As part of my essay curriculum, I have traditionally had my students make outlines. I have never worried about the details of roman numerals, letters, numbers, etc. I would just have the students write their thesis, and then three reasons that support their thesis with a few details. Some years I had them do it in notebooks while other years, they would just use a scrap of paper. My intention, at the beginning of the year, is to keep it fun. There will be time to analyze Derrida later.
Outline making- Online!
I thought there might be an on-line method for making an outline. I found this great one! http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/essaymap/
It is completely intuitive and easy to navigate. The student simply writes in their introduction and then the main ideas. It is organized in bite-sized chunks with explanations,so that even reluctant writers will have an entry point.
They simply move around the map to fill in the boxes and then save it. Beneath each idea, they are asked for details and examples. When they finish, kids can instantly mail it to themselves or their teacher. They can also save it on their computers. I am going to use the “Screen Share” button in the WizIQ Virtual classroom to talk my students through the map.
First a live demo, then a tutorial
As I know that many kids need to hear things several times, and indifferent ways, I think that it might be useful to make a tutorial as to how to do this. The tutorial is going to remind students of the basic expectations, as well as to remind them to take a breath and laugh a little- It is only an essay and this is only a writing project. It also like having tutorials in “My Content” in case I need a moment to catch my breath while I am teaching.
There are a number of ways that you can create a tutorial. You can create one within WizIQ or you can create one as a file and upload it into your WizIQ content. I decided to create a tutorial outside of WizIQ, and then upload it.
First I tried the software at www.camstudio.org. It seemed really great and it was free, but it kept crashing my computer. So I tried a free trial of Camtasia. Camtasia has pages of tutorials, and everything that you need to start creating tutorials for your students.
I then created this tutorial: http://youtu.be/OC0c2r2tDfU
It was much easier than I would have imagined. Once you have Camtasia on your computer, you can use it much like any recording device. You open it and press record, and then it records both your voice and the screen as you navigate through the webpage.
For class, I am going to introduce the idea of an essay. Then we are going to brainstorm some silly topics. I will suggest that we create a thesis related to the idea of “cake,” such as “Cake is good.” We will then create a list of ideas and examples to support the thesis. I will re-arrange the list into categories, and then I will send them to the essay map tutorial. After they watch it, I will send them off to create their own tutorials, and to e-mail them to me upon their completion. Violah, everyone will be writing!