Speaking to Share

Speaking and listening support for students is essential – the skills support all of the other work kids need to do when they are reading and writing. But most people have a fear of public speaking, including teachers, so we can forget to scaffold the skills with smaller tasks.

A great way to use to give students practice speaking in class is to let them read aloud a short selection of their reading for class. If the expectation while they read is to mark the text, then marking something they loved – a turn of phrase, a descriptive detail, imagery, etc. – can easily be shared. As a teacher, you are then assessing reading while assessing speaking.

Once the passage is chosen, have students whisper read to themselves, or read with a partner. Practice reading out loud in different ways helps avoid embarrassing mispronunciations or other issues that would reinforce public speaking as a scary experience. Practicing also helps student read more fluently over time, demonstrating to them the need to practice in order to improve.

I often have students record themselves since I had a BYOD policy in effect. That way they can troubleshoot their own voice performance through an audio recording, or record with video in order to critique themselves or critique with a partner.

Finally, have students read their passage to the class! You can create a specific list so they know when their turn is or you can have them “popcorn” read so they can jump in. More than one student can have the same favorite passage and passages can be read in any order.

This activity is great because it’s informal but gives students exposure to reading and public speaking. There are lots of ways to extend it as well: FlipGrid readings, writing a rationale for the selection, found poems from the passage, pastiche, etc.

Annotate in Google Docs

Google’s Applied Digital Skills lessons for students are amazing. They just released one on annotating (note taking) with Google Docs that teaches students WHY and HOW to annotate. This is a great resource if you are working on creating a paperless classroom or if you just want students to develop their annotation skills in a variety of ways (because they can also annotate paper, annotate on sticky notes, take 2 column notes, etc.)

Check out the Applied Digital Skills lesson to see how you can apply the learning in your own classroom!

Annotation and close reading

pexels-photo-632470.jpegWhen I was a sophomore in high school I was assigned selections from Hamlet to read in my English class. I read it, understood it, and took notes in the margins as I was asked to do. But the following day I was told I didn’t have “enough” annotations and was assigned a detention (a Friday Evening Inconvenience – it was boarding school).

But what is “enough” when it comes to annotation? As a college student I think I finally learned to annotate so that my thinking – at the time I took the note – was clear to me when it came time to use the note.

I think that, as teachers, we need to help students connect to the text through annotation. This starts with how we select the text and how we select the assign the annotation. We have to give them clear guidelines and support. Annotation is a skill that needs to be developed

Chunk – How can you break up longer texts?

Purpose – What’s the learning objective? Make this explicit to the students so you can all begin with the end in mind

Quantify – How many comments do you expect per paragraph, per page?

Notations – What do you want to see in the margins? Symbols, questions, definitions, specific connections? Symbols or color coding should include a key each time.

Rereads – When you need them to reread for fluency or in a coaching group, give them a different purpose or lens for the next read

We can use technology or low tech tools to support students through universal design.

  • Color coded sticky notes with questions or comments written on them
  • Hypertext annotation to definitions, expansion of ideas, etc.
  • Kami – potential shared annotation
  • Google Docs – comments in the margins
  • A document camera will allow you to model the annotation, with out-loud metacognitive thinking about why and how you are annotating, for students. Some document cameras will allow you to record the whole thing for playback later.

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Tech tutoring available

I’ve noticed over the last few years that my colleagues have questions about technology integration that can’t be answered well in a few minutes at the copy machine. Or they take a class but it doesn’t really address their pressing needs for how to effectively use tech with students for improved engagement, workflow, grading, creation, etc.

I’m here to help! I created a short page that lists a lot of the basic needs educators seem to have, along with a contact form. Though this was designed to help people locally, I can also tutor over Skype or create short videos that can be watched at your convenience. Best of all, the tutoring session includes email follow-up and support.

This is a HUGE timesaver because you can personalized service so you can be more efficient with your time once you get started with your project.

Check it out! http://wp.me/P1PDYt-7X

No Teacher Desk

Okay, I had no idea this #noteacherdesk was a thing. The district is taking away my beloved desktop Mac (all teacher desktops, actually, not just mine) and gave me a MacBook Air instead. This left me feeling angry and resentful because a) my eyes like the bigger screen and b) it was not my idea.
So, since I am working hard to be a marigold instead of a walnut tree I decided to reframe my distress and rethink how I use my computer.

Well, my desk is always messy. I have piles of papers the really just need to be recycled or scanned/filed. But my desk is a holding place for that desktop computer. If I don’t have the desktop, do I need the desk? I have a tendency to use my desk as a private, messy little oasis where I can hide out. I get overwhelmed sometimes by crowds but that means I also get stuck at my desk when really I should be moving more.

I read “Ditching the Desk” on Edutopia and then asked The Nerdy Teacher, Nicholas Provenzano,  for an update on Twitter. He said he still loves it so I began planning for a quick spring break rearrange.

So, on Monday, I moved it. I can’t really get rid of it completely right now because it is heavy. And, there isn’t really anywhere else in the school to put it. It’s cleaned off and pushed up against a window. My desk calendar is still there, and the charging cords for various “teacher” only devices. There had been a table there with two older Macs but kids haven’t been using those much at all so they will be repurposed and the table was moved for student use.

My hope is it will be a good compliment to the alternative seating that is already prevalent in my classroom. Honestly, losing that barrier makes me a little anxious so maybe trying this in just the last quarter of the school year is a good thing. If I hate it I have enough time to troubleshoot and make better plans for next year.

 

 

Digital Interactive Notebooks

I feel ridiculously proud of myself right now because I figured out how to make an interactive notebook that students can keep in Google Drive and edit as they (and I) see fit. There are some outstanding ones on Teachers Pay Teachers so my new goal is to make great ones that are specific to AP Language and AP Seminar. Wish me luck. I’ll need it.

So, here is what I came up with. My friend Amy got some outstanding tips on multiple choice from the AP conference this summer and so we have been incorporating more consistent reflection after full-length multiple choice practice. The issue though is that my students lose their forms from the last go around of reflection so can’t comment insightfully enough to help them grow as I would expect.

I just adapted the form that we use with the school colors (black and gold) as the background and their junior class color (blue) as the editable areas.

DIGITAL notebook AP MC Profile

Digital Footprint

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This is an update to a post I created as an example for students a few years ago.

The intent of this assignment is to think about the sites we use on the internet and how we interact with them. Some sites are public and others are private, so the way we interact with each changes quite a bit. Some are more static in nature, some are for facilitating teaching and others are personal social networks.

My website

I maintain a website for parents and students, a method of communicating what we do in class, major assignments, and contact information. I use it in my district e-mail signature in hopes that people will use it to connect with information they’d normally use e-mail to find out.

Schoology

I still use Edmodo for professional connections, like the PBS Digital Innovator group, but have moved my classes over to Schoology. The professional connections are not as robust but the LMS organization suits me better.

Edmodo

The first year I used Edmodo was for professional development and connections. It has great communities for teachers to learn and assist other teachers. Lately I use it instead of Wikispaces or Moodle for creating flipped and blended classes for students.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been a great tool for helping me keep my resume current. It’s interesting to connect with people from high school, college, and Anchorage and see how our choices and careers have overlapped. I’d like to use it a bit more for professional development, but in the meantime it has brought me more opportunities.

Facebook

Facebook has primarily been a way of connecting with family and friends, all of whom live thousands of miles away. The platform is easy to use and I like being able to share photos of my kids with my grandfather and friends I’ve had since Kindergarten, all with a few clicks.

YouTube

I’m starting to see the need for YouTube as a teaching tool and my only “issue” with it is that the content that should be easily integrated into classrooms is still blocked. I’ve loved having all of the videos created in my classes in one central location to I can continue to watch and share them.

Twitter

I have had Twitter for years now but not used it well. After the PBS Summit this summer I decided I need to figure out ways to use it more efficiently to develop a better Professional Learning Community (PLC). Past Digi Comp students have credited me with getting “everyone” at South to use Twitter and, now that I see what “everyone” at South tweets, that scares me. I keep trying to follow hashtags that help create a professional learning network for me, but I still find it confusing.

Instagram

I only use Instagram in conjunction with Facebook. I like the super simple ways of editing photos that otherwise look too dull when shared. Hipstamatic is a more fun and dynamic app, but not nearly as easy to use.

Pinterest

Pinterest makes me feel like a 13 year-old girl with pictures of Rob Lowe and exotic locales taped to the walls of her room. I like having things visually organized so I can find them again quickly and I enjoy seeing the things my friends pin. Now that I’ve used it for years it isn’t nearly as big a time suck as it used to be.

 

I enjoyed thinking about how I interact with different sites on the internet. I chose to not provide links to Facebook and Instagram, because I consider those sites more private and personal, while I did link Twitter and Pinterest. I use Twitter for teaching information and Pinterest, though some of the interest is personal the content is not. When I google my own name quite a bit more comes up that I could have added to this list but these represent my main interactions.

ISTE standard V – Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical
behavior. Students:
a. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
b. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity
c. demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning
d. exhibit leadership for digital citizenship