Novel Projects with Linda McDonald

At NECC 2008, I interviewed Linda McDonald from Katy ISD, TX about her latest videoconference project format, the Novel Project. You can see the resources for this program online here

If the YouTube video below is blocked for you, try this link to the same video on TeacherTube.

About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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4 Responses to Novel Projects with Linda McDonald

  1. Maria Frazier says:

    Very interesting. Has this been tried with children in lower grades?

  2. Joe Virant says:

    I had several teachers on my campuses participate in this project with Linda–she used 4th and 5th grade because that is really the beginning of where we have teachers who are doing in-depth novel studies.

    I could see us adapting it to third grade, or maybe it could be changed to deal with a read-aloud book for first or second grade, although that kind of changes the spirit of the students making high-level connections with what they themselves are reading.

  3. Janine Lim says:

    Joe – thanks for clarifying that question and adding more detail! 🙂

  4. Linda McDonald says:

    Maria,
    Great idea! Our novel projects came out of collaboration with our district curriculum specialists who works with 4th-8th grade students. I have worked closely with 1st – 3rd grade classes as well, but have not tried this format.

    I think it depends….

    I think our sessions would have been even better (and more aligned with best practice recommendations) if we based the novel sessions on a theme (survival, WWII era, friendship issues, etc.) – with several book choices. Of courses, this only works if all partner classes are offered book choices. From my experiences, not all teachers are comfortable with that classroom format.

    3rd grade seems to be the year when students transition from “everybody books” to novels. However, often novels used at this level don’t lend themselves to deep levels of analyzing literature and making connections to world events, so it may take a bit more creativity to get to the meat of the text.

    I think the basic structure might work for 1st/2nd grades but the themes would be much more primary – farm animals, an author study, families, seasonal books.

    The basic structure for the kick off sessions is:
    1. video to activate schema
    2. create a word wall
    3. information about the author (don’t know how I’m going to change this if we do themes instead of one particular text)
    4. poetry connection
    5. Questions & Predictions
    6. non fiction connection

    The basic structure for the finale session is:
    1. story map (try to find an unusual format)
    2. discussion of theme
    3. favorite event/character
    4. letter to the author (I got responses from 2 out of 3)

    I plan to add this template to CAP space once we get back to school.

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