Collaborative Detective Story--A Community-Inspired Project

This is a year-long project and the students begin by getting to know each other through emails and a questionnaire that is posted on a wiki. After students know a little bit about each other, one class, using the same wiki, composes the first paragraph of a collaborative detective story, setting the scene for all that will follow. The second class reads and proofreads the paragraph. If one class is learning the language in which the story is written, they should begin the story. Then, the native speakers of that language can read and proofread, making any grammatical/spelling corrections needed. Students brainstorm in class to determine what is going to happen next. The exchange continues until the story ends.  A story written this way tends to take twists and turns as the students add information, much like a true mystery story does. Once the story is complete, a video-conference through Skype becomes the culminating activity.

 

This project inspired by:

 

Linda Martin, St Helena School, New Jersey USA

 

 

 

 

 

See her award-winning project here >>



Subjects: Reading, Writing



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Result

 

This is a year-long project and the students begin by getting to know each other through emails and a questionnaire that is posted on a wiki. After students know a little bit about each other, one class, using the same wiki, composes the first paragraph of a collaborative detective story, setting the scene for all that will follow. The second class reads and proofreads the paragraph. If one class is learning the language in which the story is written, they should begin the story. Then, the native speakers of that language can read and proofread, making any grammatical/spelling corrections needed. Students brainstorm in class to determine what is going to happen next. The exchange continues until the story ends.  A story written this way tends to take twists and turns as the students add information, much like a true mystery story does. Once the story is complete, a video-conference through Skype becomes the culminating activity.

 

This project inspired by:

 

Linda Martin, St Helena School, New Jersey USA

 

 

 

 

 

See her award-winning project here >>


Objectives and Standards:

 

1.    Students will compose a collaborative narrative short story.

2.    Students will practice proofreading, teamwork, netiquette and brainstorming techniques.

3.    Students create international friendships and a great story to share.

 


Common Core ELA Standards

W3, W5, W6, W10, SL1 

 

The culminating activity is the conclusion of the on-going year-long story. Classrooms can set a Skype session at the end of the year, where the students meet face-to-face, talk about the story writing experience, and share a dialog about themselves. Additionally, the group can take the completed story, add drawings or pictures and publish it using an online tool.

Instructional Plan:

1.    Have a lesson on Netiquette, especially emphasizing how another person may interpret what you are saying online. This is especially important when doing cross-cultural communication.

2.    Exchange student lists - match up students, preferably by gender if possible.

3.    Have students send introduction emails to each other.

4.    Enable one or more wikis. One suggestion is to create a wiki for each country "What I've Learned About [Country Name]”. Be sure to include links from one wiki to the other one for easy access.

5.    Create a questionnaire using Google forms to determine how much your students know about the other country - ask questions such as: What do people like to do after school in [country name]? What do people like to eat in [country name]?  Each class of students should answer the questions about their own country and their partners' country.

6.    Students in the each country will look at their partners' answers and make a comparison chart:  partners answers and their own answer.  This allows students to learn a little about stereotypes and how we need to be aware of these when communicating.

7.    Create a page on the wiki to work on the Detective Story.

8.    One class begins the story. The class that begins the story is responsible for the setting and some of the character development.

9.    The second class reads the story, proofreads and makes any corrections to grammar/spelling as necessary, then adds another paragraph.

10.This exchange continues as long as the classes prefer. It could continue the following year adding a “stay tuned...” at the end.

 

Resources and Preparation:


1.    Visit teacher Linda Martin’s wiki to see a collaborative detective story written by her students and get ideas for your own project.

2.    Student Publishing: http://www.studentpublishing.com

3.    What I Know About My ePals’ Country (Spreadsheet)

 

 

The timeline for the Collaborative Detective story can vary depending in the length of the story created and the time available to participating partners. Collaborations can last anywhere from 4 weeks to one year. Allow 1-2 weeks at the beginning of the project for introductions and at least one class session at the end for sharing the story and reflection on the project process.

Project Leader:

Country:
Subjects: Reading, Writing

# of Students: 21-30
Age Range: 8-10
Collaboration: Email Exchange, Skype / Video Chat
Languages: English

About my classroom: BF Yancey is a small, rural elementary school of approximately 150 students in grades pre-Kindergarten through Fifth, located in central Virginia, USA. We are interested in communicating with other students from as many countries as possible regarding your school lunch experience. Do students eat in a cafeteria or common space? What foods are eaten for lunch at school where you live? Is the lunchtime meal prepared by the school or do students bring their own food from home? Are the meals sourced from local farmers and providers? What are the components of your favorite school lunch? We are especially interested in collecting photos of school lunches from around the world! Currently, we prefer to correspond by email and Skype, and to write at least 2x per month. We look forward to meeting you and learning about the food culture of your area.