Dr. Newett’s and Mrs. Bridwell’s ninth grade social studies classes visited the library for their last digital citizenship lesson. The topic for this lesson was cyber-bullying. Mrs. Myers found a transcript and video from a special piece that CBS did on cyber-bullying last year. She divided the transcript into sections – apps, school involvement, parent response, etc – and glued those responses onto bulletin board papers.
Students were told that they would be reading pieces from a piece of work (but were not told what the complete work was) and that they would be writing responses to the piece they read. Mrs. Myers gave them some preliminary guidance telling students to think about their response. Did the information make them feel an emotion or did they have questions about the information given? She then went over the rules – work quietly, write the entire time, students could write comments or questions, and the comments must be kind.
Mrs. Myers and the teachers divided the students up into groups and sent them to the tables where the bulletin board papers were lying. After passing out thin markers, students go to work. Mrs. Myers set the timer to two minutes and thirty seconds. Once the timer went off, students were told to stop, get up, and rotate to the next table. Once every group had visited every table, Mrs. Myers asked them what the pieces of text were from. A couple of students in every class session were able to deduce that they were all from a news article. Mrs. Myers then showed the video from which the transcript had been taken.
Most of the groups made very thoughtful comments. All of them took two tables (or so) to settle in and get into the concept.
For where we got the inspiration for write-around, see the Unquiet Librarian’s excellent blog post at The Unquiet Librarian.