Slice of Life 2021 Day 18: Crowdsourcing

Today marks Day 18 of the Slice of Life challenge. Join me as I work to write every day in March – and beyond!

Oh, WORDS. You are SNEAKY little devils.

You plant yourselves in one place in my life, then hop over into another before I have time to notice there’s a pattern going on.

But I see you now. I see the way you’ve inched into my writing practice, my teaching practice. You can’t fool me.

Maybe I’ll explain myself.

My students have been crafting theme-driven stories over the past weeks, and most of them are in various stages of revision. I noticed that many of my students still don’t have titles, and some of them don’t even have names for their characters.

I thought that it would be good for them to have a session together where they could gather ideas and support.


I started by asking if kids knew the word itself.* No one did. So we talked about an example of crowdsourcing: when zoos have contests to name baby animals. Basically, it’s using the power of the crowd to source good ideas.

I then prompted students to think about, and enter in the chat, things that they wanted to “crowdsource” from classmates. We divided up into breakout rooms. Our procedure:
-Groups would decide order for turn-taking.
-Each author gets 7 minutes for their turn.
-During that time, they crowdsource ideas for whatever they need.
-I broadcast a “switch” message after each 7 minutes.
-Groups that finish early can move on to the next writer or circle back to someone who needs more time.

After that, kids had time to go back into their work and incorporate changes. They had a great time with this! **

That’s when it hit me. I’ve been relying on the very same strategy – crowdsourcing – as well! Just this week, in my “strategies to try” post, I put out a call to my own writing community, asking for links and ideas for cool post formats. I hadn’t even realized that I was doing exactly what I was asking my kiddos to do.

Sure do love me some serendipity.


*One of my favorite quick assessments when I introduce a new term. I say and write the new word or phrase, then I ask for kids to give me a 1-2-3 finger response (or a number in the Zoom chat):
1: Wait — that’s a WORD?
2: Ooh – I feel like I’ve heard of that word, or I’ve heard people use it.
3: Out of my way – let me tell people what this means!


**Don’t tell my kids this is just a spin on offering feedback.They’re digging the new lingo!

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

14 thoughts on “Slice of Life 2021 Day 18: Crowdsourcing

  1. Introducing new lingo to your students and you call words “sneaky”. This is great. We all need help at times and who better to get advice from than those doing the same thing we are. I can see why your students enjoyed this and am sure they got more ideas than they thought possible.

    1. They did enjoy the experience, that’s for sure. I’m most excited by the fact that they see themselves as writers!

  2. I love me some serendipity, too, Lainie! Have you told the kids about this yet? The intro to this piece was too fun and quite true. Words DO sneak from one place to the next. They’re always up to something, stitching ideas together on the backdrop of our lives…that rating scale is also too fun. And I say the most important thing of all about feedback is giving it WHATEVER you call it – therein lies all the reaching and the growth!

    1. Funny you should mention. Yes! I did tell my students about this today. They weren’t as stoked about it as I was, but I can’t win ’em all! As long as they found the exercise (and each other) helpful, that’s all that counts!

  3. *One of my favorite quick assessments when I introduce a new term. I say and write the new word or phrase, then I ask for kids to give me a 1-2-3 finger response (or a number in the Zoom chat) I do something similar. On their whiteboards I have them write what they think the word means. A prediction. It gives me a better idea of what their line of thinking is.

    1. I love that idea. It would be really interesting to see their line of thinking with regard to word attack skills, especially since I usually introduce the new term without much context. I’ll give your idea a go!

  4. What a lot of fun, I’m sure your kids really enjoyed doing this and learnt lots. My kids are really little and non-English speakers but it’s given me some ideas to get them to assess each other’s work, thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: