Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Texting in Class

What would you say if I told you my students were texting while I was teaching the last two days? Would it surprise you even more if I said I was totally O.K. with it? Truth be told, the children were creating text message summaries on paper iPhones, but you would have thought I let them text "for real" judging by their enthusiasm for the assignment.

I've already blogged about the value of bringing pop culture into the classroom as a means of motivating young learners. Texting and cell phones are about as mainstream preteen as you can get. Whether you approve or not, you have to admit kids are mesmerized by their cell phones, iPods, iPads, laptops, and other electronic devices.

When I was thinking of a summarizing project that my fifth graders could do when we went to library, the Somebody-Wanted-But-So strategy came to mind immediately. I love the universality and the simplicity of this summarizing technique. I can't even remember how I came to the conclusion that we would do the summaries in the form of a text message conversation, but I knew I was on to something as soon as I started pulling the project together. I "left" a blank iPhone template on my desk and everybody who walked by wanted to know what we were going to do with the phones. I reeled them right in with a, "You'll see on Monday when we go to library."

To add relevance to the assignment, I decided to have the kids write summaries of picture books in the school library collection. We're going to display the summaries in the library as book recommendations for the younger readers in the building. It's a win-win! I get a literacy grade and the kids have provided a legitimate service for the school community.

I'm including a picture of the template I created, as well as some student samples of completed projects. If you think this is a project that would appeal to your students, visit my TpT Store (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Text-Message-Summaries) and check it out. There's a rubric included in the packet, and a bonus bulletin board idea for those of you who would like to display the finished summaries.

That's all for my Tuesday Teacher Talk this week. I hope you've found it useful.

1 comment:

  1. Love that strategy! I loved watching your kids work on this. They were so enthusiastic--and engaged. Can't wait to see them in the library.