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Reading activity: "Round Robin Writing"


Objective/ product

Through a process of cooperative writing, students produce a set of collectively authored texts on a single theme.

This activity is not strictly speaking a communicative task, but it does have students read each other's writings and build creatively on them.

Followup: writings are shared and corrections made through peer editing. Alternatively, a single writing may be selected for the class to edit collectively.

Materials needed

  • The visual presenter is needed to display writings in the ITV version of this activity.

Procedures for traditional classroom

A theme or situation is proposed by the instructor as the basis for a written composition -- a letter, a story, a description. Each student begins writing, but writes only a limited amount -- one sentence, or a few, as directed by the instructor. Each student's paper is then passed to one's neighbor, who reads what has been written and composes a sentence that will fit it as a next sentence. The passing, reading, and writing continue until the writing is (more or less) done. In a variation, students may be asked to re-copy the text that is passed to them each time onto a fresh sheet of paper, making corrections if necessary, and only then add their new sentence.

As a followup, writings may read aloud to the class. They may also be peer-edited in pairs or (if they can be copied onto the board or onto a transparency) by the entire class.

Adaptations for ITV

During the writing stage, if there are two or more students at any given site, no adaptation for ITV is required at that site; students can keep passing papers back and forth. If there is any site with a single student, adaptation is necessary, and can be carried out as follows. The instructor can bring the single student into the circle of the larger class by serving as the student's secretary. If headphones are available, the instructor will wear them, and sound will be turned down at all sites except the site where the single student is. Using the visual presenter, the teacher will take dictation from the single student, and the resulting sentence(s) will join in the circular passing of papers at the origination site.

The visual presenter can be used in a follow-up stage for whole-class reading aloud and/or peer editing.


Sample Clip

In the clip below, a student at a receive site uses the visual presenter at her site to display the end result of a "round robin" writing that she was the last person to work on. She has copied the entire text over again. In the clip the teacher gives her feedback on orthography.

Teacher feedback on "round robin" writing. The student reads aloud, and the instructor calls on the technicians to split the screen and display the visual presenter at the origination site so that the instructor can correct the student's orthography.


1999 Stephen Fleming, NFLRC, University of Hawai‘i.All rights reserved.