Success Stories
As you learn new technologies and implement them in their classrooms, we want others to be able to access them. This page will allow us to share the success stories you have in your classrooms regarding increasing adolescent literacy.

Please do identify yourself, but not your individual students. Go ahead and tell us your story:


BABCOCK'S STUDENTS CHOOSE RESEARCH TOPIC
The kids came in fighting about two R&B stars--somebody who was going to jail but who had meaningful lyrics. We had just finished a series of research practices in the library, using the databases accessible with Ingham ISD. They did the work, even the boys, but not whole-heartedly. I called the library and scheduled the library for a week explaining to the librarian what I wanted and then talked to the kids. If they would finish the assigned task within the next two days, we would go to the library, research this topic and then come back to class to work as teams to debate whether or not there was value in using R & B and Rap lyrics in a regular curriculum. We have had standardized testing every three weeks. From the minute we went to the library, the librarian and I were so excited. Not everybody did every step, but every body, mostly the boys, did something. They were engaged to find pros and cons of the genres. But the beauty happened in the classroom. We had small groups and large groups; individual and group spokespeople. They had to use thier data, have specific support--they had to be lawyers for their position--and they did not know their positions until their chosen head lawyer pulled the card. Then we taped it--OK, Troy. I got the tape--but I couldn't figure out how to down-load it onto the strange laptop. But it was good! Even with the kids who were usually completely off task, they contributed their part and then went off task. Evaluation from the students: terrific assignment! I was thrilled with the research skills they demonstrated.


Embedding connects parents, students and faculty
Jill Campbell
As the oldest member of my teaching staff and the oldest person at Otto Middle School, people have always just said"You must be technologically challenged. I admit that I used to (get that USED TO) get very frustrated very quickly with technology.
Project Write has given me more and more confidence. If you had said wiki, or edublog or Jing lst year I wouldn't have even understood you: now I feel I can not only use the words but apply and use the technology. NOt all of it mind you, bu increasing amounts that enable our staff to see the written word embellished, enhanced, and moving right along in videos.
At the last Profesioinal Development Day I found that other staff members were asking lil ole me questions-and the most amazing part was that I was answering them.
Today was another break through. I decided that a video could be added to our Otto website accesible by all parents, students,and public. With a simiple question to Troy "I think I have a fun tech question for you" , I got the help I needed to put a short video on the website.
NOw mind you this is no small matter: this is a first in the Lansing School distrcit and enables parents-at home-to be able to access the same information that the students can access at school planning for their future.
the content, at this point, is not so much the issue as is the accessibility of video to them; and this is for ALL parents and students.
I'm very excited about the application of this short video as it is ground breaking and shows that you
truly
are
only as old as your thoughts!
All ages can unite on one page and respond. My credibility in the school on this front has risen and as a result more of my crazy, wild, out of the box ideas are read, and accepted. If new ideas are accepted more readily the edge that the US has in innovation and creativity will be enhanced.
this is no little matter.
this is the ma and pa genes coming together to give life to ideas and let that life have wings for words.



**www.lulu.com** is amazing
Elana Waugh
White Pine Academy


Since we began Project WRITE last fall I have been trying to find a way to incorporate technology into my classroom. I have the resources, a supportive principal but a young group of kids. In early April I decided that I was going to spend the month doing poetry with my fifth graders, and we would publish our work in a bound book through lulu.com. They were so excited about this unit even the ones who write the least they possibly can. They loved writing all the silly and serious poems, typing everything up, and they even loved writing their autobiographies in 3rd person. The final result was unbelievable. The parents were on board from day one. I sent home permission slips and order forms. The kids loved typing their work. I spent about 12 hours uploading everything. It took me a long time because it was the first time I had ever done it before. One of my students designed the cover. The books ended up being around $7.00 a person, but you can make them cheaper or more expensive depending on what you are doing. Some parents ordered multiple books. I was ecstatic when they came in. You should have seen the joy on their face when they received their books. They immediately went to their chapter to see their work in print. They also enjoyed reading each other's work. I had each student sign their chapter in my book. We are thinking about doing a school wide book next year for the 10th anniversary of our school being open. I had third graders asking me if they get to do this when they are in fourth grade ( I taught 3rd-5th language arts and writing). The only thing I would change is I would order one book first, like they suggest, and look at it to fix up any mistake you may have made in lay out. I made a few, but I didn't have the time to change things since it was a last minute idea, and I wanted to make sure they had them before school was out. When asked by their homeroom teacher how they felt about the books, they all commented that it was nice to see their hard work pay off.




Nicenet. Org Works!
Dee Halstead

I finally was able to try some technology with my alternative ed students. Given the lack of technology and the outdated computers I decided to try Nicenet.org, and it works. I had my students sign up for an account and they were able to write online about their book. My class is a Reading Workshop and the students read independently in my class and keep journals, so I decided to try an on-line approach. Nicenet is so easy to use and it does not require all of the bells and whistles Wikispaces or Googledocs do. My students were able to log on right away and write a response to their book and post it. This week I am hoping to have them respond to the others and tell others about what they think about thier journals.
I am so excited.


Students love Blogging
Joan Lindemann
I finally have my site set up for blogging with my 3 sixth grade writing classes at Carman-Ainsworth Middle School.I have journal questions posted on the front home page which every students will be required to leave a response. We are in the testing phase right now and I am trying to get students on to the blog to practice and begin to feel comfortable with the format. I also have set up a blog page for every student in the class. It was a lot of work but I think it will pay off by giving the students the opportunity to design their page. Edublogs is really easy to use once you understand the concept. After our first blogging session I was excited to get going but became very frustrated when I could not get the pages set up the way I wanted. However, after the last session I am off and running. The students are required to blog a "Hello" during spring break and it has been going great. I still do not have all of the permission slips turned in yet from students but hopefully they will remember. (Unfortunately student without parent permission can not use the blogs and must continue to create a physical not digital writing portfolio). I have only had 1 parent out of 80 say no. On Monday 4/7 students will be going to their individual blog page and will begin choosing a theme for the page. They will then begin to type in their compare and contrast paper as their first blog. During the rest of the year I want the students to go back into their writing portfolios and rework some of their favorite pieces of writing to display on the blog. I am also setting up a poetry place for students to post original pieces of poetry as well as a student news page to post cool happenings in our school and in their lives. I an having so much fun and currently have created 15 pages for the 6th grade writing class. I a week or so I will have an after school session inviting parents to come in the see how their students are using the blogs. Things I have learned while setting up the site:
1. Play with the blog alot before you try to have students use it
2. Moderate all of the comments and posts to "check" for appropriate posting
3. Emphasize that everything written on the blog is just the same as a paper you would turn in. If fact the work on the blog it assessed.
4. Enforce good writing and formal language skills and do not allow any Instant Messaging slang
I am sure I will have many more things I will have learned after my first class session on Monday. I hope all of their blog pages open up!
Ooopps!1 Almost forgot to have you check out my site: http://mrslindemann.edublogs.org
One more really cool thing. You can use pictures of your students in the theme header. When you go to my site the students in the header are my 1st hour class.(But only students that turned in permission slips can have their picture posted.)



REACHING OUT
by Jill Campbell
This year I attended the MAMSE (michigan Asso. of Middle School Educators) for the first time and also presnted on the topic of "School Counselors as Building Leaders". This was one of the most affirming workshop I've given ---and I used Project WRite for awareness for participants.
Now, ind you, I was given the late Friday afternoon session and had asked for an hour, but was given an hour and a half. Not only did kparticipants stay, but they stayed after and asked questions and took my email address andphone number to get more knowledge.
Although I was particularly speaking about counselors, the beauty of the workship ended up being inspiring others to try new things (Shift Happens) , to use writing in other than just ELA classes (an example from using writing in counseling groups and particularly at-risk groups of students) and to go back and focus on possibilites not just the realities of testing, testing and more testing.
It was extremely valuable in getting out the word to many different school districts that neither technology nor writing is scary and inaccessible.
IN actuality, I had no idea that I was even g oing to use Project Write, but that turned out to be one of the central motivating factors in reaching and teaching individuals.
So thank you Project Write: we never know where knowledge will lead us!



My Students are WIKIED!!!
Cheryl Elliott

I have to admit I was dragging my heels when it came to getting the wikis set up. Since wikis were so foreign to me I was hesitant about setting them up in my classes. Well, I took the plunge and did it just this week. AND....I have to say I am sorry I didn't do it sooner.
The kids are loving it!!!

I decided to read a story to the class and have them respond to it on the wiki. To begin, I gave them a list of the characters and settings from the book to use as references and a rubric outlining how many responses would be required. (actually - next time I do this I will put these right on the wiki - I just thought of that as I am responding here!!)

Today is Saturday (I began reading the book this past Monday - I introduced the wiki on Wednesday) and in 3 days there are already over 150 responses posted from students!!!! Out of 19 students in the class 17 have responded already and the only reason one student can't is because of computer problems at home. Some even responded this morning - a sunny Saturday morning!!!

EVERY student has commented that they love it.... "it's better than writing on paper" - "it's like e-mail so that's why I like it" - "it's fun" - "can we do this all the time?"

One thing about this that really sold me is when one of my students responded and came to the defense of another student's response.
This would NEVER have happened in the classroom. These girls belong to different "cliques" - not enemies but certainly never willing to stick up for each other publically!

THANK YOU - Troy & Liz & Project Write!



Flint Southwestern Foundation Academy
Susan Wolverton

Team 8C writers are writing for authentic audiences. In November, I entered eight of my student's persuasive writing pieces into the State Farm Bureau American Hero Essay contest. For four weeks, we studied the genre, persuasive writing, reading multiple examples, noting the features of effective persuasive writing. We explored topics in our writer's notebook and drafted essays. Students engaged in peer response groups and helped one another become better writers. In February, we were presented with our building's first, second, and third place winners. The first place winner's essay advances to the state level, with the final results announced in May 2008.

Another success my student writers experienced was acknowledgment of letters they sent in response to viewing The Flint Youth Theatre production of The Diary of Anne Frank in February 2008. We received a beautifully crafted letter from the executive artistic director applauding their observations and conclusions that surpass those of their adult audiences.


Cool happening
Jennifer Strickland, June 2008

At the end of May I was chosen to be a pilot teacher for an upstart company creating on-line tutoring/high school. The entire project incorporates many of the levels of technology. Teachers from all over the world were brought together in San Fransisco to create videos of their teaching. I taught writing. This is something that I am very excited about. I actually used much of what we have been doing when I incorporated the teaching into my video lessons. This is very exciting for me, and I do feel that being a part of Project Write helped me to be chosen to be a part of this project.


September 21, 2009/Susan Wolverton, Flint Northwestern
Liz and Andrea: I am so energized and excited, I just have to share. The school day just dismissed. In 6th hour, I had students (boy writers as well as girl writers) bring me their work during our sacred writing time to have me read it, their choice. I used the NWP protocol in giving them feedback. Not only is it helpful to them, it is so helpful to me in knowing how to respond to their work, and fun too! Some of the boys, who in a paragraph thought they were done, lengthened their work to a page and beyond as they used my noticings and wonderings to continue their writing and bring their story to life. I saw a change in their demeanor as well: they truly view themselves as writers, here, at the start of the third week of school. A few even took their notebook home to continue. I will include this on the wiki under "Success Stories" and on my teacher page, as well. I will also begin my teaching entries we talked about on Saturday.

Saturday's session was wonderful. I really enjoyed the company, the environment, and co-authoring a writing piece. See you on the wiki and thanks again for everything. I have learned so much!

October 1, 2009/Susan Wolverton, Flint Northwestern
Another success! I am using the feedback protocol with my students when they peer conference. I have them fold a paper into three columns and write the headings: I notice... I wonder... I suggest...

It is amazing to watch their focus as they read their partner's paper and then write their responses in these columns. It has pushed their thinking beyond the "it's good" etc., comments or focusing solely on spelling or punctuation mistakes. The writer then has the option to consider their partner's feedback during revision. It's going great!! We started final drafting today and I'm seeing some good stuff.