A case study on the relationship between oral language and digital writing in an 8th grade classroom
Johnson, Melissa Leigh
MetadataShow full item record
This yearlong study in an 8 th grade classroom explores a blogging literacy event that illustrates how reading, digital writing and oracy work together to better support student learning, reasoning and dialogue. While many studies separately confirm the role of talk and writing in promoting learning, few studies address how writing informs talk practices, and no known studies examine how purposeful, individual blogging about literature promotes productive classroom dialogue. Students within this eighth grade classroom are expected to write and participate in a blog with their classmates about literature they select and read independently. Students then discuss the literature and their blogs in small group conversations with their classroom teacher, leading to rich, meaningful discussions. Focal data consists of student blogs, video recorded small group conversations, audio recorded student and teacher interviews, written student reflections, observation field notes and photographs of student artifacts. This study explicates the potential of writing acting as a springboard to further student reasoning through conversation. It documents the flexibility of teacher talk to take student contributions and align them in meaningful ways with educational language and purposes. Even within the confines of regimented curriculum agendas, the study illustrates how teachers can play a variety of roles in which they employ a repertoire of skills and strategies, making decisions in the moment to build on what students bring to the classroom and engender a classroom environment of risk-taking, meaning-making and learning.