Work on the Internet (Part One: Why do it?)
There are many good reasons to publish
student work on the Internet. Whether for writing or creative projects,
on-line exposure is a marvelous incentive. (This is a two-part column;
the second one will discuss how to publish your students' work on
When students know they have an audience, other than the teacher,
to view their work, they are often more motivated to produce a better
product. Secondly, in the early stages of the writing or project,
the students can help each other by first posting a preliminary
draft on line such as in a free discussion forum,
http://nicenet.org/, which anyone can easily use. (I will
explain more about this later.) Additionally, students can learn
from each other just by viewing each others' work.
When work is posted, students are given time to view or read each
others' projects or writing and then comment. For comments on writing,
I suggest students be allowed to respond in one of three ways:
- point out what they like about the piece of writing;
- summarize, so that the writer sees whether the writing is clear
or not; and
- ask questions, for example, what they want to know more about
or what is confusing. Students can also help one another
by applying the given rubric or guidelines. The student helpers,
as well as the original authors, will improve their skills. This
is documented in numerous research studies and from my own experience
as a teacher.
I hope you will find it helpful to see examples of how teachers
publish their students' work.
New York City high school teacher Sandy Scragg published student
work on her Catcher
in the Rye unit. Click on the
project url link, scroll down and click
student samples. Sandy simply scanned student projects and artwork
and then inserted them onto a web page. She includes a rubric of
how the work is graded.
Another example of publishing student work using a scanner is from
third grade teacher Marion
Peluso's lessons on China. Again, click on the project
url and then
Student Showcase to view the work.
In the next example, students created their own on-line
magazine. This lesson comes from Sandy Scragg's All
the New Too Fit for Print.
In my unit 1984,
by George Orwell - Fact or Fantasy? my students learn to upload
their writing to the Internet. They create their own web pages,
posting early drafts on http://nicenet.org/
and then help each other. For examples of their finished work, visit
More student web pages can be found in
connection with my
Interpreting Shakespeare's Macbeth unit.
Or if you want to go directly to the student work click
here. For yet another group of students, those taking
my unit Taking
Action Against Indifference: Eli Wiesel's Night,
I provided a web page template to save time, and they created web
pages with their writing. To see some this student work, click
Some of the most advanced published student web pages I have seen
have been done by Paul Allison's students who had extensive time
during the school week in a computer lab. In that school, the teachers
often coordinate their lessons, teaching collaboratively. One example
is the Geometry Quilt.
I should add that Paul Allison has taught three summer technology
workshops for NYCWP (New York City Writing Project, based at Lehman
College, CUNY). I learned most of what I know about using technology
from two of these workshops, which are given every summer to NYCWP
Do not think you have to be technically adept to post your students
work on the Internet. Sandy Skea, a veteran elementary school teacher,
but a novice with technology, posted
her fascinating students' work on the Internet, along
first attempt at posting her unit that produced the student work.
You will be amazed at how her first attempt is so accomplished.
Look for my next column on how to publish student work on the Internet.