To begin an online collaboration project, I will assign a literature circles group of 5. Together, the group will read, discuss, and complete different jobs for the novel, The Great Gatsby.
The groups will be assigned specific readings for specific days and will read the book over the course of two weeks.
Literature Circles session 1: Chapters 1-2
Literature Circles session 2: Chapters 3-4
Literature Circles session 3: Chapters 5-6
Literature Circles session 4: Chapters 7-8
Literature Circles session 5: Chapter 9
On the first day that the Literature Circles groups are assigned, one person from each group will create a "fake" Twitter account for one of the following characters: Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan, and Jordan Baker. As the literature circles groups read the novel, they will have to tweet about what happened in the novel as well as interact with characters that they interacted with within the novel. For example, if Jay Gatsby had Daisy Buchanan over, Jay might tweet, “What a wonderful evening with Daisy,” while Daisy might tweet, “So nice to reconnect with a long lost friend.” They may even, hold a conversation over twitter. However, any conversation that is had NEEDS to make sense with what is going on in the book at that given time AND must use similar language to the actual character in the book. For example, if Jay Gatsby is tweeting at Nick Carraway, he might call Nick an "old sport," just as he did in the novel. All of the characters from one group will be following one another so that they can keep up to date with their group.
Within chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby sends gardeners over to Nick Carraway's house next door to trim the grass, plant flowers and trees, and to add fountains to his front lawn. He does this in preparation to surprise Daisy Buchanan, Nick's cousin, who he had prior relations with but lost contact with.
Discussion Director: Create questions that have answers that cannot be found in the book. These questions should be able to have multiple answers based off of different interpretations of the text. These questions should be intended to make your group think on a deeper level. Personal thoughts while reading might lead to some of these questions.
Connector: Find real life applications that connect the book to the outside world. Connect the novel to your personal life, recent news stories, or even events happening in your community or around the world.
Correspondent: Write a letter from one character to another character that can expose information that is not explicitly stated in the book - use your gut feelings.
Word Finder: Create a list of motifs, foreshadowing, or important / different words or phrases that might be essential to uncovering meaning within the novel.
Illustrator: Create a picture using elements from the novel to depict an interpretation of a scene. You may use a computer, or draw it out by hand.
Overall, combining both fun online activities as a project as well as meeting and discussing materials within a literature circles format will be able to support a variety of learning styles as well as spark interests with students because typically they are already on twitter, so they know how to use it. In addition, tweeting is easy - BUT it will also allow the teacher to monitor progress. Tweets show time marks - therefore showing if a student rushed through the readings and did it all last minute. In addition, all members in the literature circles groups need to be active in discussions as well as getting their readings done by the assigned date to keep within the loop of the tweets. Overall, I believe that twitter can be a useful tool for both the students and the teacher in collaborating.