HB_3.jpgThis award winning writing project was a collaborative project regarding the book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg. This book is a series of pages with a title and one line from different books. Children ages 9 -12 collaboratively wrote a story that goes along with each page of the book, creating their own versions.

There were 14 classes from around the world involved in this project. Each class was paired up with another. Classes communicated through Google docs, email, and Skype. Students were paired up with one or two students from their partner class. Together, they created original stories. They also learned how to communicate effectively with students who were not sitting right next to them. Collaboration was a key skill learned during this project.

This project won 2nd place in the ISTE Sigtel Online Learning Award in 2008. The creators were presented with this award at NECC08.


Here you will find links to each story from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. We have kept the dialogue among students in the document for you to view. You will also find, on this wiki page, a VoiceThread about the book. Please use the VoiceThread to leave your comments about the various stories. Perhaps you would like to compare the versions. Perhaps you have your own ideas. Feel free to let us know what you think. Please keep in mind the age group involved in this project when you leave comments.


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Source: Van Allsburg, Chris, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston: Massachusetts (1984)

Our Groups

Group 1: Lisa Parisi/Christine Southard, Long Island, New York and Brian Crosby, Sparks, Nevada
Group 2: Martha Thornburgh, Mt. Vernon, Washington and Shannon Smith, Tuscola, Illinois
Group 3: Colleen Sanchez, Northbrook, Illinois and Geri Evans, Hoover, Alabama
Group 4: Meg Griffin, Doylestown, Pennsylvania and Nancy Brachbill, Mattoon, Illinois
Group 5: Jane Lowe, Perth, Australia and Katie Choudhary, Romeoville, Illinois
Group 6: Shelly Zavon/Andrea Hernandez, Jacksonville, Florida and Lora Balsamo, Long Island, New York
Group 7: Cheryl Lykowski, Bedford, Michigan and Cathy Jo Nelson/Tangia Rivera, Conway, South Carolina



Our Stories


Archie Smith, Boy Wonder

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

Under the Rug

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

A Strange Day in July

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

Missing in Venice

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

Another Place, Another Time

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

Uninvited Guests

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

The Harp

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

Mr. Linden's Library

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

The Seven Chairs

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

The Third Floor Bedroom

Group 1,Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

Just Desert

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

Captain Tory

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

Oscar and Alphonse

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7

The House on Maple Street

Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7



Our VoiceThread for Comments

This VoiceThread is now open for comments. All comments will be moderated. Therefore, they will not show until the moderator has approved them. To find out more about VoiceThread and how to use it, click here.