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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Great discussions can lead to great writing!

Do you talk about race in the classroom?  Will students shy away from participating?  Using online discussion tools can help get all of your students involved in the conversation.  Modeling and practicing the rules of netiquette can make your students comfortable and feel validated.

Check out this lesson from the Collaborize Classroom library:
“Read this article with teen responses to the question “Has Martin Luther King’s dream been realized?"  Select one student’s answer and state whether you agree or disagree with their perspective.  If so, what strong points did he or she make? What could you add to his or her argument?
If you disagree, explain why. Identify areas of his explanation that were underdeveloped. What concerns do you have about this topic that he/she did not address?  After posting your response, read your classmates’ opinions and post a substantive reply to a student with an opposing viewpoint. Ask questions, present counterarguments and compliment strong points made.”

This assignment is a great prerequisite to writing a thoughtful essay.  Reading other student's answers can help jumpstart your student’s thinking.  Having students answer these questions in a free, private Collaborize Classroom will get them thinking and engaged.  Follow up with the “Dr. King’s Dream” SCAN lesson to increase their content knowledge.  You can improve your student’s essay writing by providing topics that are engaging and relevant, giving them time to think and access to resources.  Online discussion tools can get students involved in discussions to get them thinking and writing.

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