on paper, we thought it would be a great to start a Google Doc in order to have all our ideas in a central place where we could look at each others work, share our thoughts, and even grab some inspiration (whether we are at school or at home, an Internet connection is all that is needed to visit the work anytime, any day). I created the Doc and placed it in our D2L (Learning Management System) site. From there, the students could easily access it and start working. This is what it looks like:

As the students recorded their ideas from the work they did on their graphic organizer, they asked if they could include a picture of their character in the Google Doc. Why not? I told them that they could use Google Draw Drawings to recreate what they drew on their graphic organizer - they obliged!

The students have done a wonderful job of using their time effectively and putting in an honest effort. They are enjoying themselves and working hard as they think about their creations and how they want to develop their character. The work they are doing has captured their attention and they are responding well to the failure they are experiencing along the way and to the feedback I am providing them with. 

As they wrap up this portion of their writing activity, they will begin to work on taking their 2D drawings and transforming them into a 3D drawings. They will also start writing their narrative, staring their created character. They will use Tinkercad to turn their characters into tangible 3D products and will receive instruction on how to take their creative ideas and form a short narrative that makes sense and is entertaining. 

Make sure to check back with us to see the awesome stories and 3D artifacts that are created!


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