Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Every So Often We Really Get It Right! Thanks To Inklewriter, AASL And My Fabulous Students!

All teachers know that there is a bit of risk involved in trying new things with students.  Every time we introduce a new concept, and especially every time we try out a new tech tool, we risk the lesson not going according to plan. It is a calculated risk, but a risk all the same.  We can almost always count on technology to surprise us and even at times completely fail. But when it works, when we manage to pair the right tool with the right learning concept, it is the most gratifying thrill that maximizes learning for our students! Today I had the opportunity to really get it right.

I introduced my 5th graders to Inklewriter, a website that I found on the AASL's Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2013.  This is an annual list of vetted websites that I anxiously await each year!  In years past, this list has introduced me to new tools that have provided great support for my teaching.

Inklewriter is a website for creating interactive stories...what we librarians often generically label "Choose Your Own Adventures" because of the well known series by that name.

Before introducing the website, I practiced using Inklewriter by writing my own story. I could tell that the web tool was a bit advanced but within reach for my older students. I gave students the opportunity to write collaboratively or independently. After introducing the basic functions of the website, and giving them a few days to ponder their story plot, I let them go.  I gave them the freedom to write!! (...another calculated risk because some students do better with a bit of structure)

Students didn't finish their stories today, so I only have their introductions, but it was a FANTASTIC success!! They were super excited by Inklewriter and this in turn motivated them to dive in with enthusiasm.  It was great watching them create!! Many of them asked if they could log in and continue at home!

Here are just a few of their introductions!! I will share more, with their permission, once they complete their stories!