* NOTE: This lesson plan was uploaded to Google doc. as a .pdf due to formatting complications during the upload process.
In 2012 I started my journey to become a licensed teacher. My undergraduate degree, Early Childhood Education, did not provide me with a teaching license. The graduate program I chose would guide me towards that goal. As of April of this year, I finished my student teaching and obtained my teaching license in the State of Utah. Because of this great accomplishment, I have now written hundreds of lesson plans and the process is still quite fresh in my mind.
I did teach 6th graders last spring. I wrote my lesson plan for this assignment geared toward that age. As I wrote this lesson plan, I wish I had thought to do this for my class. We spent a minimum of 30 minutes daily writing. How much fun would it have been for my class to have done their current event writing this way vs. the way they did it. They would write daily in Pages on their iPads and then they would email their finished writings to me. That meant 29 essays weekly to grade via my email (which got very clogged). As soon as I saw this RSS assignment, I immediately had the idea of how that whole writing experience could have gone so much smoother!
As with any lesson plan, I always tend to over-plan. However, because I know how much time my students used for daily writing, this lesson plan was organized with those thoughts in mind. As with any planned lessons, flexibility is key because the day and week does not always go as planned.
I feel passionately that children need to be learning how to use the Internet in finding worthwhile content. I also feel that is so important for students to be aware of what is going on in the world around them. I felt that combining researching current events with daily writing, this plan is a win-win. I am actually sad that I am not teaching right now because this particular lesson plan (which is written for every day of the year) would be so fun. I would love to see it implemented with a real class and I may even send it to some of the teachers I know.
Setting up the blogs at the very beginning of the year and walking through the process with the students would be key. I would spend the first several weeks of computer lab time to help the students practice using their blog before we actually launched into the research of current events. We would practice copy and pasting the required elements into the post so they can write efficiently. With practice and repetition, the students would be ready to fully execute this lesson plan within about a month.
In Idaho, the state standards say that students must have good writing skills of planning, organizing, revising, and publishing. Standards also say that students must use technology to collaborate and publish their writings. By peer reviewing, the students will also get in a good habit of constructively criticizing their peers, encourage suggestions, and help the peers in the proofreading process.