Have you got involved in WritePath yet?

WritePath is a fantastic way for your students to be involved in collaborative storytelling with other students all around the world!  There are primary, secondary and even poetry days.  If your students love videostorytelling, they can even do that.  I have been involved in previous years, and thoroughly recommend it.  Have a read about what the founder of this amazing project, Bev Humphrey, has to say, and then contact her and join in!  Love to see you all there.

The Write Path, which launched in 2008, aims to bring together schools from around the world to work on writing and video projects online. We are now looking for schools to take part in the Autumn term.

The Write Path is very much my baby; I’m Bev Humphrey, a former school librarian, now a literacy consultant. Originally I wanted to find a way to celebrate International School Libraries Day in October. At the time I was working with a group of boys who loved technology and we had already been Skyping with students overseas around World Book Day as well as exploring other uses of online sites to encourage them to read and write for pleasure. My best friend, who is a school librarian in Stockport suggested that we organise a writing project between our 2 schools and a colleague who had moved to Beijing. The idea snowballed until we had pupils from 15 global schools taking part and five children’s authors who wrote the first paragraph of a story each for the young people to continue. 

The project has now grown to include more than 60 schools and last year’s event took place over the course of two weeks. I’m hoping that this autumn’s online event will be even bigger and will run over 3 weeks. Schools that participate work on the introductory paragraphs to six stories a day, or the six first stanzas of poems, on National Poetry Day. The starters are posted on a blog on the Write Path ning (collaborative website) and the continuations are posted as comments. As schools join throughout the day, they are given an hour to complete the next paragraphs or stanzas, with just two or three pupils generally working on each of the stories or poems – although some schools have involved entire classes, or even the entire school. 

Each paragraph has a word count of 250 to 350 words. They go off on wonderful tangents and last year we had pirates, zombies and giant Gummie Bears as characters! The school that takes part at the end of the day has the hardest job, to complete the story and tie up all the loose ends; they get two hours to work on the endings. We also have at least one video story running for schools to contribute to, often started by author Tommy Donbavand.

The students that take part  Year 7 and Year 8 in secondary schools, but we run a couple of primary school days during the project as well. The boys and girls seem to get a big kick out of the fact that the project is all accomplished online – after all they live in a constantly switched on, collaborative world and they enjoy getting online recognition and appreciate the fact that they are writing for a worldwide audience. We  produce books at the end of the Write Path and the young people love being published authors, with an end product to show parents etc. 

There are also now video-chats happening between schools that pupils can get involved with, and which they love; talking to the school that preceded or followed them writing the story online.

As for schools, Ofsted likes the project because it ticks the box of engaging with global communities and it has been helpful for colleagues who are trying for an International School award. I am constantly online and able to help with any glitches that occur, for some staff this is the first time they have used these new medias so the project provides valuable CPD. At the time of writing we have nearly 40 schools signed up for this year and many more will come online as the schools go back this week. If you are interested in participating please apply to join the ning then sign up on this page:

http://writepath.ning.com/profile/WPCentral

There is a fee for getting involved of £50 per school, which supports the technical costs of the project. Hope to ‘see’ you there!

Monk’s Walk School App Club

I heard about this amazing project a few weeks ago, and instantly contacted the Librarian, Adam Lancaster, to ask him to write this project up for Heart.  It is just the sort of innovative stuff that connected school librarians are exploring.  Alongside the App Club, Adam runs a New Technologies intervention as well, connecting students with new technologies in order to create reading strategies.  Follow the links to read about both of these projects in more detail, and if you want to know more, you can contact Adam on this address: [email protected]