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Connecting Braided Collaborative Essays with Young Adult Literature. WIIFMs. Forming the braided essay Writing with students Responding to YAL Reflecting on responding to Wonder Writing collaboratively Extending composition with the book trailer Assessing student pieces.
WIIFMs • Forming the braided essay • Writing with students • Responding to YAL • Reflecting on responding to Wonder • Writing collaboratively • Extending composition with the book trailer • Assessing student pieces
Choice and Response to center on thematic understandings King-Shaver, B., & Hunter, A. (2009) Adolescent literacy and differentiated instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
What makes the braided essay? • Separate strands • Thematic thread that ties separate strands together • Sense of fragmentation • White space • Reader’s openness to the form • Recursive writing process • A repeated idea
My response with a braided Essay http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index
When the stillness speaks… http://localquakers.org/londongrove/ http://www.theminiaturehorse.com/minihorsepictures.htm http://localquakers.org/londongrove/
Why collaborative? Why Reader Response? • Builds Community • Focuses on author’s craft • Scaffolds the process • Provides audience • Exhibits individual writing strengths Photo by: Corbis
Rowing the Bus by Paul Logan • Form a group of 3. • Read Logan’s “Rowing the Bus” aloud, sharing the text with your triad. • Make notes of personal response and textual patterns as you read. • Find a common thread from your notations to guide your collaborative piece. • Write a strand individually to contribute to the braid. • Order the text to create a braid.
New Literacies • Wiki • Google docs • Dropbox • Imovie • Creative commons
Book trailer composition • Paige, Caleb, & Katie’s trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tocGqaR2n9g
Assessment • Rubric for braided essay co-constructed • Book trailer rubric created by pre-service teachers
Reflections on process • Our group quickly settled on the theme of "space" when we first met. I think it all stood out to us that the pervading theme of the universe, of August as the sun, and of Star Wars as a motif all stood out to us. We first discussed these themes, and very soon each of us knew how we were going to write our reactions .The braided essay structure came to each of us in two parts. We would each write a reflection on the book itself and on our lives in relation to the themes of the book. Paige began with a poem, and set the tone for an artistic endeavor . I then entered with an analysis of why August chooses the Fett, which I felt to be significant . We decided to begin the essay with that piece. The rest fell in to place, and I also closed out with my experience, validating how my story, like theirs, coincided with that of August in some way. -Caleb
…On Patterns • I really liked this braided essay/book trailer assignment. I also loved Wonder, so working with this book was a pleasure! I’ve never written a braided essay before, and to be honest, I was a little confused and worried at first. How in the world was I going to put together three or four very different threads into a coherent, sensible text? But once Michael and I sat down and began thinking about the book, we both saw the same patterns and similarities, which made the process pretty easy. • -Josh
on freedom • I know I've said this to you many times, but I really loved this assignment . Once the class presented their essays and trailers, I was intrigued by the wide variety of responses to the assignment. That flexibility in a writing assignment feeds creativity and confidence in students...even if they beg for more structure at the outset. -Paige • I was surprised how easily our pieces fit together with the text, and how well they complimented each other, which is why we used quotes from all 3 in the book trailer. • It was a great way to explore our thoughts about the text, and provided the freedom to take it whichever way we saw fit, which I liked so much more than a traditional essay, and it was fun and allowed me to get to know Brie, so I really enjoyed it! -Rachel
On uncertainty • As soon as Jodi and I began talking, I was more at ease. We seemed to be on the same analytical page as far as what we want to talk about. I was a little anxious when the other groups had started presenting their essays because ours was so different. I was nervous that we had done it wrong, but I was relieved when you said that you could see the braids through our different approach . This was reflected in the depth of your analysis. • -Lauren
On Connecting to the text • We decided cliques played a very important role in the novel, and liked how all of the characters came together in the end. We found the clique feature relatable to our own experiences in middle and high school. Also, we had experience with having special needs or a close relative who had special needs. We decided the best way for us to tackle the project was to go our separate ways, and write our own singular pieces. Once they had been written, we exchanged our pieces with one another to read. I began searching for quotes to use that exemplified the meaning we wanted to reach. I needed quotes that would show the change that progressed in the novel, and both of our pieces. Rachel worked a lot at braiding pieces of our original text together. • -Brie
On collaboration and purpose • By not limiting our subject matter or way of writing, as a group, we were able to create a true-to-form braided essay, combining separate writing forms, passages, and thoughts into a cohesive unit. • Creating the coinciding movie trailer was another adventure. Similarly to the braided essay, my group decided to assign manageable goals for each member. I found all the pictures, Paige all the quotes, and Caleb wove them all together in iMovie. By doing so, I felt like we were able to create a cohesive product and braid our work together to form an emotional trailer. In all, I was very pleased with the results. I felt like our trailer was very evocative and would appeal to any reader of Wonder, as well as any outside bystander. • -Katie
Though we could not physically meet, we were able to communicate via email and share work through Dropbox and shared Google documents. We began work on the braided essay in class, and divided the work into sections. We both reviewed and edited the final work. • I was confused, however, with the braided essay, and could not really get myself to “think outside of the box” enough to write it. I was too analytical and approached it as I would a formal essay. I think I have a better understanding of it now, and would probably be able to take a less analytical, literal approach to it in the future. • -Jodi
References • Beck, S. W. (2006). Subjectivity and intersubjectivity in the teaching and learning of writing. Research in the Teaching of English, 40(4), 413-460. • Dredger, K., Woods, D., Beach, C., & Sagstetter, V. (2010) Engage me: Using new literacies to create third space classrooms that engage student writers. Journal of Media Literacy in Education (2)2. • Groenke, S.L. & Scherff, L. (2010) Teaching YA Lit through differentiated instruction. Urbana, IL: NCTE. • Hicks, T. (2009). The digital writing workshop. Portsmouth: Heinemann. • Kajder, S.B. (2010). Adolescents and digital literacies. Urbana, IL: NCTE. • Logan, P. “Rowing the bus.”Retrieved from http://www.townsendpress.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/writing%20and%20motvn/vv_ch21.pdf • Obama, B. (2010). Of thee I sing: A letter to my daughters. New York: Random House. • Miller B. (2001). A braided heart: Shaping the lyric essay. In Forché, C., & Gerard, P. Writing creative nonfiction: Instruction and insights from the teachers of the associated writing programs (pp. 14-24). Cincinnati: Story Press. • Miller, B., & Paola, S. (2004). Tell it slant: Writing and shaping creative nonfiction. New York: McGraw Hill. • Miller, D. (2009). The book whisperer: Awakening the inner reader in every child. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. • National Writing Project with DeVoss, D. N., Eidman-Aadahl, E., & Hicks, T. (2010). Because digital writing matters: Improving student writing in online and multimedia environments. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. • Palacio, R.J. (2012). Wonder. New York, NY: Random House. • Trupe, A. (2006). Thematic guide to young adult literature. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.