puzzle-1020117_640This year I set up two projects to begin giving teachers the ability to have their students work with students outside the walls of their building. There are many global collaborative projects. The ones I set up are intended to give teachers baby steps in online collaborative projects.

RCAN Stories

I participated in a few different collaborative stories with students over the years. In 2008, my students participated in Middle School 1001 Tales. We also participated in 2009. I co-led the project that year. Another interesting collaborative writing projects in 2008 was @manyvoices. The idea was to write a story using a Twitter account with each participating student contributing 140 characters. It was turned into a paperback book on Lulu. I modeled our 2016 project on Write On…Our Progressive Story.

I’ve been leading online collaborative projects for years. I found that my experiences in these projects led me to want more such interactions for my students. I shared the RCAN Stories opportunity with the technology integration specialists at over 60 elementary schools. We have participants from PreK-4 through eighth grade. There are 18 schools from all four counties. In total there are 36 separate classrooms participating.

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 5.59.34 PMI broke the classes into eight separate stories grouped by age. Each class received a poster to hang in the school or post online. I provided them with project directions, videos to understand how to use Wikispaces, and contact information so each teacher can contact the next as their class finishes their writing. There is an optional opportunity to have the students meet virtually or through email. If they meet using Skype, Google Hangouts, or Facetime I suggested that they start with a prayer and share something about their patron saint.

So far, the writing is progressing. I have been keeping in touch with the classes to make sure the stories are getting written. In some cases the stories have not begun yet due to technical issues or misunderstanding of when the writing was to begin.

I plan on creating a physical book for the classes when all the writing is complete.

RCANĀ 6 Sounds Project

The six sounds project is another one my students and I participated with a number of years ago. It is not currently in operation. I found and contacted one of the organizers who graciously gave his permission for me to replicate the project with our elementary schools. A technology integration specialist and I found six public domain sounds on freesound.org.

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 6.12.59 PMThis project is a bit more complicated because the school has to have a teacher who is comfortable having the students write a script using the six sounds, record the story of a minute in length, and post the audio to the RCAN 6 Sounds wiki.

There are 11 classes from PreK-4 to eighth grade who are contributing their stories. I asked the schools to have the students decide which stories was the best in class. I will have all of the classes listen and vote on the best overall before the school year is over.

More to Come in 2016-2017

I believe that I will have these two projects run again next year and I will invite the high schools to participate. I have a few more ideas to introduce next year as well. My hope is that this will give the schools the confidence to attempt a project collaboratively with other Catholic Schools next year and eventually with any school around the world.

Image Citation:

Images are all labeled Public Domain on Pixabay.com.