Periods of Reflection

Just random musings from an elementary perspective. Views are my own.

Evernote for Digital Portfolios – Game on

So, after reading Matt Renwick’s Book about Digital Portfolios, I’ve decided to dive right in and give it a whirl.  So, here it goes.  I will be reflecting and providing honest feedback periodically throughout the year to share my successes and failures.  I have decided to use Evernote as the place to house all student work.  Ready, set, go!

I am a new fifth grade teacher this year and my responsibilities are to teach Humanities.  ELA and Social Studies fall under that umbrella.  I also teach at an IB school.  For more information, click here

First Steps:
I created a note for each student.  My colleague and I each have designated homerooms, but we teach each child in fifth grade. We have a total of 40 kids.  Therefore, I created two notebooks labeled as Jimmy’s Homeroom and my co-workers homeroom and put students in accordingly.  

Originally, I had all the students under a “Digital Portfolio” notebook, but quickly realized after uploading photos of student work to each note, it become laborious to scroll and find, so I divided them up into classes under the stack “Digital Portfolios.”  Learning experience number one! Work smarter, not harder.

Evernote

 

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Today’s lesson focused on students listening to “The Invisible Boy.”  They were then asked to answer two comprehension questions in their Reader’s Notebooks.  As students completed the assignment, I corrected their work, took a photo, and uploaded it to their note.  I am sure as the year goes on and we get deeper into the workshop model, I will have to complete this task at home.  Below is a sample response. 

The names are not listed to protect the innocent. :)

The names are not listed to protect the innocent. :)

So, there you have it.  Step number one.  Any questions. (((HANDS RAISED)))

What is the purpose of using digital portfolios?

I’ve decided to utilize digital portfolios this year because I would like to do a better job of keeping parents informed about their child’s progress, as well as having an organized system for goal setting with students.  After all, we need to work as a team, right? This can easily be done by sharing the link with parents to flatten the classroom walls and enhance engagement.  Keep in mind, when you share a link, the link becomes public, so DO NOT put anything confidential in a note.  

I am still deciding how often I will be able to upload their work, so that’s an unanswered question.  I am sure I will have many, many more as this progresses.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Sure, there work will be already completed in their Reader’s Notebooks, and the notebook can be send home.  However, what if it gets lost?  I am sure this experiment will have it’s ups and downs, but I am willing to take that risk.  If you like what you’ve read, feel free to follow me on Twitter @mrsapia_teach

I’d also love to hear your feedback and how you’re using digital portfolios!

 

New Teacher Orientation Links

Aloha New Educators,

Congrats on the first day of your new career. As I mentioned during my presentation today, here are some helpful links as you begin your new journey as an educator.  I hope you will find them helpful. 

Haiku Deck Presentation
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Here are a couple of links to books that I HIGHLY recommended you read.

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
Passionate Learners: Giving the Classroom Back to Students by Pernille Ripp
Falling in Love with Close Reading Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts
Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
Mindset by Carol Dweck
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Highly Recommended Apps:

Remind – Connecting with Parents

Google DriveEvernote – Workflow apps to keep your notes, thoughts, and to do lists organized.  All Cloud based. 

Twitter

Notability – Can annotate PDFs and SO much more.   

Educreations – Free Interactive Whiteboard app. Great app for content creations across all subject areas. ***

Explain Everything – $2.99 Interactive Whiteboard app. Great app for content creations across all subject areas. ***

Haiku Deck – Elegant and beautiful minimlistic presentation software ***

Skype – Video Conferencing ***

Google Hangouts – Video conferencing  ***

Raz Kids – Online guided reading program with interactive ebooks, downloadable books, and reading quizzes.

Kidblog – Kidblog is designed for K-12 teachers who want to provide each student with an individual blog. Students publish posts and participate in academic discussions and connect with others around the world! ***

Edmodo
 – Edmodo provides a safe and easy way for your class to connect and collaborate, share and create content, and access homework, grades and school notices. ***

Tellagami – Tellagami is a mobile app that lets you create and share a quick animated video called a Gami. ***

i-nigma – Easily scan QR codes ***

*** – denotes app can be used in any subject area! Remember, always focus on the process of learning and the outcome, then the tool!!!

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Twitter
List of Twitter Chats by day and time

Twitter in Educations:
http://www.edudemic.com/twitter-in-education/

Guide to tweets, hashtags, and all things Twitter:
http://www.theedublogger.com/2012/02/13/the-updated-twitteraholics-guide-to-tweets-hashtags-and-all-things-twitter/

Twitter for Teachers:
http://dailygenius.com/guide-to-twitter-for-teachers/

Guide to Twitter:
http://www.edudemic.com/guides/guide-to-twitter/

40 Educational Tweets Everyone Should Know About:
http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/12/40-educational-tweeters-every-teacher.html

More Educators to Follow on Twitter:
http://www.teachthought.com/social-media/10-educators-on-twitter-you-should-follow/

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Digital Citizenship:

Cybraryman’s Digital Citizenship Page

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Student and Parent Surveys, courtesy of Pernille Ripp:

Beginning of Year Student Questionnaire 

Beginning of Year Parent Questionnaire

 

 

 

More STUDENT VOICE at EdCamps

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Yesterday was my third Ed Camp experience. It never ceases to amaze me when you walk into the “Living Room” of the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, CT and see a complete immersion of educators looking to enhance their craft and being  learners first. Every attending educator is clearly intrinsically motivated to learn because they are attending on their own accord.

For those of you unfamiliar with the EdCamp model, please click this link.

Great discussions happen in sessions. There is no arguing that. But the true magic, at least for me, comes in the form of side conversations while you’re walking down the hallway, outside on the grass talking about how to implement a new school wide idea and provide follow through, or piggy backing off someones idea in a session.

This is what happened for me yesterday. I decided to attend a session about making the curriculum engaging and meaningful. Unfortunately, the “facilitator” of that session accidentally double booked. In the true spirit of improvisation, a discussion formed and took on a life of its own. There was a young 17 year old girl in attendance. She was a product of public school, but decided that this setting was not meeting her individual needs as a learner. She is now home schooled, with plans on attending a speciality school in New Haven, CT.  The name of the school has currently escaped me.

I asked if here past teachers ever took the time to get to know her learning style.  She replied, “No!” I went deeper and asked her what she looks for out a teacher.  Her response was quite simple.  She wanted teachers to get to know HER, take the time to talk and ask questions, and listen to her voice to create an autonomous learning environment where she can demonstrate learning of the objective how she sees fit. She felt her creative spirit was not engaged because of her “drill and kill” experiences in public school.  While I acknowledge the fact we have many uninspiring directives students must complete, we must harness the power of student voice in many other situations.   This is what education should be about.  Creating a classroom environment where student voice is valued and heard.  We can make learning messy by utilizing a project based learning model that holds students to very high expectations, while ensuring the standards are meet.  Think about it.  If we systematically put this model in place, we can hit many more standards than a traditional environment.  Her voice reaffirmed my beliefs of what’s possible in a classroom.

It was also a light bulb moment because  I realized Ed camps are missing an important component. This is an area where they can be improved.  Let’s get young scholars involved in the process.  By inviting them to these events, virtually or physically, we can hear their voices and use their feedback to bring back to our classrooms.  After all, they are our most important stakeholders.  How can they not be involved?  It’s a refreshing reminder that we as educators must take the time to not only listen to students, but use their feedback to make constant improvements to make learning meaningful and memorable.  My challenge is this.  Next time you plan an Ed camp, invite students to facilitate and/or participate in a session.  I promise, you will leave with inspiration and new-found knowledge.

Finally, I’d highly recommend reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and Passionate Learners: Giving the Classroom Back to our Students, by Pernille Ripp.  Both of these books provide a very strong foundation for creating an exciting learning environment for our students, while ensuring their voices are heard!

Using Remind101 in the Classroom

Looking for more ways to engage parents and students? Try taking Remind101 for a spin.  This is a tool that I have been incorporating into my classroom for quite sometime, and the feedback from parents has been fantastic.

Why?

Let’s be honest.  Increased communication with parents is vital to ensure the most successful year possible.  Frankly, it’s a non negotiable for parents to be aware of current activities and beyond happening in their child’s classroom.  Study after study indicate the importance of working collaboratively increases student achievement.

How?

It’s super simple to sign up.  Simply visit the Remind101 homepage and fill in the appropriate fields in the right column.

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After signing up, you will asked to create a class name.  Type the name in the blank field and click add.

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You will then be presented with a unique phone number and class code.  You can then have parents and/or students text the number and code.  By doing this, they will be automatically subscribed and will receive text updates.  There is also an option to receive email updates if they chose.

Once parents and/or students sign up, you can send out a message to everyone, or select a specific individual or group.  I teach elementary school, so I only have one class. But if you teach middle or high school, you also have the option to create multiple classes on the left column.

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There is also an option to schedule messages for a later time, as well as sending an attachment with your message.  Keep in mind you are limited to 140 characters, so brevity in the name of the game.  There iOS app is designed beautifully for ease of use.

Additionally, you have the option to embed a widget into your classroom website.  This is done by clicking your name in top right hand corner of the page and “My Widgets.”  This will generate code to copy and paste into the HTML of your website of blog.  Click my classroom website for an example.

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The possibilities for types of messages you can send to parents is limitless.  Let’s increase parent engagement and make them aware of all the wonderful things happening in our classrooms! So, what ways are you using Remind101 to engage parents?

Springdale School Read Aloud

Inspired by the Global Read Aloud, Springdale Elementary School has decided to host its first annual Springdale School Read Aloud.  Grade 3-5 are going to participate, due to time constraints of the primary grades.  Our specialists and ESL teachers were also given a copy of the book to read to incorporate discussion and activities into their respective classrooms,too.

The book we are reading is “The Tale of Despereaux,” by Kate DiCamillo.  Anyone who has read the story can attest to how beautifully written it is.  Our timeline for reading is below:

Timeline:
March 17-28:    Chapters 1-15        Pages 11-81
March 31- April 11:    Chapters 16 -33     Pages 82-171
April 21- May 9:   Chapter 34-Coda   Pages 175-270

The administrative team and I drew up this plan to continue to build on the positive momentum of  creating a community of readers.  It’s imperative to teach our students skills and strategies to become better readers.  It is equally important for teachers to read aloud for the sake of pure enjoyment. The playing field is leveled and it gives classrooms an opportunity to connect, share ideas, and discuss the book.

Students will be meeting with different classes, on a bi-weekly basis, to show creative ways to demonstrate their understanding of the text.  This will be done every other Friday for an hour.  The possibilities for collaboration are endless and the conversations already happening are so powerful.  Students have been talking about making book trailors using Animoto, Haiku Decks, Google Presentation, Kidblog, and good old fashion poster board.  Their voices will be heard in this process and creativity is encouraged.

Students will be promoting the book over the PA during morning announcements as well.  Students will be discussing vocabulary, sharing thoughts about plot lines, and overall impressions of the book.  There has also been discussion about having a centralized bulletin board for students to use during the read aloud.

Sample activities and questions can be found below using my social bookmarking link on Diigo.

Tale of Despereaux Diigo Links

I plan on updating my blog frequently about the successes of this read aloud and what we can improve on for next year.  As always, feedback and comments are always welcome.  I’d love to hear from teachers and/or administrators about how you implemented a building wide read aloud.

QR Code Scavenger Hunt

Amazing.  Unbelievable.  Engaging.  Collaborative.  Energetic.  FUN.

These words quickly come to mind when reflecting about my scholar’s first experience with a QR code scavenger hunt.  The level of teamwork, engagement, and enthusiasm circulating my learning laboratory during this lesson was outrageous.   As you can probably tell, I will be doing this again.

How To:

Below I will explain how I conducted this scavenger hunt.  There are multiple ways to complete it, so feel free to do what’s best for your style.  The first step was to create a free WordPress page to house all the clues.  The web address I chose was mrsapiaqrcodes.wordpress.com.  I chose a DOT WordPress because I am very familiar with the platform because I use it for my classroom website, as well as my personal reflective blog, and because it’s free.  However, there are many other free and easy to use platforms on the web to choose from.

Next, I created a new post for each of my clues.  After publishing the post and copying the link, I then navigated over to QR Stuff to paste my link and download the actual code.  I repeated this process 10 times for a total of 10 clues.  All in all, this process took about 20 minutes, so it wasn’t too laborious.

I then printed the QR codes and hid them around the classroom for students to find.  For the first few clues, I had 5 QR codes printed out to avoid a traffic jam.  As the clue numbers got higher, I had 3 QR codes for each clue.  Students were encouraged to scan the code and move aside to solve with their partners.  On each QR code, I labeled the number of the clue.  Students were expected to go in numeral order.  Additionally, students had to have the correct answer prior to moving to the next clue.

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Students were placed heterogeneous groups of 3, with two groups with 4 in each.  This was done because I only had access to 6 iPads at the time.  Yes, iPads or any other mobile device with a QR code app is very necessary, obviously.  I used i-nigma.

Academic Area Focus:

I chose to focus on math for my academic area, although you can align it in any subject area.  I have recently administered our mid-year math exam and I created questions based on the student’s needs.  I know we live in a “data-driven” world these days, but it’s very important to ensure that you’re using data to drive your focus and implement technology purposefully for a lesson like this.

Here is a link to the questions I created.

Next Steps:

Put on some music and play it loud.  I played “Eye of the Tiger” to get the kids pumped, and released them into the laboratory.  The next musical choices were Kid Bop songs on Spotify.  It was pretty awesome to see them grooving and dancing, while solving the math problems!

I walked around the classroom and monitored their progress and gave them clues, but did not provide the answers.  That was their responsibility as a learner and as a team.  It was also really fantastic to see students spontaneously using our Idea Paint walls to solve problems.  Slowly groups started to finish.  Most teams were finished in about 30 minutes.  (Side note, be sure to have an activity planned for the fast finishers.)

Prior to the scavenger hunt beginning, we had a discussion regarding expectations of behavior and being a good sport.  This type of appreciation in constantly instilled in my classroom, so for the most part, students did rise to the occasion and were both responsible and respectful.

Reflection:

Thinking about what I can improve on for the next time, I would do the following:

  • Have an answer key printed out so I don’t hold up any groups from moving on
  • Hide the QR code clues a little better
  • Expand the hunt beyond my four classroom walls, without disturbing other classes

I also had a meeting to debrief with my scholars about the lesson to hear about what they thought went well, and what could be improved.  They had the same suggestions as the ones above.  Be sure to involve students and listen to their voices, because the feedback and suggestions they provide can be extremely valuable to the overall learning experience.

I will elated about how this process went.  Check out the photos below and the Instagram video.  As always, if you have any questions or feedback, I’d greatly appreciate it.  If you’ve made it this far, feel free to follow me on Twitter @mrsapia_teach

QR Code Scavenger Hunt Photos

Instagram Video

How I Use Idea Paint in my Learning Labratory

I first heard about Idea Paint from a couple of teachers in my professional learning network.  Idea paint can transform many surfaces into a dry erase surface.  Simple premise, with an enormous amount of potential to revolutionize how students can work collaboratively in a classroom.

I moved forward with my vision and created a Donor’s Choose project.  Before I knew it, I was fully funded by the generous donations from parents in my classroom, as well as other parents of students who attend my school via a post on our PTO Facebook page.  In addition to the Donor’s Choose donation, another parent from my building caught wind of this project and donated an addtional can of Idea Paint! Score!!

How Will I Use Idea Paint?

As I stated above, I am looking to augment how scholars work collaboratively in my classroom.  Looking around my classroom, I realized that there was so much valuable space in my room that was under utilized.  This is our time to think outside the box of what a traditional classroom can look like.  Check out the photos below for before and after examples of my classroom.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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Throughout my years of teaching, I’ve learned an unbelievable amount of information about how to run a classroom.  The list can go on and on.  One of the most important lessons I’ve learned was to talk less and allow scholars to work collaboratively in a purposeful, concise manner.  The impact of such a collaborative classroom has impacted my scholars because I have more time to work with groups and individuals to meet their specific needs, leading to greater academic success.

My scholars are changing by using this model because, as I stated above, scholars learn by doing, not just by listening. I have started to use this model with math, because I use a centers based approach, so scholars can learn and help each other because of the increased collaboration and flexibility of the model. Scholars collaborate with different types of learners, which will benefit them as they proceed through their educational career and into the workforce.

I am also using Idea Paint during Reader’s Workshop and small group instruction.  After modeling a specific skill that day, scholars are asked to demonstrate that skill during the work period.  If the lesson calls for group work, Idea Paint is the way to go.  I can easily monitor scholar’s progress, while working in small groups, because of the size of the surface.  I can provide easy redirection to get scholars back on track, if needed.  I can then snap a photo and upload it into their digital portfolios using Evernote for future reference, when I remember.

Here are a couple “Vine” videos Demonstrating the use of Idea Paint.

Solving Multi-Step Word Problems

Identifying Author’s Point of View

While this is only my second week of full implementation, my scholars and I feel really enthusiastic about its potential.  My hope is that with the second can, I will be able to paint many desks in my classroom, with administrative permission of course!

As a proponent of student voice, I have heard and listened to my scholar’s feedback about how to best use Idea Paint.  I look forward to continuing to look for creative ways to use Idea Paint in my classroom.  If you have any feedback or suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

If you’d made it this far, feel free to follow me on Twitter @mrsapia_teach

Get Out of our Student’s Way – A Post about Reading

Something magical happened the other day in my classroom.  No, I’m not talking about some crazy David Blaine card trick or levitation exercise, although that’d be pretty cool.  I got out of my student’s way.  How you might ask?  

Based on an end of marking period survey that I gave to the students, the overwhelming majority of them said they would like more time to read their “just-right” books around the classroom.  In my classroom, students have complete control over which books they would like to read.  They spread out and made themselves comfortable around our classroom in our book nooks such as the couch, under desks, shag rugs, pillows, and carpets.  The choice is always up to them.

Magical moment number 1!

Anyway, it was Friday afternoon and I decided to give students some quiet reading time.  I closed my lesson plans and curriculum binder and let them “get lost” in their books.  Now, I am not sitting here saying that I ignore our curriculum and/or pacing guides.  I believe in the many lessons that are created, but sometimes, we just need to abandon ship, listen to our student’s voices, and let them take control.  This not only builds a trusting relationship, but it lets students know that they are a valued part of the classroom community.  The rapport that is built by a practice like this is invaluable. 

In addition to students getting lost in their books, I curled up with my book as well.  I am currently reading “Teach like a Pirate,” by Dave Burgees.  I think it’s critical component to building a reading community that students see their teachers reading as well.   So, I initially gave students 25-30 minutes to read.  At the end of that time, I called students to the carpet and EVERY student in my classroom said they were so into their books and wanted to continue reading.  Well, go for it!! I glanced around the classroom periodically to ensure all students were reading and I can say with confidence, 100% of my students were engrossed in their books.  

Magical Moment Number 2!

They read for another 20 minutes or so.  When I did call students back to the carpet, many stopped along the way to talk to their friends. My initial reaction in my mind was great, it’s Friday afternoon and they’ll be talking about their new video games and what their doing over the weekend.  As I was about to remind them again to come to the carpet, IT happened.  

I began to hear chatter about what they read.  And not surface level chatter.  Students were so enthusiastic about sharing what they read with their classmates. They were talking about character development, plot line, new information gained from non-fiction texts, and new vocabulary words.  I also had many students getting their readers notebook to write down recommendations they received.  As this was occurring, I was just standing on the side of the room, watching and listening.  This went on for 10 minutes.  And what a blissful 10 minutes it was.  

After students finished up, they asked me what I was doing.  I told them, “I’m getting out of your way,” and explained what that meant.  They said thank you for allowing them to be flexible and talk about what they’re reading.  

I’m not sure this post will do any justice to how amazing this moment was, but I’ll leave you with this thought.  As educators we get caught up in meeting deadlines, pacing guides, curriculum requirements, and the thousand other responsibilities were have.  Sometimes we need to take a deep breath, listen to our students and what they want, and get out of their way.  Reading for the sake of reading is a practice that it so incredibly important, but often overlooked.  Get to know your students as readers, find interesting books for them, and show them you care by listening to their feedback, and magical moments can and will happen.  Try it, you won’t regret it.

If you’ve made it this far and like what you’ve read, follow me on Twitter @mrsapia_teach 

Using Quick Key in the Classroom

Part of my daily routine at this point is to scroll through my PLN feed on Twitter.  As I’ve talked about numerous times in past blog posts, the information shared is invaluable.  A tool I just heard about is Quick Key. This app is the dream child of Walter Duncan, @4_teachers on Twitter.

Check out this video for a brief explanation of it’s features.


How Do I Use it in the Classroom? 

After assigning students a purposeful homework task, such as DRP (Degrees of Reading Power) to help with vocabulary building and using context clues, I also print out a “Quick Ticket” for students to mark their answers on.”  Quick tickets are available on their website after creating an account.  Upon entering the classroom the next day, students give me their “Quick ticket” and I use the free QuickKeyApp  to scan their work.  What’s so powerful about this tool is that it easily corrects the student’s answers, and generates valuable data.   You can also use the app to break down the data by student and by question.  Having this real-time data to utilize and drive instruction in a purposeful, concise manner is so important to helping kids where they can improve.

Here is a sample of some student’s results using the app:

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As you can tell by the above data, I now know that my class had a very difficult time with questions 4, 5, 6, and 8.  This will prompt me to go back and review those questions in a small group or whole group.

Here is a sample of the multiple ways you can export data:

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Going Semi-Paperless:

If you use a LMS such as Edmodo or Schoology, you can go even deeper with going paperless by sending the multiple choice assignment electronically, then just have your students fill out the “quick ticket.”  Another great idea shared on Twitter was laminating your “quick ticket” so students can reuse.

Give it a Try!

You can also use this tool in the classroom for a quick formative assessment check-in as well.  Keep in mind that this app only works with multiple choice.  It’s super simple to sign-up, register your students, and create a quiz.  As of now, the app is still free.  As always, feedback and/or comments are always welcomed.

2013 Global Read Aloud Reflection

It happened again.  My scholars and I have just completed another successful Global Read Aloud experience.  This was my second year participating in this project, and I’m already looking forward to 2014.  Thanks to Pernille Ripp for inspiring so many folks around the world to participate and create a culture of readers.  The true magic of this project truly comes from the incredible collaboration among teachers around the world. The sharing of ideas and thoughts gives me hope for the future of what’s possible in the education.

I also want to send an enormous thanks for Sharon Draper for writing such a fantastic story that opened up a world of conversation in my classroom.  Tears were shed, smiles were seen, laughter was heard, and anger was evident.  Do yourself a favor and read this book if you have not done so already.

How Did We Connect?

This year, my scholars mainly used Kidblog and Skype to collaborate with the classes we connected to.  We connected with classes in California, Pennsylvania, Winnipeg, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Iowa.  Using the power of Twitter and Edmodo, I was able to connect with fantastic teachers, one of  whom created a schedule for blog commenting.  The true power of Kidblog is about the commenting.  Each week, my students would make the pilgrimage to the computer lab to post their ideas, thoughts, and predictions.  Within 8-10 hours, the stream of comments would begin and global connections ensued.  Not only did my students have the flexibility to write their thoughts and ensure their voices and comments were heard, but they were able to augment their questioning skills and commenting skills in a way that was purposeful and focused. I had students, on their own accord, going home to blog about the book without any direction from me.  How cool is that?

Can We Read Mr. Sapia?

In addition to the above activities my students participated in, the magic really happened because students were excited about reading.  This is every teachers dream.  We promote literacy, share book recommendations, conference with students, listen to their voice in choosing the next read aloud book, and hope this transfers to a true love of books.  I view the Global Read Aloud as a true jumping point in instilling a passion for literacy in my classroom.  For example, the project started the same time that our school was hosting our book fair.  No lie, when my students were released to go and buy books and fill out their wish lists, 12 students ran directly to where “Out of My Mind” was on the shelf, and purchased them all.  It was such a great scene, because in addition to their excitement, the wonderful parents who volunteer could not believe what they just saw.  Students were passionately talking about the book, how excited they were to read it, and making predictions.

This did not come in the form of homework or direction by me.  That what makes this so powerful.  If we can be creative enough, we CAN reach all readers.  This “leveling of the playing field” was evident during our discussions.  As I’m sure is the case with many of you, I have students who vary in their reading ability. I watched students grow so much during this time.  There was increased participation during think-alouds, increased collaboration with all students, and thoughtful responses to questions that were posed.  I have readers who couldn’t wait to “Read with Someone” during their choice time at Reader’s Workshop.  This activity built their fluency, as well as comprehension because of their inner motivation to understand the story.  The best part is, I completely relinquished all control to students during this time and watched students remain immersed and focused on the book. Sometimes we have to just get out of our own way, but that’s a whole different blog post.

Not only did my students have exposure to an amazing book, but global collaborations were made and students were able to see outside the four walls of my classroom to build a global mindset.  Students were able to put names to faces during our Skype sessions with students they have connected with using Kidblog.  Prior to each Skype sessions, students worked in teams to generate questions to ask the other classes.  Once again, I got completely out of their way and they delivered! They felt empowered by this and loved being able to ask their questions.

So, what more is there to say.  Thanks to everyone for everything.  This project would not be what it was without all the amazing minds of passionate educators from around the world sharing a love for literacy.  We have an incredible connected community out “in the wild.” Let’s continue to harness this power and embraced the possibilities of what we can do in education.

Animoto Video:
Here is a brief Animoto video of some photos I took during the Global Read Aloud 2013.  Check out the photos of my students making their communication boards, like Melody’s in the story, and attempting to communicate using them.  Talk about a powerful activity!

2013 Global Read Aloud Montage Video

Photos:

Connecting Globally Using Kidblog

Skyping with Mrs. Fox’s Class in California

Google Hangout with Sharon Draper

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