Teachers Teaching Teachers #120 – The National Writing Project and Google Team Up To Give High School Students a Voice -09.03.08

On this podcast we talk with four guesrts about Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future, an exciting NWP logo
Google Docscollaborative project sponsored by the National Writing Project and Google:

  • Andrew Chang, Product Marketing Manager at Google
  • Gail Desler, Tech Liaison for the Area 3 Writing Project in Northern California
  • Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, co-director of the National Writing Project
  • Paul Oh, the coordinator of the technology liaison program for the National Writing Project

Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future is open to U.S. teachers and mentors working with students ages 13–18. The project requires that the teacher have a parent/guardian permission (PDF) on file for each student prior to publishing their work on the Web and requires that students and teachers have Internet connectivity and use or create a free Google account.

Google accounts allow teachers and students to use Google Docs to compose, collaborate, edit, and share writing through Internet-accessible documents. The Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future website provides a secure way for teachers to publish students’ publication-ready writing to a high-profile website intended to feature strong, well-reasoned, and persuasive writing by young people.

Interested teachers should read How to Participate and then register [at http://nwp.org] by September 12. Publishing of student letters and essays occurs through October 30, 2008. Please note, in order to register for this project, you must first have an account on NWPi,

Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future

For the Chart Log, click Read more, below.

 20:52:10 Paul Allison: Hi Paul
20:52:51 Paul Allison: are you ohnopauloh ?
20:56:17 Bill O’Neal: Greetings from the Jarseys.
20:56:31 SusanEttenheim: hi bill!
20:56:37 SusanEttenheim: are you available tonight?
20:57:39 Bill O’Neal: I’m still in this putting doen Tomn late mode, so I am afraid the answer is no, but  am here to listen.
20:57:56 Bill O’Neal: down Tom
20:58:45 Bill O’Neal: The letters to Prez thing will work with a few of my seniors… Actually fits curriculum…
21:01:31 Paul Allison: http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/nwpsites/writing_our_future.csp
21:02:14 Bill O’Neal: Does anyone have a hyperlink to the Windoes stream? Not getting the connectio by clicking icon…
21:03:17 PeggyG: Hi all- has the stream started yet?
21:03:20 Paul Allison: We will be with you in one minute
21:03:31 PeggyG: No problem. Great to see you
21:03:44 Paul Allison: Tonight we’ll be talking about http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/nwpsites/writing_our_future.csp
21:04:17 PeggyG: Thanks. I’ll start browsing it 🙂
21:04:39 PeggyG: audio is coming through 🙂
21:06:06 PeggyG: The hum isn’t coming through the stream
21:06:32 SusanEttenheim: welcome everyone
21:06:39 SusanEttenheim: thanks for joining us tonight!
21:06:53 PeggyG: It may be a hum through Skype
21:07:30 Gail Desler: Hi Bill
21:07:39 Bill O’Neal: HI Gail
21:07:48 PeggyG: What a timely project to share! Thanks!
21:08:14 SusanEttenheim: hi linda welcome
21:08:16 Linda N: Hi All!
21:08:40 SusanEttenheim: linda could you remind us – where are you and what do you teach?
21:09:05 SusanEttenheim: lots of tired teachers tonight… or is everyone watching the convention?
21:09:06 Gail Desler: Hi Troy!!
21:09:13 hickstro: Hi Gail!
21:09:24 SusanEttenheim: hi hickstro!!! oh no I still haven’t sent those recipes to you!!
21:09:29 SusanEttenheim: welcome!
21:09:44 Paul Allison: http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/nwpsites/writing_our_future.csp
21:09:46 SusanEttenheim: hi paulrwood welcome!
21:09:54 Linda N: Hi, I am gifted support teacher at the elementary level in Cheser Springs, PA.
21:10:02 Gail Desler: hello paul (from gailhd)
21:10:06 paulrwood: Good evening
21:10:14 PeggyG: I love that they are writing on Google docs and not MySpace 🙂
21:10:32 SusanEttenheim: linda – when did you start school
21:10:33 SusanEttenheim: ?
21:10:46 paulrwood: Hello Gail
21:11:04 PeggyG: That is going to be really interesting to read!
21:11:14 hickstro: Hi Susan — no problem on the recipes!
21:11:17 SusanEttenheim: Paulrwood – where and what do you teach?
21:11:36 SusanEttenheim: I had such a fun time with my mom gathering recipes!
21:11:41 Gail Desler: Welcome Felicia
21:11:41 SusanEttenheim: hi felicia welcome!
21:11:52 paulrwood: Bishop Dunne grades 6-12 Dallas TX. Director of Technology, and Teach Theology to 11-12 students
21:11:55 hickstro: Hi Felicia!
21:11:58 Linda N: Ah the students just had their first day on Tuesday. Teachers have been in school all last week with meetings.
21:12:05 Felicia: Hi Susan and Gail.  I have a devil of a time getting on to this site.
21:12:18 Felicia: Hi Troy!
21:12:23 Gail Desler: @paulrwood – I sat in front of you in NECC preso by David Jakes
21:12:27 SusanEttenheim: our first day was yesterday with students
21:12:52 paulrwood: My classes have to have a Google account. W ewill start blogging in a couple of weeks and showing them the tools available.
21:13:03 PeggyG: That’s fascinating that their final writing will only be on Google docs.
21:13:11 paulrwood: Hehe yes I remember you Gail.
21:13:18 SusanEttenheim: We just became a Google Apps school and now the teachers want everything!
21:13:56 PeggyG: How do you plan to assess their projects?
21:14:06 SusanEttenheim: The first thing all of my students are doing this week is responding to my syllabus in a Google Doc so I can respond
21:14:10 Linda N: Hi Peggy?
21:14:15 Linda N: !
21:14:21 paulrwood: Gail, I am going up to visit Jakes and Bretag at the end of Sept
21:14:29 paulrwood: Me assess?
21:14:47 PeggyG: what an authentic way to learn about persuasive writing. Hope the candidates read them!
21:15:02 PeggyG: Hi Linda
21:15:06 Paul Allison: http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/nwpsites/writing_our_future.csp
21:15:22 Gail Desler: @paulrwood – Bretag is a Writing Project person too – like many of us in this group tonight
21:15:27 SusanEttenheim: I bet that could happen Peggy if there were enough – certainly more than if just one school wrote it..
21:15:31 Felicia: I would like to write some persuasive letters to the candidates.  I have a lot I want to say!
21:15:52 PeggyG: do you plan to use some standard tags for the student writing?
21:15:53 SusanEttenheim: felicia – can teachers write letters too?
21:16:06 SusanEttenheim: peggy — say more?
21:16:13 paulrwood: My students last year had to write Pres Bush about Darfur and when they started getting responses they got madder.
21:16:14 Felicia: How many teachers have signed on so far?  We are late getting started in New York because of our start date.
21:16:32 PeggyG: the comment was "regardless of the tags they use"–will they be tagging their docs?
21:16:35 Felicia: I don’t think teachers are supposed to be writing letters.  
21:16:38 Gail Desler: I think Paul Oh said over 300 are registered already
21:16:56 Felicia: Wow!
21:17:15 andrewchang: on "tags": students will be able to submit keywords about their letter.
21:17:29 Paul Allison: http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/nwpsites/writing_our_future.csp
21:17:33 PeggyG: That’s awesome participation! are they from around the country?
21:17:45 SusanEttenheim: andrew could you say more of that next time you talk?
21:18:47 SusanEttenheim: lol are there blue and red states?
21:19:01 PeggyG: LOL Susan
21:19:09 SusanEttenheim: hi carrie welcome! please introduce yourself
21:19:17 paulrwood: Someone likes to stir the pot!!
21:19:31 Felicia: I wonder how many New York city teachers have signed on? One of our t-cs plans to encourage teachers in her school to get involved.
21:19:34 Linda N: Is there anything for elementary students related to the project?
21:19:50 Gail Desler: @LInda N – good question
21:20:02 carrie: I’m with the Red Cedar Writing Project at Michigan State.  
21:20:34 SusanEttenheim: glad you’re here carrie!
21:20:40 Linda N: Iam working with a group of teachers who are working on their own project with elementary student http://electionproject.wikispaces.com
21:20:51 hickstro: Hi Carrie!
21:20:58 Felicia: How can we get information about who is signed on?
21:21:17 Gail Desler: @LInda N – can other classes join you?
21:21:28 Felicia: Maybe there is a way for the site to support teachers.
21:21:36 PeggyG: The NWP site was shared with the Diigo group-k12Government/Election so the word is spreading
21:21:45 Linda N: I think that would be great!
21:22:19 Gail Desler: @Linda N – I’ll get in touch with you about your project
21:22:26 PeggyG: What a wonderful wiki Linda!
21:22:50 Gail Desler: @PeggyG – Haven’t seen the Diigo group yet.  Very neat!
21:22:55 Linda N: The more classes from across the different states would really help students understand the election process and differences in issues and ideas.
21:23:09 Felicia: I don’t have a class so I don’t want to register but I’d like to be involved in the conversation.
21:23:40 PeggyG: http://groups.diigo.com/groups/k12elections The bookmarks are really growing there–139 right now.
21:24:28 Linda N: I didn’t realize there was a diigo group. I will have to add my bookmarks!
21:24:49 PeggyG: @Linda N-Absolutely!! Please do.
21:24:54 Gail Desler: @Linda N I have a 5th grade teacher who would love to join you
21:24:58 SusanEttenheim: hi jim! welcome!
21:25:04 Gail Desler: Welcome Jim
21:25:26 andrewchang: http://docs.google.com/templates?q=president&sort=hottest&view=default
21:26:11 JimBurke: Thank you, Susan and Gail, glad to drop in. . .
21:26:19 PeggyG: I think that is going to be so valuable for students to read the perspectives and priorities/issues from around the country.
21:26:25 Linda N: PBS has also created a great site and set of resources for the election.
21:26:32 SusanEttenheim: jim please introduce yourself – where and what do you teach?
21:26:59 Gail Desler: @jim – and share your website too
21:27:04 JimBurke: Susan, I am the Western Maine MLTI Coach/Mentor/Connector
21:27:05 SusanEttenheim: how strict is the deadline for registering?
21:27:08 PeggyG: Yes, There is going to be a CR20 LIVE Conversation on Wed. Sept 10 with the PBS folks about their site
21:27:32 SusanEttenheim: jim what is mlti?
21:27:38 Gail Desler: @JIm – oh, thought you were with the Calif English Teachers
21:27:40 Linda N: Wednesday, September 10th, at 6pm Pacific / 9pm Eastern, the creators of the PBS multi-media AND social-media "Vote 2008" will have a live conversation on Classroom 2.0
21:27:51 JimBurke: Maine 1 to 1 laptop program. . .
21:27:52 Linda N: Gosh, Peggy, you beat me to it!
21:27:54 PeggyG: http://wiki.classroom20.com/LIVE%20Conversations
21:28:01 JimBurke: Maine Learning Technology Initiative
21:28:08 SusanEttenheim: hi dgoodman – welcome!
21:28:19 PeggyG: The creators of the PBS site will be there 🙂 Very exciting!
21:28:26 SusanEttenheim: ahh thought it was something like that 🙂
21:28:27 dgoodman: hello everyone
21:28:33 SusanEttenheim: hi mbridges welcome
21:28:56 mbridges: thanks and good evening to all\
21:29:03 SusanEttenheim: dgoodman and mbridges please introduce yourself – where and what do you teach?
21:29:23 PeggyG: The template is such a wonderful tool on Google!
21:29:44 mbridges: ITS for Rockingham County School System in Eden, NC
21:30:18 dgoodman: IT at DF Walker Elem (3-5 school) in Edenton, NC
21:30:44 SusanEttenheim: welcome welcome!
21:30:56 dgoodman: what’s the topic
21:31:07 dgoodman: oh, google docs?
21:31:29 SusanEttenheim: paul do you have that link handy?
21:31:42 Paul Allison: http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/nwpsites/writing_our_future.csp
21:31:48 SusanEttenheim: tnx!
21:32:07 Felicia: The discussion is about an NWP and Google sponsored project to get high school kids to write letters to the candidates that will be published on the web.
21:32:35 PeggyG: writing persuasive essays
21:32:52 JimBurke: http://guest.portaportal.com/vote4me
21:33:09 Felicia: NWP is the National Writing Project and our focus is promoting writing.  Thanks for the clarification Peggy.
21:33:32 PeggyG: @JimBurke-what a great compilation of sites on portaportal-Did you create it?
21:34:02 JimBurke: That’s the work of Barbara Greenstone of MLTI
21:34:46 PeggyG: Thanks for sharing it!
21:35:21 Linda N: MLTI??
21:35:24 dgoodman: I agree with Peggy
21:35:45 JimBurke: Maine Learning Technogy Initiative . . .
21:35:55 Linda N: AH thank you!
21:37:42 PeggyG: So much rich content to cross all curriculum areas and many tech tools! So inspiring!
21:38:01 PeggyG: lol
21:41:05 PeggyG: what a great example of choosing the right tool for the project!
21:42:24 alicebarr: Hi all sorry to be so late
21:42:35 SusanEttenheim: hi alice! glad you’re here!
21:42:36 PeggyG: publishing a collaborative document makes it so powerful!
21:42:47 SusanEttenheim: http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/nwpsites/
21:43:07 SusanEttenheim: alice are you signed up yet?
21:43:37 Felicia: I think this project presents a great opportunity for WP sites to support teachers in the use of technology.  The trick is how to get to them – the interested teachers.
21:44:13 alicebarr: Signed up for Youth Voices?
21:44:25 Paul Allison: http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/nwpsites/writing_our_future.csp
21:44:39 Paul Allison: That was so last week Alice.
21:45:02 Felicia: Google docs appears easy to those who are comfortable with technology but it continually surprises me what stops folks from using new apps.  Our t-cs claim that forgot how to post after not using it for awhile.
21:45:09 alicebarr: Oh no! I have been imeersed up to my eyeballs with laptops and have missed a ton!
21:45:16 SusanEttenheim: lol the letters to the next president project alice
21:45:20 alicebarr: Have we moved on to something new?
21:45:26 PeggyG: There is a definite connection with YouthVoices and this Letter to the President writing project 🙂
21:45:30 alicebarr: Oh sorry… OK..
21:45:35 SusanEttenheim: no no lots of overlap
21:45:53 Paul Allison: I know… just kiddingf.
21:45:54 alicebarr: I am way behind. Rolling out 250 laptops tomorrow
21:46:03 SusanEttenheim: yikes
21:46:07 Felicia: That’s what I like the most about google docs – that you don’t have a million versions of one document, but getting people to use it is still a challenge.
21:46:14 Linda N: Are the students in your district back to school Alice?
21:46:19 PeggyG: the view history is invaluable and also helps when you need to rescue content that is accidentally deleted
21:46:24 SusanEttenheim: hi jillball welcome!
21:46:26 alicebarr: @Linda, we stated Tuesday
21:46:32 alicebarr: started
21:46:52 SusanEttenheim: I do with docs had an undo though
21:47:06 SusanEttenheim: jillball where are you and what do you teach?
21:47:20 alicebarr: @Linda Have your students started?
21:47:24 Linda N: So it is only Wednesday and you haven’t missed a thing…I hear this chat is better than the NRC going on right now on TV
21:47:38 alicebarr: WAY better!
21:47:39 Linda N: @Alice, yes, students started Tuesday also!
21:47:53 Felicia: That’s good to know.  I thought I was missing something.
21:48:07 jillball: I’m in Sydney Australia – I’m Head of IT at a K-12 private school
21:48:16 PeggyG: I think teaching collaboration is really important. It’s hard for some people to share the writing process especially with persuasive writing.
21:48:23 SusanEttenheim: I wonder if they will be available as a podcast.. from the convention!
21:48:23 Linda N: I’ve bbn checking Twitter- it might be a bit biased:P
21:48:52 SusanEttenheim: jillball are you in session now?
21:48:53 jillball: I came across this as I follow Bernie Dodge on Twitter
21:49:12 PeggyG: Gail that is such a good point! learn, unlearn, relearn 🙂
21:49:14 Felicia: What does it mean for the social studies to teach persuasive writing?  Is a persuasive essay written by a historian differnt from a persuaive essay written in English class?
21:49:17 Linda N: The speeches from the DNC were available online following the events.
21:49:39 Linda N: @Felicia- great question!
21:49:44 Gail Desler: @peggy – whole lot of rethinking, no?!
21:49:59 PeggyG: Absolutely! for all of us!
21:50:08 Felicia: @Linda, thanks
21:50:10 SusanEttenheim: could elyse and paul talk about the relationship between research and writing?
21:50:25 SusanEttenheim: Could students just write – should they include quotes?
21:50:30 Linda N:  When i wached Obama my question was about the persuasive techniques he was using- verbal, visual…
21:51:00 SusanEttenheim: do we have some examples for students to see first?
21:51:29 PeggyG: @Felicia-interesting question. I’m not sure the persuasive writing would be different as historian or English class unless you think one must be based on research and one more opinion??
21:51:59 Felicia: But what happens when you refuse to be persuaded?  Didn’t Fred Thopson (I hope that’s his name) try to persuade us as well, but I wasn’t buying it.
21:52:16 SusanEttenheim: could teachers enter letters too?
21:52:44 PeggyG: you’re just "trying" to persuade–you have no control over what the reader decides
21:52:45 Linda N: I think that your approach- as an historian, as a common person of different occupatin changes your voice and approach in writing
21:53:18 Felicia: @Peggy I’m thinking of the work that the NRI group did about content area literacy and the notion that there are skills and knowledge that are particular to different communities.
21:53:27 PeggyG: @Linda N-voice is a great perspective to think about
21:54:05 SusanEttenheim: our 9th graders are doing a pd with the teachers mid October – they could do this first then walk the teachers through doing it but it would be more cool if the teachers’ works could be included too
21:54:19 Linda N: @Felicia What is NRI?
21:54:29 Bill O’Neal: Time to run. Night night!
21:54:37 PeggyG: G’night Bill
21:54:38 Felicia: @ Peggy, yes you have only limited control over the reader but the techniques you use should lead readers more toward your line of thinking or how do you measure success or effectiveness?
21:54:40 Gail Desler: Night Bill
21:55:33 PeggyG: @Felicia-oohh…great question! if you don’t persuade someone with your writing does that mean you weren’t successful?
21:55:36 Felicia: @Linda, sorry for the short hand.  NRI stands for National Reading Initiative which was a National Writing Project activity to look at reading comprehension of content area texts.
21:55:58 Linda N: Thanks Felicia!
21:56:19 Paul Allison: http://del.icio.us/letters2president
21:56:58 Felicia: @ Linda, no problem.  Thanks for reminding me that I’m talking to a broader audience than just Writing Project teachers.
21:57:25 PeggyG: letters2president on del.icio.us — fantastic resources! Thanks!
21:57:51 Felicia: This sounds so comprehensive.  Good job NWP and Elysee and Paul Oh.
21:58:13 PeggyG: a whole section on teaching persuasive writing bookmarks 🙂
21:59:04 PeggyG: Nice try Paul 🙂
22:00:11 Linda N: You can download YouTube videos and then show them.
22:00:12 Paul Allison: http://nwp.org
22:00:37 PeggyG: Is there a Pageflakes or Netvibes page the pulls in all of these resources?
22:01:27 Felicia: citizen journalist, I love the language
22:01:39 dgoodman: I use zamzar to download YouTube videos to show at school
22:01:57 PeggyG: will people need a Google account to be able to view the student docs?
22:02:08 Paul Oh: good qestion peggy
22:02:22 Paul Oh: no, people will not need a google account to view the student writing
22:02:31 PeggyG: such an exciting project!
22:03:06 PeggyG: It would be interesting to hear some student podcasts as an outgrowth of their writing to actually hear their voices and passion 🙂
22:03:31 Linda N: Students have a sincere desire to connect and make their voice heard.  
22:03:37 dgoodman: @Peggy or voicethreads
22:03:50 PeggyG: I really appreciate Google’s responsiveness to educators
22:04:11 SusanEttenheim: yes our google apps has really changed our whole school community
22:04:14 PeggyG: Yes Voicethreads would be a fantastic way to keep the communication going
22:04:16 dgoodman: I agree Peggy-Google is great
22:04:41 dgoodman: great info tonight – thanks all
22:05:09 PeggyG: Yes, keep telling us about what’s happening with the NWP project
22:05:12 alicebarr: Thank you guys! Great stuff!
22:05:16 dgoodman: Good night
22:05:30 PeggyG: Exciting guests and great conversation! Thanks 🙂
22:05:30 Felicia: Now, I’m going to go listen to the Republicans.  Great show, glad I tuned in.  I now see the potential of this project.  Thanks all and good night.
22:05:34 Linda N: Exciting project! Looking forward to hearing more about it!
22:05:42 hickstro: Great project everyone — look forward to being a part of it.
22:05:45 SusanEttenheim: night all!
22:05:46 Linda N: Thanks to all!
22:06:13 PeggyG: Good night!



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