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Upgrading Blogs Through Lens of SAMR

Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
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The step from using a static website or emails as a mean to share announcements or calendar items to sharing the same type of items on a blogging platform is not far nor a steep step. My ultimate goal for using a classroom blog or student blogfolios though, is that of creating transformative teaching and learning opportunities, not to have a platform that substitutes a composition book or paper journal. To make the difference visible and clearer, I am looking through the lens of the SAMR model.

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First, a Classroom Blog seen through the lens of SAMRblogging_through-SAMR_lens1_111913_105226_AM blogging_through-SAMR_lens2_111913_105258_AM

What about Student Blogs?

Substitution– technology acts as a direct substitute for the task

  • A student uses the blog as a tool to substitute a handwritten/typed and printed assignment. The student copies and pastes a Google Doc or other file from a word processing program into a blog post. The comments on the blog are closed or not being utilized. Students might upload a scanned image of an analog test score, worksheet or other analog artifact. Students might answer a prompt or question posed by teacher to the entire class. There is no added value to the learning process versus the analog task.

Augmentation– technology acts as a direct tool substitution with functional improvement

  • Students use their blog as a platform to publish assignments (research papers, essays, responses) for their teacher to see. The blog is a place to push out information, possibly for Student Led Conferences or a showcase/process portfolio. They insert or embed images, videos, presentations or audio to support their written text. They possibly insert hyperlinks to additional resources. Students tag and categorize their posts with searchable labels. The blog platform becomes a digital organization of students’ online learning records, which is centralized, archived and searchable. Teachers use the comment section to give feedback to their students about their performance. Classmates read each other’s papers and leave comments.

Modification– technology allows for significant task redesign

  • Students use hyperlinked writing as part of digital writing process to show and connect their thinking to topics, influences, relationships and process between previously published content and external resources. Students communicate beyond the written word, in multimedia and transmedia ways. It is evident in their work that they are writing with a global audience in mind and their work encourages conversation, invites multiple perspectives to add and influence their work. Students receive constructive feedback from peers as part of the writing process. Comments inform students’ writing and original task of “paper” extends and “spills over” into the comment section, altering form of writing piece as well notion of “completion” of paper.Students are demonstrating writing skills for digital spaces, by observing digital citizenship, hyperlinked, networked, peer- connected and non- linear writing.

Redefinition– technology allows for the creation of new tasks previously inconceivable

  • The student blog becomes an embedded part of the process and a natural extension of communication and learning cycle by documenting evidence of learning, reflecting, sharing and receiving feedback in order to consider revision. Teachers and students actively and strategically disseminate and connect the blogs to a learning network for feedback and resources. The blog archives artifacts, reflections and connects learning over time. The blog becomes a natural extension beyond assigned academic work and is being used as a hub to document students’ learning, demonstrating self-directed and self-motivated lifelong learning habits as they are organizing, building and maintaining their own online learning records, a growing academic digital footprint and develop their personal brand as well as personal learning networks.

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Building Content Knowledge: Collaborate and Curate

cross posted to Langwitches Blog by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Mark Engstrom. 8th grade Geography teacher and Assistant Principal at Graded- The American School of São Paulo, has redesigned his entire course.

Students move through the modules of this blended learning course on Geography at their own pace.  They build out content knowledge using a Personalized Map (through google maps) and the content delivered through this Digital Learning Farm method will be curated so that they can build out multiple pins on their map.  This content is then used as content knowledge to increase their understanding of the region.
He wanted to experiment with a different type of note taking to add to students’ documentation of gaining subject specific content knowledge. 

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The class was divided into 3 groups. Each group contained one  person responsible to contribute by :

  • taking  notes on one google doc- each has a column
  • adding raw data (statistics, facts, charts, graphs, etc.)
  • adding images that visualized what was being talked about
  • writing on the backchannel
  • asking questions
  • linking to the course’s Essential Questions

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Take look at the following video summarizing the class.

It is incredibly insightful to be going through and analyzing the backchannel chat after the class is over. It gives you a better understanding of:

  • what students heard
  • what students felt was important to capture
  • the discussion that evolved in the backchannel alone
  • the connections students made and shared

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It was now back into each individual student’s court to CURATE their own notes. Students had access to all  documents from each group as well as the backchannel. It was up to them to go trough the information and take the pieces that they deemed important to add to their content knowledge.

Digital curation

 is the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital assets.Digital curation establishes, maintains and adds value to repositories of digital data for present and future use.This is often accomplished by archivists, librarians, scientists, historians, and scholars. Enterprises are starting to utilize digital curation to improve the quality of information and data within their operational and strategic processes

Curating information has become a critical skills as part of information literacy. The ability of finding, evaluating, analyzing, remixing,  organizing and archiving information is more important than ever in the information overload era. The amount of information we are confronted with and that is being thrown at us is exponentially growing with no sign of stopping nor slowing down. We need to find ways to support students in becoming  curators of information.

One of the students, Ben, observed the following as he was going through the notes from the Backchannel group:

I found these very interesting because Florens and Tibet really try to link what is happening in India to our life in São Paulo which for me is a smarter way to learn things; by comparing them with your everyday life.

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Notice, Think, and Wonder: A “Close Reading” Upgrade

In the Fall of 2007, a close friend, Nancy Cook, and I wrote a piece for the New York State Middle School Association’s Journal, In Transition. The article, titled “Notice, Think, and Wonder: New Pathways to Engage Critical Thinking” asked the reader to consider using a discussion rubric that Nancy developed to increase the rigor of questions and answers around text. The link is to the entire journal, but the article and embedded rubric starts on page 15.

I still share the Notice, Think, and Wonder rubric that’s in the article while engaging in professional development with teachers. It’s become particularly useful in this age of Common Core standards and increased rigor in instructional activities, particularly around the close reading of text.

I’ve been teaching different versions of “Close Reading” to teachers, evolving over time as I strengthen my relationship with Common Core Reading for Literacy/Informational Text Standard 1: “Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and make inferences from it.” What started out as teaching teachers to write text dependent questions evolved into setting strong purposes for reading, understanding text complexity, relating the close reading to personal experiences and world events, and now, coming full circle back to Notice, Think, and Wonder.

The impetus for this blog post began with another blog post around Close Reading, written by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts, authors of the popular blog, indent. You can read their blog post, The Five Corners of the Text, by clicking this sentence. In the post, they stress the importance of engagement and inviting students’ experiences into the way they think critically about the words they read. What they wrote invited a warmth back into this instructional strategy that was missing from my initial interpretation of the standard.

As I read their blog post and reflected on my current and previous work, it dawned on me that a merger of ideas and an additional instructional strategy around close reading was in order. Hence, I’m revisiting “Notice, Think, and Wonder.” The original Notice, Think, and Wonder strategy asked students to collect details around what they notice in text; what jumped off the page at them. It asks students to think about those details and make connections. Finally, it asks them to wonder about the “what if’s,” the “what next’s,” or the potential additional meaning-making that comes from deep engagement with text.

To use Notice, Think, and Wonder in a way that reflects the close reading of text, one simply needs to tweak the intentions of these areas of interaction. In this upgrade, students should be invited to do the following:

Notice:

  • What are some of the big ideas in the text that’s being read?

  • What are some of the main points that an author wants the reader to know as a result of reading this?

  • What’s the major message or point of reading what we are reading?

Think:

  • Where in the text did we see support for what we noticed?

  • What in our experiences, as related to what we read, make us think of connections to the big ideas?

  • How do parts of the texts explicitly lead us to the major message?

Wonder:

  • What might the evidence we found in the text, as related to what we noticed, mean?

  • What potential conclusions can we draw from the evidence related to what we noticed?

  • Is there evidence in the text or in our connections to the text to support anything we might potentially wonder?

I like believing that students would be engaged by deep conversation about text–particularly texts that they are interested in reading, not just texts that the teacher thinks they should read. I’m reminded of high school, when my teachers were adept at drawing me into a text by both relating to my personal experiences while guiding me through metacognitions that created mental velcro for me. Everything stuck, from the prologue to The Canterbury Tales to my empathy for Benji, a central character in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. I want students to live inside texts the way that I was allowed to. I want them to have rich literary experiences that feed their souls for the rest of their lives but also teach them to be evaluative thinkers and questioners of the status quo.

I want students to read voluminously and develop a love of reading that goes beyond the cold and analytical “close reading” and explores what I guess I would call “Close Reading Plus.” Evidence plus experience equals Deep Learning, versus just evidence alone. If we look at the standard and the key words: “close reading,” “what the text says explicitly,” and “make inferences,” then we are doing all those things with this upgrade of Notice, Think, and Wonder. We are also inviting a deeper analysis, a raise in the rigor beyond the standard, which represents the zone to which we should aspire with our modern learners.

Contemporary Perspectives on Literacy, coming this Fall.

Mike on Twitter: @fisher1000

Addendum (10/3/13)

I thought about this a little more and decided to add some additional information to this blog post in terms of extending Notice, Think, and Wonder to writing about evidence and connections.

For one thing, the “Wonder” could include a question about claims, such as, “What claims can you make about what you read? or “What do you wonder about any bold statements that the author made in the text?”

The answers to those questions would be an excellent jumping off point for writing about claims and evidence, engaging both the Reading standards around Key Ideas and Details as well as the Instructional Shifts around Writing from Sources and Text-Dependent questions.

Learning from a Book

Cross posted to Langwitches Blog

Learning from a book

Curriculum 21 by Heidi Hayes Jacobs

You must have noticed that I have been reading and re-reading “Curriculum 21” by Heidi Hayes Jacobs. I have posted my first impressions and recommendation here and since then have joined and written about the companion Ning to the book here. I created a Flickr Curriculum 21 group to have a hub for images and videos of Curriculum21 teaching and learning examples.

I was inspired by quotes from the book to write the following blog posts Geography is a Separate Subject. Really? and “It Isn’t the Answer Anymore, It is the Question”.

Curriculum 21 is a book that is just FULL of information, ideas, thoughts, research, recommendations and exactly about the change in education, life, skills, literacies, and global competencies I am contemplating and working for.

Unfortunately, the book is not available as a Kindle Edition, which means, I am relying on sticky notes and highlighters as a way to make the rows and rows of text more appealing to my visual eye as well as a way to find passages and quotes more quickly later on.

Learning from a book

Stickies and Highlights

I am conducting an experiment about my own learning style. How can I read this book and best:

  • filter out the information that I want to keep?
  • make connections to my previous thoughts, ideas and blog posts?
  • remember quotes from different chapters?
  • make the text content more visual for my brain?

I am eager to find out:

  • Will I be able to learn about the content of the book differently/better/easier/?
  • Will I be able to “see” connections that with the text alone I did not?
  • Will the process of looking for and selecting the right image that will represent the quote make me think “deeper” about what the quote us trying to say?
  • Will the sum of the quotes I selected from the book tell a story in itself?

I wonder how my personal experiment will turn out… but in the meantime, please take the time to share:

  • How do you learn best from a book?
  • Highlighting, taking notes, talking/discussing it with someone ?
  • Do my visuals help you visualize what Curriculum21 is about?
  • Do the slides do nothing for you?
  • Do the visuals give you a different point of view, than when you were reading the text alone?
  • Are you interested in reading Curriculum 21 (if you have not done so) because of the visual “Preview”?
  • What opportunities do you give your students to learn from a a book?