Saturday, 3 October 2015

Circuluar Writing With Google Docs

A teacher came into see me the period before a lesson, asking if I had a tool for circular writing. She wanted everyone to write an opening chapter, then another student to write the second chapter, another the third and so on. Although I could not think of a tool dedicated to do this, we realized that Google Docs was an easy solution!

We started by making a Google Drive Folder, which was accessible by anyone at our school, who has the link. We then created 18 documents, as we had 18 students, and labelled them by number.

We also decided that tasking a student to write the opening chapter would be the most difficult part, so decided to use some writing prompts. If we had more time to plan, we may have written these ourselves, but, as we are short for time, we used some pre-written prompts. I use Pinterest a lot, and already had several folders full of resources to help this, (general writing prompts, sci-fi writing prompts, hero story prompts and dystopian prompts). I chose a mixture of prompts, which all included some text. I'd like to experiment and have some with just images soon too.

Some examples of the prompts used:

We started by having students pull a number out of a bowl, this was the first document they worked on. It also meant that they didn't write the following chapter to the person sitting next to them. We used for a timer and gave students 5 minutes to write their opening chapter. They then closed their document and opened the next number document. They were then given two minutes to read the chapter, then five minutes to write the next.

Students seemed to really enjoy this activity and they wrote a huge amount! One student was pulled out of the lesson to speak with our principal, so I took over his laptop and got to have the student experience myself and it was great. They came up with very creative plot twists, used fantastic language and responded well to their peers previous chapters.

This is a super easy thing to do in the classroom and I recommend everyone giving it a go!  I am definitely going to collaborate with that English teacher again, as this was such a cool idea and I will share it with our other teachers, including the French, German, Spanish and ESOL teams.