At the conclusion of our collaborative writing project, the Top Ten Writers have been named to the Hall of Fame, chosen by their peers. 1001 Tales is a multi school project which started last year, created by Clay Burrell, an American literature teacher in Seoul, South Korea. It had a high school group and an elementary group. Clay from Korea, Jeff Dungan of the Dominican Republic, and myself from Hannibal, MO met in Skype and in about 40 minutes had our plan together for how we'd use wikispaces and how we'd partner schools as writing partners. Dean Meyer of Michigan came along shortly with a plan for reviewing student work based on Peter Elbow's writing ideas. Kids were to pretend that an Alien King had taken over the Earth. Now, the King was calling Earthlings to his throne to tell him a story. If he liked the story, the writer would be allowed to exist on Earth. If not, well... perhaps vaporization.

At any rate, that was the start of the project in the 2006-07 school year. This year, word obviously had gotten around because the number of participating schools in the elementary group expanded to fourteen schools in grades 3-5 with one grade 2 as well. Schools were from the USA, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, and the Dominican Republic. See the list HERE.

My small sector was shared with Jane Lowe's grade 4 from western Australia. We paired the kids and set them loose on their wikis writing a first draft of narrative fiction. Each kid was to read the draft of his or her partner and leave positive comments in a format we all had agreed upon, thereby giving the kids a structure for their feedback. The feedback structure is listed here: http://smithclass.wikispaces.com/smithtales08.

Finally after a few weeks of writing, commenting, exchanging photos and videos, we had the Top Ten Hall of Fame session. In my class, we read all stories aloud, projected on the Smartboard, then all students rated the stories on a scale of 1-5 in the categories of: (a) Makes Sense, (b) Used enough describing words, (c) Final draft improved from the first draft, and (d) the story created pictures in the reader's mind. So each student rated the stories and tallied a score for each. The Australian kids did the same for us. The resulting Hall of Famers have their photos posted on our wiki page here -- http://smithclass.wikispaces.com/hall-of-fame-smith-lowe .

Lots of work, lots of fun, lots of learning. One comment on this year: it was easier having just one other class to work with. Some of the groups were in three's (as we did before) and it is much more of a huge management task getting all three sets of writers to coordinate the drafts, the comments, and just navigating through the wikis.

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