It is that time of the year when Shanghai Goes Wild (SGW). This is the collaborative, hopefully international, online descriptive writing and digital arts project I started last year for lower ES students. It is based off a similar project on the other side of the word-the Monster Project. I find there is little in the way out there for collaborative online projects that are easy for teachers, students and technology facilitators to do with their younger kids. You will find these two sites very similar and I agree, my idea is not original. However, I did want to start a project like this for international school on this side of the date line to make collaboration and communication easier between teachers. Ideally, I would love to see some school to school video-conferencing come of these connections between schools but, baby steps for now. The basic premise for the project is this:
- Students from grades 1-3 write a description of an insect or monster-real or imagined
- Students draw a picture of their own monster
- Written descriptions only are shared with a partner class
- Student in partner classes, using only the written description of the insect or monster from their partner must try and draw the same monster or insect that their partner is describing.
Why do I like this project?
- First, it really focuses kids to write descriptively. Writing is the heart of this project and really the technology just plays a supporting role-the way it should be.
- Second, kids get to be creative and they have lots of choice for creating their insect/monster.
- Third, self evaluation is a natural part of the project as kids have to draw a monster form their own description. More times than not this gets kids to reflect on their writing and forces them to revise it where they have left our good descriptive words to guide their artistic rendering of their description.
- Fourth, It is easy and doesn’t take a lot of class time for teachers to complete this and it give my teachers a very low stress environment in which to dabble their toes into using Wikis in education and also online collaborative project. Ideally, they’ll feel comfortable enough doing this project that they will start their own someday or at least feel comfortable using wikis with their students.
- Last, who doesn’t like drawing monsters. C’mon, admit it.