Friday, August 8, 2014

Final Project, Choice and Technology

Last year I began to use RAFT with my grade two students when working on writing projects. The main reason was to provide choice for my students but still provide structure. I plan to continue to use it next year. Like anything new we try in the classroom, there are kinks to be worked out. Here is my reflection on using RAFT and letting grade two students choose the format for their final product.


What's It Is Like To Be In A Play

I have done reader's theatre with my students for many years. After the plays, I usually have students write/reflect about what it is like to be in a play. This year I decided to apply RAFT to the activity. Each time I do RAFT, I leave one of the elements open for choice. This time I decided to leave format open. As a class we brainstormed possible ways to share information with next year's grade twos. They came up with:
  • letter/email
  • blog post
  • instructions
  • video (which would need a script)

Brainstorming and Planning

I told students: No matter your final format, you'll  need a first draft. 
I asked students: How are you going to organize your ideas?

A class discussion led to the decision that a descriptive organizer was the best option. As a class, we did a circle map brainstorm of ideas that should be included in the writing. Then students wrote their first drafts. I edited the drafts.


Publishing

All student work was published on our class blog, except the email one. I scanned the posters and embedded the videos. Students who chose a blog post, wrote their final copies directly on the class blog. Parents had already signed FOIP forms in September. However, I sent home a note informing them about this specific project because some students were on video. 


After I posted the projects on the blog, I selectively shared our blog post with some G+ groups. We got one great response! Another teacher was going to share the videos with her class. I also shared all the videos, posters and blog posts with the class so they could see each other's final projects.


Reflections 

Overall, it was a successful project. If I were to do it again, I would limit the choice to two or three items. Providing instructions was the least successful product as students struggled with how to show this and it was decided a poster would be the best option. The email option worked well enough, but I had the student sent it to the grade one teacher to share with her class. I am not sure he got the same sense of accomplishment as the other students. The video option went much better than I had anticipated. 


Student Examples*

Poster



Video


Blog Post

Email


* permissioned obtained by parents to share these projects on this blog specifically.