Another wonderful day (funny how any day after a first afternoon of rain is a "wonderful day"). Tomorrow night we'll have our closing campfire so we won't be posting a video. We can't share our adventures with you upon our return on Friday.
Another wonderful day (funny how any day after a first afternoon of rain is a "wonderful day"). Tomorrow night we'll have our closing campfire so we won't be posting a video. We can't share our adventures with you upon our return on Friday.
Day two dawned sunny and dry. We had too many highlights to list, but here are thirty:
We had a great first day. Yes, it rained. But the kids were in high spirits. They persevered and even had fun. It even looks like we're going to get to cross country ski! Best of all, they've upgraded the internet so I was able to upload the video in record time -- ten minutes! The sun'll come out tomorrow - and we'll continue the adventure a little less damp.
Wolf Ridge and Fourth Grade Week are central in our calendar - often it feels like we are doing a lot "before Wolf Ridge" and a lot "after Wolf Ridge." Fourth grade week and Wolf Ridge stand alone - busy, to be sure, but a different kind of busy. It's lovely to have a single focus for a while.
The lead up to this week has been very busy.
We began a new theme - Engineering Cities. Students brainstormed a giant list of what made a city a city. We then "reverse engineered" the list, uncovering the human needs and wants that our list revealed.
Top among those lists was "water." Early cities developed along waterways so that there would be a source of water for irrigation and for drinking. Of course, as cities grew, there was a need to transport water greater distances (either from underground or from far away sources.)
How did civilizations get there water? We studied aquaducts, qanats, wells and pumps, water towers, pump screws (Archimede's screw), noria (Persian wheels) and siphons. The Herons will use the technologies to help them design their own city. Future lessons will cover sewage systems, energy systems, and transportation systems as well as studying the difference between a city that develops organically and one that is fully planned.
By the way, if you want to totally geek out and know where we're headed, check out this infographic of Masdar, an engineered city being built (slowly) in the UAE.
It was great to get back to forest school after the disrupted January schedule. We've had a great two weeks and have hit our winter groove (just in time, I know.) The Herons have especially enjoyed becoming more proficient in fire building and we've begun a project of lacing some Ojibwe snow shoes that we found in shed (anyone happen to have expertise in that area?) The smooth ice in the small field led us to try to make efficient ice-mobiles. Students used shovels as paddles ("they're a lever!") and then we worked to reduce friction by lashing runners for our kiddy-pool ice boats. It was finally warm enough to get our pocket knives back out and some students made giant compasses to continue the work with geometric constructions we had begun in math last week.
With the dramatic change in temperature, the Herons noted that it seemed like Wednesdays were always colder than the other days of the week. I agreed it certainly seemed that way...but was it? We also used the Robin's weather data (they record the temperature every morning) to determine if our impression was correct. Students figured out the mean temperature for every day of the week (since December). It turns out that, on average, Wednesday is colder than Tuesday. However, Friday is actually the coldest day of the week. Of course, we're not outside all day on Friday! It was a great opportunity for us to discuss the power of data collection to prove (and disprove) our "gut feeling." The Herons saw right away that we might have a bias to think of Wednesday as cold compared to the other days of the week.
Out of My Mind
"Bias" has come up a lot in the Herons lately. Our read aloud, Out of My Mind, is written from the perspective of a girl with cerebral palsy. We've had a lot of really great conversations about disability and our own assumptions about people. On Friday, students even began a conversation about genetic engineering and whether or not our main character would have chosen to be born without cerebral palsy. I let them know that they were wrestling with the same complex issues that are central to the bio-ethics debate in our country right now. I think that it's empowering for them to know that there are still so many questions left unanswered in our world.
Prairie Creek hosted a bevy of scientists on Thursday who shared how they use science, technology, engineering and math in their work. We filled the white board with everything we had done. The Herons had a great time teaching their classmates what they had learned (among us, we had seen all nine presentations). A huge thanks to Keri, Jay and Pete for sharing their expertise with us.
In our professional development, we've been working on "oracy" which incorporates conversation, debate and oral presentation skills. While our students have exposure to the basics, especially as they prepare to teach at culminating events and present their personal projects, we realized there was still a lot of room for improvement.
Here is a "before" and "after" shot of a group working together. We've been talking a lot about how we demonstrate listening in groups -- might be a great thing to bring into your home conversations.
Jennifer led a great All School Gathering on Friday to celebrate the completion of the piñatas that 4/5s have been working on in Spanish. We learned about the tradition of the piñata, the students shared their work with their bird buddies and then we all learned a song in spanish about piñatas. The piñatas will be smashed when the fifth graders get back from Wolf Ridge...the anticipation is intense.
Some recent conversations with students have gotten me thinking. One shared that a video they'd watched in spanish was 2 1/2 minutes long. "So I started doing the math and figured out that 8.3% of our class was the video...I think," she said. Another shared that he'd been bored on a car drive the past weekend and had been trying to figure out how many ounces were in a gallon. I shared with the students that I often pass time when I'm at stop lights behind people with 26.2 or 13.1 stickers (the lengths marathons and half marathons, respectively). What's a quarter marathon? 6.55. An eight? 3.275. What if I just wanted to walk 10 steps? (That's usually about the time the light turns green.)
When I brought these situations up in class, other students chimed in with times they'd passed time with math:
"I gave letters their number value and added up license plates on a trip." "I tried to figure out how many pours of the soy sauce bottle it would take to empty it." "I was waiting for my mom to come out of a store and tried to figure out how much money all of the cars in the parking lot cost." "I count by 3s to see how high I can get." "I kept track of how many men vs. women I saw at the airport." "I counted by 5s for the whole flight to Baltimore." "I see if I can finish my water before the waiter comes again...and then try to figure out how much time I have to drink the new glass." "I figured out how many lures I'd lose in three hours." "I figured out the average age at our family gathering." "I swiped my finger on frost on the window and tried to figure out how many swipes it would take to clear the window." "I figured out the speed of the car based on trees we were passing." "I counted the panes of glass at church and multiplied it by the number of ceiling panels." "I used the mileage signs and our speed to figure out how long it would take us to get there." "I counted people in cars and figured out the average." "I'm figuring out how long this conversation will be if everyone shares something."
I realized that an important step in math development was staring me in the face -- when children learn how to read there is a tipping point of sorts where they start to read all of the text around them. Suddenly signs and cereal boxes and magazines lying on the table come into focus and the child registers that there are words there and he or she tries to read those words. One can no longer give the child a menu and skip the undesirable items. The amount of decoding the child is doing increases tremendously (and there is almost always a big leap in reading level and confidence because of all of that extra practice.) The words that surround us are called "environmental print."
So what is the equivalent in numeracy? Whatever it is, these kids had made that leap (and then some.) They were playing with number constantly and getting so much practice with math concepts. "Math class" is five or so hours a week. A lot of these kids might be thinking about math three or four times that much -- it's no wonder some kids seem to "get math" more easily. They're working at it a lot more and that work is mostly invisible.
I didn't even recognize the point in time when my own children started to notice number around them. It could be that it happened multiple times for different kinds of math. Early reading development follows a somewhat linear trajectory (that's a simplification but not untrue) and the moment when environmental print appears to a child is just that, a moment. Number, on the other hand, has a lot of different forms - noticing a clock, counting objects, comparing quantities, seeing shapes. Just today, my daughter Hazel was looking at a floor grate and noting how many squares she could see in the design. It's my guess that the "environmental number" stage of numeracy happens repeatedly for different kinds of ideas.
And of course, what my students reported (finding the percentage of class time spent on a video, for instance) is not analogous to that first recognition of environmental print. It's more like finding anagrams in the words you see around you, trying to make new words out the letters of another word. They have continued to build on those initial moments of number awareness. All of the examples my students shared with me were playful; they were challenging themselves to solve puzzles they were creating.
So if environmental number is a numeracy developmental stage, how could we encourage it? For environmental print, primary teachers label everything with its name. What is the equivalent in our classroom and homes? Class data posters? Clocks? Charts with fractions? Number lines? Those are all visual prompts. Could we be modeling number awareness? We make a point of talking to young children and asking them questions to encourage language development. What conversations can we start about number? Comparing bedtimes...timing table setting...cooking with fractions...labeling shapes...
And what about the next step -- playing with the numbers you come across? I suspect that, like literacy and fitness, we need to model it for our kids. Asking ourselves questions from the mundane: How many steps is it across the room? How long does it take to clean out the dishwasher? To the ridiculous: How many kids end to end would it take to get downtown? How many scoops of ice cream would fill the fountain? At first you may be pondering the mathematical universe by yourself...but with time, that world of number play will open up for your child as well.
What do you think? Is this a stage of development you've noticed in your child? Do you play with number this way? What are some ways you encourage numeracy in your home?
January is off to a great and very busy start. We are reflecting on the year so far, launching the opera, learning cursive, coding, starting our personal projects, and braving the cold. January's schedule lends itself to shorter work blocks than the more expansive theme blocks of fall and early winter. The Herons have been enjoying the variety and pace of our days - the year definitely has its rhythms.
The Herons and their bird buddies, the Egrets and Doves, have been working on the first act of our opera with a crew of students from St. Olaf. The focus of the whole opera is immigration and in our act we travel back to the 1850s to visit a family that has immigrated from China to work on the railroads. Students have been writing words, rhythms, and melodies to capture the feelings of the immigrants. They are also working on choreography for the finale of our act. We're excited to start seeing the pieces come together.
I am teaching cursive letter and word formation in some of nooks and crannies of our schedule. I will teach each of the letters and how they connect to other letters. Students have so far learned the "i" stroke (used in the i, u, t, and w) and the "e" stroke (used in the e and l) by combining the two strokes, one can also make the "b". We'll learn the "c" next which will enable us to make eleven of the twenty-six letters. We're also working on reading cursive and every child will be expected to be able to write his or her name in cursive fluently. Fifth graders who mastered the letters last year and working on connecting letters fluently and moving from "drawing" cursive to writing it. With practice, it becomes faster (and, in many cases neater) than manuscript.
Everyone has a topic and has created a know and wonder chart. Many of the students have grouped their questions into research categories and have even begun to take notes. We have also talked about the importance of keeping track of your sources and giving credit to the books and websites that teach you.
Learning how to extract useful information from the text you are reading is one of the most difficult skills students tackle during projects. In a recent lesson, we came up with the analogy of trying to identify birds in a thick bush. At first it can seem like nothing is there - but if you look long enough, you can start to see the individual birds. During the mini-lesson on note taking, some of the fifth graders said I made it look a lot easier to take notes than it was. I pointed out that I've had a lot of practice taking notes so it's kind of like I have binoculars and can look at that bush and say, "There's a yellow-rumped warbler" when all you see at first is a leaf moving.
We had a lovely walk up the creek last week. It was very cold but the Herons all were prepared with the right gear and we stayed active. We were most amazed by the hoar frost on the creek. Some of the feathery crystals were three inches in length and there were thousands of them, seemingly sprouting from any bump on the ice. Believe it or not, there was still some water running under the ice so it was an ideal opportunity to talk about ice safety and the physics of freezing (or at least the basics!). We kept our weight spread out on all fours and only went on the creek where the water, if we fell in, would be 3-4" deep.) It would be cold but it was a reasonable risk since we were about one hundred feet from the school. No one got wet in the end. As a side note, today our creek was up a full foot from where it had been last week. We'll take another look at it tomorrow. I'm wondering if the irrigation tiles have made a difference in our water flow compared to years past when we would have a dry creek (or solidly frozen creek) most of the winter.
This break was short. Very short. I'm taking a deep breath as I write this, preparing myself for re-entry tomorrow morning. The one thing that is easing that transition a bit is the warm glow I get thinking about the Herons' work the last day before break. They didn't want to stop. In fact, when I told them it was time to put away their work to go to recess, they began a chant (normally I abhor chanting but this time, I'll admit, I found it charming.) "What do we want?" "Work!" "When do we want it?" "NOW!"
We were making Truchet tiles at the time. Using a compass and square graph paper, students created deceptively simple pieces they could fit together to make very cool patterns. (This link is to Christopher Danielson's site - a local math education teacher who created Math on a Stick at the state fair.) It's the kind of math I love to introduce in these "spare" moments in our schedule. We can do an initial explanation in ten minutes. I explain a few directions students can explore and, suddenly everyone is completely obsessed. This math becomes a habit - something students pick up in their spare time. And each time they return to it, they make a new discovery, solidify a concept, or simply find joy in the beauty of the mathematical world.
We also went sledding on Thursday (thanks, Petersons, for the new sled donation!). I love watching the Herons sled. They quickly created new games and challenges for each other. Our little sledding hill affords a place to play hard without building up dangerous amounts of speed (a few rules about bailing out before you hit the hay bales and walking up the side of the hill also help to keep things sane.) It's great to see kids take risks and try new things with their bodies. I strongly believe that having opportunities to take responsible physical risks in a controlled setting helps kids learn where their limits are so that, as they become more independent, they make good choices by themselves. This is a key concept in the adventure playground movement and something that the fourth and fifth grade teachers adopt in our PE and outdoor play curriculum. The next time the snow is fresh and packable, we'll have a giant snow ball fight - another opportunity to learn about boundaries and how to handle physical play.
So, even though the break was short, we went into it with great momentum. I'm so looking forward to jumping back on the wave as we enter our exciting month of opera (and coding and cursive and conference reflection and...)
I stepped away from the Robin's culminating event for a few moments toward the end and, when I came around the corner on my return I was greeted by ten Herons and Kestrels who had finished up in the gym and were entering their Greek theme work. "THERE you are! We've been looking for you. We need you." They didn't need me per se, they needed an adult to go down to the basement to look for costumes, permission to get paint from the art room, someone to help them look for the missing book on Greek gods, an opinion on what to put on a poster, and an answer to whether or not we had barley in the kitchen (we didn't.)
This is one of my favorite times in the 4/5s. Students feel so confident and invested in their work. They have learned how to set goals and manage their time. They know how things are done. They feel empowered to make things happen. Our work as teachers becomes more peripheral and the students take a central role in the process.
You see this independence throughout the day. On Wednesday as the temperature plunged, all of the Herons had their outdoor gear ready to go. At our first forest school, it seemed like half the class forgot their reading book, half forgot their outdoor shoes, then the half that forgot their books realized they also had forgotten their snack and the half that had gotten their boots on realized they might want their rain coat, too. Now, everyone is ready and prepared -- so prepared that we were able to get outside and have fun on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Students who are learning about probability with me are working on creating games and determining the odds for games that have multiple events. I've been really busy during math - but I'm responding to the needs that they are identifying. One student wanted a reminder on how to use a percentage wheel for making a spinner. Another needed to find clay to make prizes.
At lunch, an organized Blink tournament has materialized, complete with a "Champion" button that can be worn with pride for the day you win.
But it's probably at theme time that we see the greatest display of self-determination and independence. I find myself constantly surprised by the ideas and ingenuity of the students. Our work becomes quietly helping them bring their ideas into fruition.
I first saw this kind of teaching when I was a student teacher at PS 87 in New York City. I was the student who was gaining independence and Lauri Posner, an exceptional progressive educator, was the teacher who was quietly ensuring my success. I took over her class for the last two weeks of the term when we were culminating a theme on the Mayans. I came to Lauri, "The students want to do a restaurant, is that O.K?" "Sure!" Lauri said. "They want to make and sell things at a merchandise table." "Sure!" Lauri said. "Should we make our own tortillas?" "Sure," Lauri said. Then she suggested that we also silk screen t-shirts, "Here's the shop that's made the screens for me in the past..." she said. We made over 500 tortillas, fed the entire school... and clogged three stories worth of drains in the school building. I was elated (well, not about the drains). And, as I reflected upon the experience, I realized the work that Lauri was doing to help me be successful. She saw that we were about to run out of cheese and ran to the corner store. She helped a frustrated child re-enter her group. She gently suggested a nice thank you for the custodian who snaked the drains...twice...without complaint. She was invisibly tossing balls back into the juggling show so that we (I) could be successful. It's the kind of teaching I aspire to now.
Our joint theme with the Kestrels is in full swing. On Wednesday, we read a paper from 444 BCE, the height of Athenian arts and culture. Some of the Spartans grumbled that all of the news was about Athens. We pushed them to think about it, was Athens getting too much attention? Were they, maybe, a little jealous? It came as no surprise to those Spartans that by Friday (14 years later) Sparta was attacking Athens. The Athenians were horrified, the Spartans cheered and many of the slaves were hoping that the chaos might afford them a chance to get away. We had a good discussion about the expense of war and students saw the connection between the peace Athens experienced for many years around 444 and the arts and sciences they were able to develop.
After students write their response journal, they move into work on a menu of theme options. Some have been doing a lot of weaving in the gynaceum (the women's room in an Athenian house). Many have been reading a version of Aeschylus's Orestreain Trilogy. Others have been creating goods related to their trade or writing articles for the newspapers.
Others have been building temples to their patron gods. Gabe and I were inspired by a workshop from our Imagine Conference which encouraged block work in the older classrooms. We brought blocks up a few days ago and were amazed by the excitement of the students who built temples in nooks and crannies all around the 4/5 hallway. My favorite was a Temple of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing. People who were healed by Asclepius would give thanks by making a clay model of the body part healed. The model would be hung up in the temple. In the Kestrons' (Kestrel+Heron=Kestron) version, Lego mini-figure parts were scattered about the entrance. Fantastic. The temples get knocked down by either the anger of the gods or sometimes clumsy 4/5 feet - we're not sure which - but they are rebuilt quickly during theme time.
We've continued our training in the Spartan agoge during PE. Spartan youth were given 3 meals a week. The rest they were expected to steal (to develop stealth and speed.) Chickens were a preferred theft item. We have been playing our own version of chicken stealing - using rubber chickens as the "ball" in an ultimate frisbee type game. The Herons have dubbed it "Ultimate Chicken." I am a big fan.
On Friday we read the last of the Oresteain trilogy and tried out for parts. We'll be putting on all three plays at our culminating event. Students have also been making and bringing in food they've read about.
Brrrrr. Wednesday felt really cold. After a half hour of reading independently outside, I told the students a story from icelandic novelist, Halldor Laxness. A sheep farmer loses a sheep and has to go searching for it in late autumn. He is forced to sleep outside and goes to a rock used by hunters to keep warm on winter nights. How do they keep warm? They sleep on the rock and when they wake up shivering, they push the rock around in circles until they are warm enough to sleep again. Then they go back to sleep on the rock and, when they wake up shivering, they push the rock around again. "To the Albero!" the Herons yelled. We went and pushed the albero around but it did little to keep us warm. We weren't able to do any writing outside in the cold and I am thinking through what the next three months might look like for us in Forest School. While I'm still very committed to being outside on Wednesday, I am also cognizant of the need to balance our "outdoor education" (learning about the environment) with "education outdoors" (doing our regular work, just outside). We may shift our woods craft work to the morning and, when necessary do our writing and reflection inside (and mitten free) in the afternoon.
If our plan for our winter encampment goes well, we might not have to make any modification. We've been building up brush around our spruce tree space in the hopes of making snow walls. Stephen Mohring and Josie Rawson donated about twenty tree stumps so we'd have places to sit and work. The Chickadees even visited us while they were out on an exploration adventure.
A visit from the Chickadees (above.) Working with our mentors (to the left)
Our current math theme is probability. We used a formative assessment to make sure students were getting the challenge they were ready for. Some students have been learning about single event probability. They are determining the mathematical probability and then testing it by using experimental probability. It takes a lot of hands on practice to shift conceptions about probability. Even after extensive work, some children will claim that "they always roll sixes!" Other students have been learning about multi-event probability. They are designing simple games of chance that involve at least two events (an "event" is something like rolling a die or spinning a spinner). They are working on determining the odds of several events happening in succession. The odds can get pretty big, pretty quickly.
Probability is an extension of our fraction work. The importance of experience in understanding fractions cannot be over stated. The more you talk about fractions and use fractions (cooking, dice rolling in a game) the better your child will be able to work with fractions in a variety of contexts. For example, instead of just rolling the die during a game, you could ask a child -- what numbers are you hoping to get? What are the chances of getting it?
On Wednesday, students received their mentor/mentee assignments for fourth grade project. Fourth grade projects mirror the work of the honors project but everything is a little smaller...including the mentors. The fifth graders get to guide a forth grader through the project process - a task that reinforces the skills they are using in their honors projects. So far, students have shared possible ideas for projects and have begun simple know and wonder charts to determine the best idea for a project. We'll formalize our know and wonder charts in the week ahead and begin research in earnest in January.
Helping your child find books on his or her subject over break would be great - especially if your child has a more unusual topic. We'll help find books, too, but a trip to the library, especially for fifth graders, can be very beneficial.
It seems that about once a month, my "to write" list gets overwhelmingly long. I want to take the time to dig deeply in this blog and enable you to get a sense of the reasoning that goes behind our work and how the pieces fit together...but I also want you to know what's going on in a timely manner. So here are some short(ish) updates about our work.
I've asked each Heron to find a memorize a poem. It can be of any length, serious or silly. The purpose is two fold: we'll have twenty poems at the ready to fill in a moment between activities and all of the Herons will have some experience with memorization. We'll be sharing our memorization techniques - writing things out repeatedly, sub-vocalizing, read/cover/say/check, mnemonics, visualization. These are techniques that can be applied to memorizing lines for a show, math facts, or vocabulary in a new topic. If you are interested in learning a poem alongside your Heron, that would be great. I've linked the title to a book of possibilities and here's another that the Herons are using: Forget-Me-Nots.
Students have had an introductory week of research. Initially, they had to choose which city-state they would be a part of and what gender they would portray. Then the fates decided on their role. Some are elites, some are slaves. We had an awful lot of people want to live in Sparta (perhaps because of the relative freedom that women had) so we enticed some to come to Athens which, if you were a free male, had a lot more options for how you spent your time. Students have been getting into the spirit of things, participating in Spartan P.E. activities and enhancing their endurance by going barefoot at recess.
Students spent the week researching their character - what type of schooling, home, food, daily life would he or she have? What would they look like? What would they do (if anything) for fun?. In the coming weeks, we'll be adding to that knowledge by looking at religion, government structures and economics. We'll also be traveling through Greek history through a series of newspapers. Here's an example: Download Eponymous_Hero_1. We read the newspapers together (with Gabe and me adding commentary and modeling character reactions from our characters' viewpoints) and then students write a reflection journal about the day's events. If time allows, they also write about their character's personal life. One thing students are already learning is that it can be hard to understand and see the personal impact of public events - at least at first.
Gabe took on the role of Socrates (sans Hemlock) and led a discussion using the Socratic method on Thursday. Students really enjoyed exploring the question, "What is a chair?" One of the Herons exclaimed excitedly, "I can't wait to ask that question at the dinner table tonight!" The Herons also really enjoyed analyzing this picture.
If you have old white sheets you'd like to get rid of, please send them in. We've had a lot of requests for chitons!
We have been having a great time exploring fractions in math. Our focus has been on naming fractions, creating equivalent fractions, and comparing fractions. Some groups have worked on combining fractions, too. Gabe, Cathy and I have all been using tasks that engage students in mathematical debate -- "forcing" students to support their ideas and articulate their understanding. For example, students may be given this image and asked to find the fraction of the whole shaded:
Then, they are told that another student has said that 1/4 is shaded. Is she correct? Why or why not? By pushing themselves to articulate their arguments, students expose to themselves (and to us) the parts of their understanding that are still shaky. I had one fraction number talk in which five different answers were given, none of which was the correct answer. During the explanations of how we got answers, however, all of the students came to a better understanding of what they were seeing and mis-seeing (and they all got to the right answer, too.) In the image below, we had a robust conversation about how to figure out a precise answer. Students approached the problem by breaking the "T" into five smaller squares and then taking portions from there...
Wednesday may be our last warm forest school day for a while (I originally typed "beautiful" but revised it.) We took full advantage and started to build a fence for our winter encampment. We also chose a square foot to map carefully -- we left our boundaries up, we'll see if we can find the same square in the spring.
At one point during our work, students suggested setting up a Christmas tree. Others objected, pointing out that Christmas was a religious holiday. The Herons quickly began thinking about creating their own holiday. I ended the day by reading them Byrd Baylor's I'm In Charge of the Celebrations, a beautiful book whose narrator carefully observes nature and declares celebrations based on what she sees (a rabbit looking at a triple rainbow or a green parrot in the clouds). We'll be watching carefully for days that we want to remember.
A little over a week ago, students looked back through the rough drafts they had created during our writing circles. Based on their peers' reactions and revision ideas, they chose one piece to bring forward through the publishing process.
First, everyone revised by adding description, clarifying confusing parts and removing redundancies. Then we typed up the second draft in Google Drive and printed it, warts and all. Students went through the piece four times, each time editing for a different aspect of mechanics. (Here is a mini-lesson detailing what we did.)
After making the changes in their typed piece, students send the piece to me for a teacher edit. I love editing using Google Drive. I can easily standardize punctuation and spelling. More importantly, I am able to make notes about edits, explaining why I've made certain changes. I don't explain every change, just the ones that are next on the student's learning continuum.
Students then publish the piece. We hope to compile everything into a literary magazine for you to enjoy over the Thanksgiving holiday. Monday and Tuesday will be busy days for us to make our goal.