Digital Writers’ Notebooks – Session #5 of the CRWP 2020-21 Webinar Series

In our January webinar, Chippewa River Writing Project teacher consultant and Springport High School teacher Becky Schwartz (@RSchwartz702) shared her feelings about moving into remote and hybrid learning, and one key adaptation that she made: a digital writer’s notebook for her writers. Weaving in some Pear Deck interactivity to her session, Becky then provided a deeper dive into a lesson using George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From” poem.

Inviting us to make a copy of her digital writer’s notebook template, then led us through a process of crafting our own “Where I’m From” poem. Reminding us that students appreciate her sharing some personal stories of her own in her own poem, Becky helped us see the ways that students could begin with a brainstormed list of memories, then invite students to highlight and categorize them, ultimately moving their words into stanzas and creating their own poem. 

As an extension, Becky described the ways that she has students take their initial version of the “Where I’m From” poem and added media elements in the slide deck. From there, she teaches students how to use audio and screen recording tools to create an audio and/or video version of their poems. By moving students through this scaffolded process, she is able to have students share their voices in a meaningful manner. Moreover, we need to take some time to listen, and to ask them what they might need. 

Finally, we share Becky’s presentation slides and digital writer’s notebook. She reminded us, too, than even our screen-savvy students are sometimes a little hesitant to try out new technologies. Providing them with time and space to play with poetry — and technology — can be a powerful opportunity for literacy learning. 

We welcome you to sign up for future webinar sessions and to join us for our mini-virtual conference on Saturday, January 30th, “Teaching Remotely without Being Distant.” And, we invite you to follow CRWP on Facebook or on Twitter: @chippewariverwp.


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