Have you heard of a Glog? I recently used Glogster in my classroom to allow students to display a short, descriptive paragraph before we embarked on a long narrative.
I wanted my students to be able to describe a place to create a setting, usually essential for a great narrative. I do not teach Pre-AP or AP English, so for regular 9th grade English students, a model sentence is usually the best way to start.
The sentence below, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is absolutely the best model sentence that I have found to use in describing the location of a place.
On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about halfway between Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose-colored hotel.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
I like this sentence because it starts with three prepositional phrases, and most 9th graders can write prepositional phrases even if they do not usually incorporate prepositional phrases into their writing. I also like that this sentence starts with a general idea of the location and moves toward a more specific location, so I instruct my students to do the same. After the prepositional phrases, this sentence has a verb. Hopefully, all 9th grade students can supply a verb. Then the sentence uses adjectives that describe the subject, which allows me to teach comma rules related to adjectives. The last word in the sentence is the subject. Most of my students do not write sentences in which the last word is the subject. It is usually the first word in most of their sentences. This model sentence forces my students to explore how to end a sentence with the subject. I usually have great success with students who are trying to duplicate F. Scott Fitzgerald's sentence. See some examples below:
- At the top of the wooden stairs and down the hall to the right, the loud sound of music filling the air, waits a large, cologne-filled room with clothes and junk all over the floor.
- Through the wide turns around beautiful trees, about seventy-five miles from Little Rock, stands the two-story house, aging.
- In the dim light of the afternoon sun, just through the back door, is my old, warm kitchen.
There are a few minor differences but basically the same structure. Next, I discuss the difference between showing and telling sentences. I always share Mark Twain's famous quote:
"Don't tell me the lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream!"
After my students are satisfied with their descriptive paragraph, we record their voices reading the paragraph. I am fortunate enough to have a class set of ipods with voice recorder capablities, but if you aren't, you can always use Audacity, which is a free open source software used for recordings. This assignment made me realize how important it is for students to hear themselves reading out loud. Even though my students read their own writing, they still had to read it several times to develop fluency.
Next, we uploaded everything to Glogster. Students selected images that best represented their paragraph. I discussed Fair Use and Creative Commons Licensing. We practiced using Google's Advanced Search by clicking on Google Search > Images > Advanced Search and under usage rights, we changed the default to labeled for reuse.
I am very pleased with the Glogster results. Click on the links below to see some of my favorites (be sure to click on the player to hear the student read his or her paragraph):
1st Student Example Glog
2nd Student Example Glog
3rd Studnet Example Glog
4th Student Example Glog
5th Student Example Glog
I try to model every assignment I provide for my students, so see the Glog I created below: