About a month ago our 5th graders started a collaborative project with a school 100 miles away. They have been taking turns writing a story using 21classes. This is not simply a story though. We have framed this project for the students as a game. Each student is paired with a student from their class. While one student is writing the other is out taking a picture. The student whose turn it is to write has to read all the blog posts in the story and find a way to incorporate the last picture added into the story. When they are finished they post the photo their partner took for the next group to write about. Their photography goal is to find a picture that the next group will struggle with finding a way to incorporate into the story. I predicted that this would force the students to be more creative and ultimately come up with more interesting stories. This project also promotes reading because to do the assignment they have to read the whole story that has been written so far. This project has, from what I observed, increased the engagement level of all students involved at both schools. Seeing that this has been successful in its trial run our next goal is to do this project, perhaps next year, with more than one school and hopefully on a global scale. Such a project could potentially involve as many as ten different schools granted that half are from Europe, Asia, Africa or Australia, and the other half are from the Americas.
To read these students blogs you can go to Grade 5 Collaborative.