This week, my AP Literature students are practicing essay writing through the grading of essays.  This is an extension activity since they have already learned how to write a proper essay.   Students have read an excerpt from the novel “The Street” by Ann Petry. In addition, students read example essays and the rubric from the AP Literature exam and have highlighted one essay’s text:

      1. Claims in yellow
      2. Evidence in pink or orange
      3. Commentary in blue or green

Students graded the essays according to the rubric and then will justify the answers based on the details from the essay and the rubric.  This is all pretty straight forward.  However, my class loves technology and 21st century learning, so I’ve incorporated Today’s Meet to extend their discussion.   Today’s Meet is a simple educational tool that provides a chat room for teachers and students to collaborate.   They can use it to plan, discuss, or participate in Socratic Seminars.  Really, the list goes on! I love it because students are more accountable,  engaged,  and interactive in the learning.  They also have a quick moment to breath and think before “talking”.  So many of my students stress out during discussions and would rather take the F than talk in front of their peers.  However, a chat room discussion is so much less pressure! I find that more students participate when they can prepare, even for just a second.

The students simply log in to the Today’s Meet link that I provide:   After that, it’s so easy!  All they do is pick a nickname and respond to my post.

In Maryland, we use follow the Common Core Standards.  I read an article on Edutopia that supports the use of technology to meet the Common Core Standards:  The Common Core and Digital Skills Development.  “There are a variety of kid-friendly publishing tools that provide options for teachers looking to support Common Core instruction with technology.” This assignment meets the following standards:

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

In addition, FCPS uses ISTE standards for technology.  My assignment meets Standard 6, “Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals”.

I am pretty excited to see how it goes!  If you want to check it out, here is my screencast for Today’s Meet…. and a script in case you want to follow along…