Monthly Archives: January 2017

Digital Text Sources and Tools

Many teachers express that they are overwhelmed by all the options available for finding and interacting with digital texts. At our recent Technology to Foster Reading and Writing study sessions,  Andrew and I facilitated investigations into some of the options that we feel have the most value to educators and students. Here is some of what we uncovered:

First, we really like Diigo, especially when used as a Google Chrome extension. When added, users can highlight and make notes on any webpage or PDF, and it’s all stored in a user’s library in a way that can be shared. It also has an outliner tool and a groups function, both of which can be used for many purposes. Tip: make sure you access the education upgrade to get more features.

We also looked at a number of platforms and sources for texts. See below for some basic details about the ones we chose.

    • Newsela / Newsela Elementary
      • Allows choice of non-fiction articles with option for different Lexile level for each article
      • Access articles by link without logins or set up a class
      • Helpful cross-text features like Issues and Text Sets
      • Users can annotate text but teacher can’t see annotations w/o paid model
      • Assessment questions available (more complex and varied than Teen/Tween Tribune)
      • They try to lure you into their paid model – comparison of free vs paid
    • Teen/Tween Tribune
      • Allows choice of non-fiction articles with option for different Lexile level for each article
      • Access articles by link without logins or set up a class (You can see student results w/ login)
      • Assessment questions included with login (mostly simple recall questions)
      • Provides a commenting option that allows students from everywhere to post comments on articles and reply to each other.
      • Student can access articles, take quizzes, and post comments without teacher assigning
      • Some great options for finding and exploring texts
        1. Bookflix (Read and listen to texts)
        2. NoveList (find books by interest, lexile, and more) No full text.
        3. eBook Collection / eBook k-8 Collection
        4. Gale PowerPack (magazines & more)
    • ReadWorks
      • Large library of articles searchable by lexile, skill, and other filters w/ audio option for some K-5 content
      • Questions, strategies, and much more available
      • Requires downloading or printing texts and sharing w/ students
      • Digital ReadWorks
        1. Requires logins for teacher and students
        2. Students can annotate texts, which are visible by teacher
        3. Allows teacher to assign and track quiz results
        4. Students can’t alter Lexile level but teacher can assign articles to specific students to differentiate
        5. Questions are fairly low level but provide feedback for students
        6. No way for students to select articles on their own

Yes, that’s a long list, and there is more to explore no doubt. Hopefully this helped you determine what might be best for you. If you have other ideas to share, please add them in the comments.

Using Data to Improve Literacy 3B – January 2017

In January we moved into the Progress Monitoring portion of using data.

In this session we reviewed the 8 basic steps of progress monitoring, the makeup of progress monitoring teams, how you are documenting the conversation occuring at meetings, and how you are monitoring your progress monitoring plans that you have created.  Getting to this level of conversation in analyzing your data sets you up for efficient work in your interventions.

Overview PowerPoint for the Session: Link

Next session we will move into the next step of the outcomes driven model reviewing the outcomes.  This will get us looking at a summary of effectiveness report.  In otherwords is our curriculum continuing to be effective with kids as the year goes on.

See you in March!

Essential Early Literacy Practices 1A – January 2017

Ringing in the New Year with new knowledge around read alouds.  In January Kim VanAntwerp walked through the key components highlighted in Essential Practice #2 focused around Read Alouds.  Kim provided many activities, ideas, research and videos that continue to encourage us to further explore/learn about read alouds and how to get them to be an essential component to our literacy practice.

There were also some additional resources shared that would of value for you to explore around read alouds.

Overview Powerpoint for the Session: Link
Jennifer’s Powerpoint on Essential Practice #4: Link
Grab and Go for Essential Practice #4: Link

Katie Momber will lead us through Essential Practice #7 when we get together in March.

The Motivated Brain

On January 5th, the group revisited the Primary SEEKING processes and then built their knowledge, into the Secondary and Tertiary SEEKING levels. Connections were made with the opening event learning around the Levels of Competence and to the Norms of Collaboration, specifically “Paying attention to self and others”. Active Processing activities were also studied.

The big takeaway: “Processing has to be done in a variety of ways, and multiple times to deepen learning because we have to activate the SEEKER so that he will WANT to SEEK further and WANT to SEEK further.


Next time we will be doing Chapter 4!



Thursday – Developing Literate Mathematicians

Happy New Year!

As we continue to dialogue Developing Literate Mathematicians (and other relevant topics), it will be nice for us to reflect on an upcoming lesson that you plan to teach and plan around how we might make it fit the workshop mindset/structure.

If possible, bring a lesson that you plan to teach in the near future from your district resource so that we can plan creatively with Developing Literate Mathematicians in mind.