Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ning-ing It

I have just put the most recent touches on a ning I am going to use with my students as we study Othello. I use the wonderful lesson plans written by the Shakespeare Set Free folks, and I think a ning will be a perfect complement to the active and collaborative work already happening in these plans. My main two goals for the ning are:

1. To push my students' collaboration even deeper with their in-depth character studies. I have had each student choose a single character to follow for years, and they ultimately write character studies. Knowing that there is so much Shakespearean literary criticism already out there, my goal last year was to help my students see that they were joining this conversation. I think by collaboratively following their character choices on the ning, and ultimately sharing the sources they find as they begin to research, the students will even more vividly see their participation in a wider intellectual community.

2. To collaborate with another set of students through a Twitter friend, Laura Nicosia. A teacher of pre-service teachers, she is interested in having her students work with mine, so I am waiting to hear back from her to see if the ning can be our platform for this. I will be VERY EXCITED if I can get other voices into the class's ning community. This kind of collaboration has proven to be the hardest for me to achieve (the timing and work it requires has been daunting), so it is a top goal for this project.

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