Sunday, October 3, 2010

Online After School

I really like putting together our After School Tutorial Program. It seems to fulfill some basic organizing instinct of mine! Plus it is a chance to see the students socialize and work in a way that is different from their everyday school situation, with more personalized guidance and materials. We apply for funding from OFIP, and thus can offer a late bus and a healthy snack as well.
In talking about this year's program with our principal, he suggested devising an online project. I felt I was not ready to go 100% online, but asked about maybe starting with a month in person,and then trying to extend for a month online. So appearing below is what our proposal looks like. At least I have till January to figure out from all of my helpful Twitter friends how to work Google Docs, Diigo and maybe Ning. Seriously, I am also looking forward to teaching other interested teachers and EAs at our school how to use these applications. After I figure them out! Always nice to have a deadline...
In the past, we have gone twice a week for eight weeks, after school, with 80 to 100 students participating, out of a total school population of 225-250. When we put the first application together we planned for 30, hoping we might get 15. We ended up with about 100 and had to re-design the whole thing (literally overnight). Students got to choose two sessions from: reading, writing, math and study skills. Plus everyone rotated to the gym for one session and had a snack.
This year's program will limit numbers, but I am hoping to make both the students and us teachers a little more accountable for improvement due to the chance for more personal interaction. I am really excited about this opportunity and hope we get funding.

2010-2011 Tutorial Program, OFIP Grant

Three workshops will be offered.

1. Writing Basics
- a remedial writing workshop
Three activities in each session: a) one online grammar or comprehension activity, b) one flash-writing or opinion assignment to be discussed with the tutor, c) help with class assignments that the student will bring to the tutorial.

2. Storyville – for advanced writers
Guidance in developing various personal creative writing projects. Each class will feature a 1- to 2-page assignment focusing on aspects of writing fiction, eg. character, conflict, description, dialogue. Students will also be allowed to submit 2 pages of their personal writing per week to the tutor for feedback and critique.

3. Power Reading with Diigo – remedial reading using Diigo
Diigo is an online application that allows sticky notes to be applied to texts, and also shared. Students will practice making meaning via reading and questioning. Appropriate texts will be scanned from the school’s leveled book room.

The project will also help build LoL teacher capacity in terms of using blogs, Google Docs and Diigo, all great teaching tools. It will offer excellent leadership and academic opportunities for the high school students.

Everything will run off a blog, with links for students, and locations for them to post their work and for tutors to comment, etc. I will set it up under my existing Edublogs account.


The students will attend the program after school twice a week for four weeks. Then they will participate online for another four weeks. Maybe in January-March.
Writing Basics and Storyville will continue online using Google Docs.
Power Reading will continue online using a combination of Google Docs and Diigo.

There will be limited enrolment. Three locations at school will be used, the lab with about 30, the library with 4-10, and Room 7 with 3-10. The portable lab will be used. Students will be grouped in locations according to registration numbers, which will sort of equal the number of computers in the lab, the library, the portable lab and Room 7. Maybe about 50 students max.

Staff and budget

Ideally, the ratio will be about 1:5, so 10 tutors, plus me.

Everyone will attend a paid one-hour staff training session prior to starting to work in the program. Tutors will be budgeted at 3 hours a week, in-person, and 2 hours a week online.


Students and parents have to commit to the online part of the program. It may be necessary to provide technical support to some families.

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