Title: The Giver Alternative Ending Technology Lesson
Subject/Grade Level: 8th Grade, Level 2, Language Arts
1.5.8.A: Write with a clear focus, identifying topic, task, and audience and establishing a single point of view.
1.5.8.B: Develop content appropriate for the topic.
· Gather, organize, and determine validity and reliability of information
· Employ the most effective format for purpose and audience.
· Write paragraphs that have details and information specific to the topic and relevant to the focus.
- Students will be able to write an alternative ending to The Giver using technology.
- Students will be able to share and comment on a partner’s writing, using technology.
Anticipatory Set: Take a class poll by a show of hands. “Did you like the ending of The Giver? Would you change it?”
Students will have just completed reading The Giver.
Students will write an alternative ending, or “24th chapter” to The Giver. They complete the assignment on their Microsoft Surface tablets. Using Google Docs, they will write at least two paragraphs.
Students will share their Google Doc with a partner. They will read their partner’s piece. Using Google Doc’s comment feature, students will respond to their partner’s alternative ending. They will respond with at least two different comments to their partner, including at least one thing that they liked.
Students will complete an online exit slip. They will visit a teacher-created link on https://todaysmeet.com/ and answer the question: “What makes a good ending to a story, and why?” Students will type and submit their answers. They can respond to each other’s comments.
Formative assessment will be used. Students will share their completed Google Doc and comments with the teacher. They will receive credit for completing the written portion, making comments, and following directions.
Using technology appeals to 21st century learners. Some students feel more comfortable and may be more engaged by working with technology.
The fact that assessment is formative will be a form of differentiation because students at this level may not have enough time in class to completely finish their pieces.
- The Giver
- Surface tablets/laptops
- Today’s Meet Link: https://todaysmeet.com
- Surface tablets/laptops
- Google Docs
Reflection on Planning:
Every 8th grade student at this particular middle school was given a personal Microsoft Surface tablet. Very few classes actually have the students use them; however, I think the devices are perfect for integrating technology into the curriculum and differentiating towards 21st century learners.
The class just finished reading The Giver. When I read the book for the first time, I was a little dissatisfied with the ending at first. As I was thinking of questions to ask the students while I was reading, one of the questions I raised was “How would you end this story?” I then started to think that an alternative ending to the book would be an engaging literacy activity for the students.
I wanted technology to be involved in this lesson somehow, so I decided on Google Docs. Students are fairly new to Google Docs. They started doing a Power Point presentation on the program, but they haven’t had a chance to get to know all the features of Google Docs. I figured that they would be able to write and share their pieces using technology, and get to know a very useful program in Google Docs.
I thought that through sharing the documents, the students could engage in literacy, but through a digital sense. They are using dialogue by responding to their partner’s pieces, but digitally. This might allow more students to comment on each other’s pieces if time doesn’t permit in class. Students can share their pieces with their peers, and many people can make comments at once, rather than having students wait with their hands raised. In a sense, the comment feature can act as a digital version of Peter’s Johnston’s dialogic classroom from Opening Minds. “A dialogic classroom is one in which there are lots of open questions and extended exchanges among students; there are multiple interpretations and perspectives -- classrooms in which facts are considered in different contexts and in which people challenge each other’s views and conclusions” (Johnston, 2012, p. 52). The students are getting a chance to speak their mind and discuss each other’s pieces, but in a new kind of setting.
Although dialogic classrooms promote expressing thoughts, it is important to create a respectful, positive, and appropriate social environment, even though it is online. According to the article “Creating Trust in Online Courses,” teachers should establish early communication, develop a positive social atmosphere, reinforce predictable patterns of communication action, and involve members in task. I am already involving students and establishing communication by having them all comment. By mentioning that the comments will be shared with the teacher will keep comments appropriate and positive. I will encourage them to write about things that they liked about each other’s article.
In general, the assignment should meet the literacy needs of reading, writing, and communication. They will write their essays, read each other’s, and share their thoughts.
Reflection on Instruction:
When I got to the class, I found that about half of the class did not complete their homework, which was to read the last chapter of The Giver. This caused me to improvise. For those who did read the chapter, I kept the same assignment that was written throughout the lesson plan. For those that did not read, I had them write a prediction, writing two paragraphs on how they think the story will end. In a sense, both groups of students were writing an ending to the book.
As I was teaching this lesson, I thought of many different things I could have done. First, I could have modeled an example of an ending to the book. While the students were writing, I started to write my own ending while walking around observing and assisting students. I was going to share mine, but I realized time was tight and I noticed most of the students were very caught up in their own writings, once they got into a groove. However, the fact that I wrote my own motivated one particular student. He said, “Are you writing one?” I nodded, and he asked if he could have it (he had one sentence written at the time). I responded: “No, but if I can write a quick ending in less than two minutes, then you will be able to write a really good one.” A few minutes after that conversation, he had a full paragraph.
I also should have displayed everything on the Smart Board, taking each student step-by-step through Google Docs. A few students were having issues, so I had to keep helping students individually. It may have helped to stop the whole class and walk them through it. It would have cut down the technological issues.
Anytime there is technology, there is going to be issues. A lot of students had trouble connecting to the Internet. The comment features didn’t work for others. To solve the comment issue, students just wrote in the bottom of the Google Doc in a different color. There really was no way to resolve the Internet issue. To read each other’s pieces, I had students trade laptops if their Internet failed.
There wasn’t enough time for the closure through the link, so I just asked the students aloud and had them raise their hands to respond. My mentor teacher did like the idea of online conversation through the Today’s Meet website, and thought it was something she could use in the future.
In general, students were able to follow directions and write some very creative endings. They appeared to like the assignment.