Laura Gibbs

#TotalCoLearner: Week 2

Blog Post created by Laura Gibbs on Aug 30, 2018

So here we are already in Week 2, and I don't want the week to get away from me without writing a new post about my #TotalCoLearner experiment this semester. I completed my first week's posts early (Myth-Folklore Course Diary: Week 1 ) for much the same reason as my early-bird students: I knew that the first week of school was going to be bonkers, especially since I was traveling that weekend. So, I was glad not to have to think about doing any schoolwork last week... and then when Week 2 arrived, I was ready to get into the reading-and-storytelling routine for the class.


And it was so much fun! I did the reading (plus the extra credit reading because, yes, I am a reading nerd)... and then this morning I wrote my first story of the semester, just as the students were also writing their first stories. You can see their (our!!!) stories in the class blog streams: 

Course Wiki / Myth Stories 

Course Wiki / India Stories


You have to scroll on down there in Myth-Folklore to find my story; it's this one:

Week 2 Story: Metamorphoses of a Flower


screenshot of flower story post


I was really happy with how it turned out... just having written this story makes the whole experiment worthwhile: I will be including this story in my Chain Tale project (that was my big summer project), and now I am confident that even though I am super-busy during the school year, the Chain Tale project will not go dormant. I will have new stories to add to it all semester long!


Even better: if my students are writing chain-tale stories, I can invite them to contribute to the project also! Admittedly, the students are not obsessed with chain tales as I am, but as it happens, there is a chain tale in the Anthology of Myth-Folklore stories this week, and quite a few students will probably choose it for their story retelling because, honestly, it is an awesome story. In fact, here are the student stories so far that are inspired by the same story that I started from:

Week 2 Story: The Student and the Advisor 

Week 2 Story: Moon Man, Shine Bright 

Week 2 Story: The Wise Salesman 

Week 2 Story: The Man with Three Wishes


And that's just as of Thursday afternoon. Most of the story-writing will happen tonight, so I am sure there will be more stories to add to that list. My story is just one among the other variants, no different from the stories the other students are writing as they reshape the traditional story into something new.


So I could go on and on and on about how much I love watching the first stories take shape each semester (including my own, ha ha)... but I have other work to do, so I will just quickly list my three main takeaways from this week, just like I did for my Week 1 takeaways post here at the Community:


1. Joy of creativity. I don't know if all my students will experience the joy of creativity that I do, but I have been feeling happy all day because I wrote a good story. And I am looking forward to more days of joy throughout the semester!


2. A writing model. I hope that my story can be a good way of modeling for the students without being intimidating. Yes, I am a fairly skilled writer, but there are going to be students in the class who are even better writers than I am (THANK YOU, Professional Writing majors: I learn new writing strategies from my PW majors every semester!). Plus, all writers, more skilled or less skilled, all struggle, and I am glad I have a way to share that with the students too. The author's notes to the stories are the place where I can share that insight into my writing (and my writing struggle) with the students. At first, many of the students are really not sure how to use the author's note, so that's another good thing I can model for them too as they get used to the idea of reflecting on their writing and sharing those reflections with their readers.


3. Being part of the commenting. I am so excited at being able to participate in the story commenting! Usually all my efforts are focused on the students' projects, and that means for the students doing Storybooks, I don't get a chance to read and enjoy the stories in their blogs. But now I will be getting a chance to read those stories, in addition to reading the stories in their Storybook projects. That commenting will start next week, and I am really looking forward to it. And I will be receiving comments too, which is cool. I've done class assignments in the past before just for fun, but I've never had a class blog that I put into the blog randomizer with everybody else like this. I think that is going to be so cool! :-)