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Using Digital Texts as Mentors to Improve Student Writing (And Our Own!)

Session 3
Maggie Beattie Roberts — The Reading & Writing Project, Teachers College

In this workshop, we will explore the use of digital mentor texts as teaching tools when students write. We’ll study texts that swirl across the digital landscape—TV, film, music, commercials, web content—and use them as teaching tools, finding ways to improve our students’ and our own writing.

This writing workshop-style conversation is designed to cover all styles of writing—narrative, informational and argument. We will view different types of media and then develop a list of writing strategies that accompany each digital text. For instance, how, exactly, does the soundtrack to Jaws build tension for an audience? Then, as writers, we’ll find ways to accomplish some of the same techniques in our writing. For example, what tools can fiction writers use to develop tension?

We will study examples of student work that attempt some of this digital mentor text work. Above all, we, as a spontaneous writing group, will try some of these writing strategies in our own writing, too. So bring along your writing notebook or a digital space to write in and try working with digital texts with a supportive community! We will create opportunities to share our writing with each other, as well as brainstorm additional ways to incorporate digital mentor texts into our classrooms.

Conversational Practice

This workshop is designed to mirror a writing workshop. This conversation will take the shape of a writing workshop, where participants have opportunities to write together and share their writing and process.

Conversation Links

Presenter Profiles

Maggie Roberts
Maggie Roberts
Teachers College, Columbia University


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