Monday, November 7, 2016

3rd Graders Debate Using Social Media Style Discussion In Schoology!

Third graders have opinions! Third graders like to share! Third graders are curious about social media! What a perfect time to schedule a debate using the discussion feature in Schoology!

Last week, 3rd grade teacher Mrs. McCollough invited me to team teach with her and she had several standards that she wanted her students to practice.
Minnesota Benchmark EL - Use technology to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
Minnesota Benchmark EL - Write an opinion on a topic and give reasons to support it.  
Mrs. McCollough thought of a topic that she knew would hook her students.  Should we be able to wear costumes to school on October 31st?  (Students don't wear their costumes at OHE on Halloween.) She knew that this was something that mattered to her students. Once we had a topic, students logged into Schoology and wrote their opinions.  The room grew silent as student took this opportunity to share their voice very seriously!

Schoology discussion settings allow the teacher to have students see only their response until they "Post". After students posted, they could see each other's posts and make comments.  We encouraged students to make comments to their fellow classmates.  Students were thrilled with this option! They felt like they were on social media. It was the perfect teachable moment. We discussed the need to validate each other even if we disagreed.  Student shared their examples of appropriate commenting. One student asked if it was okay to "like" their own comment. It was a great opportunity to discuss what it would feel like to other people if you like your own post. We wanted them to think about it in terms of having a discussion face to face with a friend and complimenting yourself. This seemed to resonate with students. 

A sampling of student comments:

You made a good point but I dont agree all the way because everyone can just take of there costume when they get hot. 

That's a good idea because it can rip, break, or you may not pay attenchon, and other stuff

You are right. Some people don't celebrate Halloween.

As much as believe that this opportunity gave student a chance to write for a purpose and share their voice, I loved that students got to try commenting in a forum. Several years from now, when students begin using social media, they will have had an chance to practice their commenting skills and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls.