Technical Writing / Siddhartha

Bob Stelle
12th grade
Kuna School District

Content Area Objectives Addressed:

Students will practice writing for a variety of technical audiences.

 Students will work in groups and individually as they practice technical writing.

 Students will brainstorm a topic for their technical manual.

Students will review copyright laws.

 Students will assess and evaluate a piece of software.

 Students will answer questions and discuss Siddhartha and complete a Vision Quest writing activity that deals with the novel.

Technology Objectives Addressed:

Students will open and view a PowerPoint Presentation.

 Students will send an email.

 Students will access information on the internet.

 Students will load and work with software.

 Students will create a PowerPoint presentation.

Activity Description

What was the process that your students went through to complete this lesson?
I placed the students into four groups.  Each group rotated through 4 centers over two 90 minute class periods.

Center 1--Students watched the chase scene clip from the movie Bullitt and then practiced their technical writing skills by writing a police report.  Students then discussed the similarities and differences found in their reports.
 Center 2--Students completed journal #5 that helped them in the brainstorming process of selecting a topic for their technical manual.  They then viewed a PowerPoint presentation about copyright and visited a web site about copyright.  They then emailed me five rules that should be followed with copyright.
 Center 3--The students took a quiz over Part One of the novel Siddhartha.  They were allowed to take the quiz individually or as a group.  They then wrote for 20 minutes (homework) about their personal vision quest.
 Center 4--The students were given a piece of software to evaluate and report on.  Each member of the group was to  “play” the same piece of software.  The group then created a presentation in PowerPoint.  The groups were given two additional times in this center during the following week.

How did you monitor student progress?
Each center had an assignment that was turned in.  Most assignments were due the same day.

Center 1--Assess police reports
Center 2--Assess journal #5 and email
Center 3--Assess quiz and vision quest writing
Center 4--Assess group presentation

I also moved constantly between the centers to answer questions and keep the groups on task and helped fix technology problems as they arose.

Was there a template or an example that students were expected to follow?
I gave students a packet with clear directions for each center.

How much time did you dedicate to this project?
Daily (approximate)  2 class periods
A total of 180 minutes for the four centers above

How was the final product presented?
The final projects were presented to me and to one other group of students when they finished them.

Who was the audience for the final product?
For the final project for center 4, their audience was the technology decision-makers of a large school district.  The students took on the roll of software consultants in this center.  Other students and I listened to their presentations.

Learning Issues

What prior knowledge was required on the part of the students in order for them to be successful in this project? (include curriculum and technology knowledge.

Working as a member of a group
Knowing how to email
Knowing how to open and create a PowerPoint Presentation
Knowing how to load and play an edugame from a cd rom
Knowing and practicing how to write clearly and concisely.

Resource Management

What was the student to computer ratio?
6 computers to 20-25 students

How did you schedule your students’ computer time?
Computers were part of the centers, so everyone received equal computer time during class.  Computers were available for use on a first come, first served basis both before and after school.

What was the location of the computers and other technology equipment used by students?
Five computers were located on a counter on one side of the room.
A laptop was located in the middle front of the room.

How would you suggest beginning teachers obtain computer resources for their students? (Knowing some of your strategies would be valuable for our pre-service teachers.)

Take classes.

Use whatever you have available in your room/school and learn from your mistakes.

Be creative.

Students have taught me a great deal.  I am the first to admit that I know very little about computers and the students love it when they can show me something new.

If you can show you will use technology in your teaching, it may take awhile, but you will eventually get technology because you have proven you will use it.

Rate the level of access for students to use computers/other technologies as they needed  --high, medium, low
Medium to high if the student could come in before or after school

Rate the level of supervision required for students during the project, specifically for computer and other technology use –high, medium, low
High….I always have to monitor what students are doing; especially when computers and other technology is involved.


What hardware was required for your project?

5 computers
1 laptop

What software was required for your project?

MS PowerPoint
Pegasus Mail
MS Word
5 copies of Coolien Challenge: Youth Violence Prevention 2.0 CD Rom
Packets for each center that I made
Siddhartha Novels
TV and VCR


What kind of assessment did you use for this project? (Include a copy if you can.)
Self evaluation, Peer Evaluation, and Teacher Evaluation           

What categories did you assess? (I.e.:  content, screen design, depth/breadth, etc.)

Clear and Concise writing
Persuasive with reasons to support opinion
Screen Design


How does the product that you submitted compare with other students’ products for this same project?
No project was submitted

What did you like best about this project?
I liked how engaged all the students seemed to be in the centers.  It was a lot of work on my part to teach using centers, but at this time of year I really felt I had my seniors engaged in learning for the entire time they were in my class.

What did the students like best about this project?
They seemed to like the variety of activities the best.  They were able to be active learners the entire time.

Rank the level of student involvement in this project –high, medium, low
High.  Especially considering it is April and I am teaching seniors who claim to have senioritis.

Rank the level of student interest in this project –high, medium, low
Medium to High just because of all of the centers and because they had to take responsibility for their own learning.

Would you teach this lesson again?