This post has been long overdue. I wanted to outline the connections I can make to the Common Core Standards (CCSS) with Celly. Below I have chosen three strands from the CCSS that I use with Celly. Each strand is followed by what I do in my classroom and what I hope my students take away from it. Though these aren’t the only strands I can connect to, this is where I started at the beginning of the year.
1.) 8.W.6 – Production and Distribution of Writing: Use technology, including the internet to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
With the Common Core calling for teachers to use technology in their classroom, this is an easy connection to make. Celly is internet based and requires students to use technology (a.k.a. – cell phones). One of the greatest benefits of this digital tool is the fact students can interact and collaborate about ideas presented either by the teacher or other students. One of the ways my 8th graders are going to collaborate is to discuss their ideas about alternate endings for The Giver by Louis Lowry. Then, after discussing their ideas, they will extend their ideas by working on an alternate ending using Google Docs.
2.) 8.W.2 – Text Types and Purposes: Write informative/explanatory text to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
This strand is the most common strand I use when connecting Celly to the CCSS. A simple example can be using Celly one day a week in your classroom in place of an every day journal writing in a composition notebook. The big difference between the students using their cell phones instead of their journals is they can collaborate a lot easier and respond to multiple students who are using Celly. Many times I might give students a topic to think about and to just write down their ideas about it. Celly has helped generate some great classroom discussions and has helped create that safe writing community where students can share and feel like their ideas are valued and accepted.
3.) 8.L.2 – Conventions of Standard English: Demonstrate the command of the conventions of standard English, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
This is an easy one, at least for me. Today there is a lot of debate over how texting has influenced students and the way they write. Teachers complain about how they find text “lingo” in the papers their students are turning in for a grade. For example, students might write “u” instead of “you” or they might not capitalize “i”. Regardless of what the students might do, the overall lesson goes back to teaching our students how to be digital citizens and modeling for them when it is acceptable to use their “lingo”.
I make it very clear to my students there is nothing wrong with using a text language, they just need to know the difference between formal and non-formal writing. It could be argued that using cell phones and a platform such as Celly is non-formal. I disagree because I believe it is up to the teacher how they want to use Celly. To help my students define the differences, I require my students to use formal writing when we use Celly. I often give them a grade for their written responses and if they are not following the conventions of Standard English, they lose points.