Amy Rider, over at Literacy and Laughter
, asked me link up with a post about technology. She left it very open-ended, and gave everyone tons of ideas, so I decided instead of spotlighting one thing (because it was so hard to narrow it down) I decided to post about all the bits of technology I'm "currently into" right now, especially useful in my literacy block, and especially trying to integrate content and technology through reading, writing, speaking and listening, in light of the higher level demands of the Common Core standards.
So here goes:
Category #1: Technology & Character Education (Student Leadership)
This is a great website that you might recognize from street billboards, I see them all around Raleigh, which means the kids do too. Not only are they inspiration, but included in each one (and they have like 50+ and are adding more all the time...) the website has a 2.0 option for anyone (students) to create their own. Since we are have a Leader in Me theme at our school this year, the students are looking for student leader character traits in each other. In addition to the "real" billboard posters that are on the site, there is a one-page story that goes with each one. Students have the opportunity to do some explanatory/informative (W.2) and opinion writing (W.1) when writing this values "story" about one of their peers. Use of the website by students, uses APPLY, ANALYZE, EVALUATE and CREATE of Revised Bloom's Taxonomy because they must decide which trait in their peers they notice and see in someone else (apply), discriminate the student leadership traits they notice in their peers (analyze), justify how the peer is demonstrating the trait with evidence and example from the peer's actions, words or behaviors (evaluate) and formulate, design and create a poster (design/stage an appropriate matching image, create a short summarizing slogan, and write the accompanying Values story (create).
Category #2: Technology & Social Student Platforms
Edmodo is my newest favorite website to use with students. I wouldn't be using if our county had not purchased a country contract with Edmodo, but it is free for teachers and students. More students love it than teachers love it, perhaps for many of them, it's like Facebook, not something that they have. It's not only a social tool, although in a nice way, that social aspect from student to student is limited. We use it as a school for general announcements, sharing documents, etc. but with students, you can create GROUPS and invite students to the group. You can assign ASSIGNMENTS, and it keeps track for you who has turned them in and who has not, as well as a Newsfeed that is sort of a public group wall. We had to have a lesson yesterday on "Appropriate Commenting & Posting" and I don't mean inappropriate language, I mean, talking with them about the purpose of our group..."to exchange ideas about reading and think critically about books together"...and how writing comments like "Hey Jazzzzz, Jazzzz, Jazzzy, Jazimine.....wuzzzzzz uppppp?" is not an approriate comments to leave on our group's wall....sort of a which types of comments are appropriate and relevant to the entire group and are they related to reading, novels, literature circles, authors, characters, etc. Oh, and the best part, the very motivating part of Edmodo is you can create your own BADGES and award them to students in Edmodo. After you award one to a student, it then appears on their profile for everyone to see. Edmodo has about 10 badges that you can use, but you can also make your own. I created a badge for each of the 7 Habits, as well as a Wordsmith badge and a Conversation Extender Badge for students that not only answer questions on our page, but ask questions of others to "keep the conversation going." Also, when you make badges or other teachers make badges, you can share them with each other and add them to your badge arsenal to award to students. I created the badge page above, printed it out for students to glue into their reading notebook.
Category #3: Technology & Professional Learning Networks
Yes, I consider Pinterest a PLN. Through the image networking on Pinterest, I get so many ideas for how to use technology in the classroom. This board happens to be my Digital.Technology.App board that currently has over 10,000 followers and 500+ pins. Ideas always at your fingertips.
Category #4: Technology & Literacy
YouTube can be a slippery slope with students, but when used educationally and with a purpose, it can be a very powerful to use with students. Using YouTube with students is one of the best forms of motivation...YouTube is their "economy"...it's language they speak and a platform they are very familar with...so again, in my theme of "using old tools in new ways"...use short YouTube clips with familar faces to have students identify, not the Author's Message from a book, but the Producer's Message from a video. Asking students to determine the Author's Message is a higher order skill that is expected of all students in the Common Core when reading literature text, why not ask them to demonstrate the same skill by removing the reading requirement out of the equation? By doing this, we reach so many more kids, like ELL's and SWD's, when we get straight to the heart of the skill?
Category #5 Technology & Tools
So, here's my trick to making all the cute doodle borders that I've been making and selling on Teachers Pay Teachers...a mouse pen! I love it, it allows me to control the lines so much better than a mouse. There are different brands but they all pretty much do the same job. If you don't have and you want to make your own cute page borders, I highly recommend a mouse pen.
I really do have so many more fun apps, tools and technology tidbits, I'd like to share, but it's time to wrap it up. Ok, here's one more...www.awesomehighlighter.com I'll let you explore that one on your own.
Happy Reading! Jen Jones