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Title: Collaborative Writing

OBJECT: To initiate collaborative writing in the classroom, and to practice writing skills and peer editing. I have used this activity as an initiation to collaborative writing in classes where students are reluctant to share their work with each other. This activity acts as an icebreaker for students who are new to collaborative work, and provides a space for students to create together.
This activity works well in English classes in secondary grades, but could be adapted for earlier grades and possibly other classes.

These expectations are from the Ontario Curriculum for Grade 11 University Preparation English (ENG3U).

1. edit and proofread to produce final drafts, using correctly the grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation conventions of standard Canadian English, as prescribed for this course, with the support of print and electronic resources when appropriate.

2. revise their written work, independently and collaboratively, with a focus on accuracy of information, clear expression, and consistent use of voice.

3. use a variety of organizational structures and patterns to produce coherent and effective written work.

MATERIALS: Each student needs a pen or pencil and a piece of paper. The teacher could bring a timer, or use any clock with a second hand. The teacher or class will choose a topic, about which the students will begin to write.

1. Divide the class into smaller groups of four or five. Each group forms their own small circle with their desks.
2. Each student has a piece of paper and a writing utensil on his or her desk.
3. When prompted by the teacher, each student will begin writing about a given topic. This activity is most successful when the topic is relevant to something that you have been studying in class. For example, if your class has been studying drama, then the group could write dramatic monologues for designated characters.
4. After one minute, the timer will sound and all of the students will pass their papers, within their circles, to the person on their right.
5. Each student will have one minute to read what the previous student has written and to continue writing where the previous student ended.
6. This timed writing continues until the papers have circulated once or twice.
7. Each student, then, keeps the copy in his/her hand.
8. The students will edit and write a good copy of the collaborated monologue and hand it in with the original rough draft to the teacher.

1. Create groups of 8-10 and have the students write in partners instead of independently.
2. Allow groups more time to write.
3. Before beginning the activity brainstorm (as a class) about the topic. leave many suggestions and writing ideas on the board during the activity.
4. Be sure that this topic is not new, and that all students are familiar with the vocabulary.
5. Encourage the students to edit the final draft in pairs, and allow multiple submissions to the teacher.
6. Provide a model. Show students an example of a finished product before they begin.

Submitted by: Colleen Grandy

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