What qualifies an assignment as a digital writing piece? One of the best quotes I heard this summer: “Anything completed on a computer that could have been done with paper and pencil is not digital literacy.” I realized I was stuck with my definition. This summer through twitter chats, Allwrite conference, reading and discussing professional books, I redefined digital literacy for myself. Although it will be a working definition because I will be learning right along with my students.
Digital writing is not just typing on the computer and not just googling it to locate the answer. Most writing needs to be within a community similar to my learning this summer. A group of writers interested in composing along with conversations that will help them grow not only as writers but also as a class community.
We are going to begin this process with our weekly newsletters. Each Monday, I am going to give the students a large sticky note and ask them to be a recorder all week. Keeping a list of their favorite lessons, books, moments etc. On Friday, we are going to share our lists and form writing clubs: reading, writing, word study, math, science and Room 228. Each club will compose a part of our weekly newsletter. Last week, we started small with creating our Top 10. Another shift is the newsletter will be posted on our class website which anyone can access although certain sections will be password protected. Moving from paper newsletters to posting it will break down the walls by expanding the audience. The students can share the newsletter not only with their own family but grandparents etc. who might live out of Ohio or even not in the United States. At some point, I might open the comment section on our newsletters which is something I am considering. Any thoughts?
As I introduced this last week, the students were very excited about their job as a recorder and then a composer. I have several goals woven into this process. One the students will see their work published weekly which is a huge shift from last year. Next their work will be published to a larger audience which changes the perspective of their writing. Finally as a class of writers, they will grow as they watch the newsletters evolve throughout the school year building a digital portfolio of our school year. Now I am wondering what I can do with all these newsletters at the end of the year?