Friday, October 20, 2006

Scribe Posts: The Fifth Grade Version

This year my goal is to take my students' blogging to the next level. Instead of using their blogs as repositories for project-based learning, I've decided that I want my students using their blogs as bloggers do--to communicate and connect with another. I want students publishing thoughts on the days work, linking to other websites and student posts, and to dialogue with one another through comments.

These are big goals for fifth graders, so I've decided to start with my accelerated math classes. These kids are pretty sharp and extremely motivated, so I feel like they could take these goals and run with them. I've decided the best method for reaching these goals is to have them begin doing Scribe Posts, similar to the ones that Darren Kuroptawa over at the A Difference blog has had his students doing.

Below is how I described Scribe Posts to my students:
Scribes were highly valued members of Ancient Egyptian society. They studied for many years to learn to read and write and were hired to keep careful records of everything produced. As a result, almost all of our known knowledge about the Ancient Egyptians came from the work of the scribe.

With this blog, you will be performing a job similar to that of the Ancient Egyptian scribe. You will do this through what are called Scribe Posts. In a scribe post, you will account the day's activities from math class. Each post should contain:

  • The day’s learning target

  • An example problem

  • A short lesson on the topic

  • Some media: a link, a photo, some audio, etc.

Each day two people will write the scribe post. The next day two different people will write it and then so on until we get back to the original two and they will start the cycle over again. The day that you do the scribe post you will have a reduced amount of homework; just enough to get some practice with the day's learning.

As of now, I've also planned to have each student buddy up with three other students in an effort to get them commenting on and linking to each other's blogs. It'll take quite a bit of guidance at first, but as is often written in the educational blogoshpere, the benefits should be enormous.

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Darren Kuropatwa said...

Hey Jamie! I just came across your post and read it with great interest. I'd like to invite you to join what is currently a very small group of teachers (3 of us) in using a wiki called The Scribe Post Hall of Fame. It serves as a repositiory for us to connect with each other and encourage each other's students to great efforts in the work by recognizing those that srite outstanding scribe posts.

I realize this post is "old" (in internet terms) so I'm going to go looking for the kids scribes now ... very cool! ;-)


Dean Shareski said...

I justed bookmarked this post as I've been doing a number of workshops lately with teachers who are quite intrigued by Darren's scribing idea. It's nice to see your template for younger students.