After our not so successful day with the laptops, I booked us into a computer lab. Hopefully the students will have better luck. As the students are logging on, I tell them that they have until the end of the period to polish their essay, check the MLA formatting (L 9-10. 3a) , and submit it to Edmodo (W 9-10. 6). Edmodo is the class self-contained social network. They can upload assignments to Edmodo.
So, using computer can be a group effort. Some students have to provide tech support for the class. They also face the challenge of slow computers. However they are putting the finishing touches on their essays (W 9-10 2a/b/c).
Since the essay is in googledocs, each student in the group can simultaneously work on revising the essay. At this point most of the groups have finished the rough draft and shared it for revision with another group. The students are working to make minor corrections, check transitions, and finalize their conclusions (W 9-10.5).
In class, the students use googledocs to talk to each other. Googledocs provides a forum to display information in a dynamic and flexible way for students to collaborate on assignments. Since each person shows up as an editor, they can see what each other is doing and IM their group members if their is a problem. For example, if one group member writes a transition sentence and another group member can tweak the word choice or the verb tense in real time. That way, the original writer can see the revisions as they are happening.
Additionally, writing this essay takes more time than is available during class. Most of my students have responsibilities after school. So it is difficult for them to meet up to work on projects. Googledocs gives them options on how to collaborate without being at the same place at the same time. These students could work on the essay from a computer outside of school and share it with their group mates by either writing directly on their shared document or writing on a separate document and sharing it with the group. The many options available on googledocs creates a flexible space for students to work at their own pace and share information without being at the same place or on the computer at the same time (W 9-10.6).
Most of my students learned how to use googledocs in their freshman technical applications class. So, it is very possible that they will teach me a thing or two about using googledocs.
I give the class a five minute warning so that they know they need to submit their essays to Edmodo. Once they have submitted it, they are done. I will evaluate this essay with a holistic rubric. It is the same rubric I use for all their formal essays. It is a beefed up version of the holistic rubric that is used on their state standardized assessment. I want them to be comfortable with the rubric, so they know what they are facing when they take the state test.
I give them some written feedback directly on their essay using Edmodo grading tools. I also give them a rubric with highlights of what they did well and where they need to improve. If they have any marks in a domain below a 4, they have to rewrite. All marks must be a 4 or above to get a 'B' on the essay. If they have any marks below a 4, I don't give them a grade, I just write revision required. I ask them to come in during conference (tutoring time), so I can have a one on one revision session with them. After that, they have one week to resubmit the essay with revisions. I repeat this process until the scores are a 4 or better.
We start a new unit next class.