Tuesday, July 21, 2015

{Digital Reading: Part 3} #cyberPD

This summer a really BIG! group of educators are reading and learning together online.  I am participating and co-hosting this year's #cyberPD event about digital reading and creating digital readers in our classrooms with Cathy Mere and Laura Komos

Don't forget! Next Tuesday, July 28th @ 7 pm CST, we will be participating in a #cyberPD Twitter chat with authors Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass.

Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8 

by William L. Bass II and Franki Sibberson
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My Thoughts and Reflections

Chapter 6: Assessment: Keeping Our Eye on the Literacy

"Assessment needs to be the vehicle that moves us beyond defining our readers as a number.  Assessment should not be about defining a reader but about piecing together information to help us design classroom experiences so we can observe our readers learning and understand what each one needs."
 (Assessment in Perspective, Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan 
as quoted by Bass & Sibberson, p.87)

Take Away: That's it, right?  (Reread the quote above.) That's all we need to know and remember about assessment?  I wish it were that easy!  (And now I'm kicking myself for not attending Clare and Tammy's assessment session at ILA!)

Think About/Share: I guess I was quite relieved to see that all the best practices for collecting formative data holds true even when digital literacies are present.  Trying to determine where the reader is and how can I continue to move and push the reader forward in learning.  The structures for ongoing assessment listed on p.90 brought a smile to my face.  Yes, this is what I'm always trying to do and I'm constantly wondering how I can improve in my practices of ongoing assessments.  After meeting Patrick Allen at ILA, I'm reminded that I need to revisit an old #cyberPD book selection, Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop.

Try it: I loved the idea of moving beyond the note taking and using digital tools to gather evidence and artifacts of learning.  I'm realizing that it doesn't have to be complicated.  A snapshot in a moment in time: an audio recording, a photograph of a reader, a screenshot of text.  But how do I keep it organized?!?  I need a crash course with Cathy about Evernote!  I have a Pinterest board of Everything Evernote resources, but I have done nothing more than pin those resources.  I think it's time I create notebooks and go digital with my note keeping and involving students in collecting evidence of learning in digital portfolios with Google Slides (and other suggestions on p.93-94).

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Chapter 7: Beyond the Classroom Walls: Connecting Digital Reading at Home and School

"Parents can engage in their child's learning on a daily basis 
and in a variety of ways." (Bass & Sibberson, p.47)

Take Away: It is essential to open up our classroom doors and let parents and families know what we are doing all day long in our classrooms.  What I love about this concept is that it doesn't (and shouldn't!) fall on only the teacher to communicate with families.  It's important to engage the students in connecting and sharing with families utilizing a variety of digital tools.  

Think About/Share:  In order to communicate with families, I need "to design a classroom communication plan that harnesses the power of digital tools to reach outside the classroom" (p.104).  The reflective questions (on p.105) provide the guidance I need to think about my plan deeply.

Try it: I currently use Kidblog.  I have a class website through the district.  I have a class Twitter account.  I can use Google Calendar and Docs with my students.  Now, I need to think about the purpose and focus of each of these tools and how I will utilize them to increase communication with families.

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Please edit, add to, and use the growing list of DIGITAL READING RESOURCES available.  This is a living document that is meant to be a work of collaboration.   (Note: It's in the early stages of development ... and needs your help!  I'm beginning to organize the various digital resources.  See the tabs at the bottom of the document.  Add headings and notes too!)

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You can participate in the #cyberPD conversations this month too:

Read.  Reflect.  Share.  Respond to others.  Then repeat.

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As always, thank you for taking the time to read and share your voice!


  1. We are so honored that you quoted us in this reflection - Thank you. It was so nice to see you at ILA - always fun to connect with our virtual friends in real life :)

  2. I'm with you on Evernote! My district is discouraging its use (because it is stored in the cloud and, therefore, not secure), but I got a bit of training at the end of the year so I now know how to use the Office 360 alternative, which I am allowed to use. I am determined to do it this year! I started organizing my read alouds in Evernote, taking pictures of the book covers and charts that I made and organizing them according to the strategy I used the book for. I also want to be better at digital communication with families. I continue to be amazed at the number of people who don't use email. :)

  3. Hi Michelle,

    My attention was drawn to the bottom of your post and the list of amazing resources generated from this group! I know I have grown in so many ways and these resources are invaluable to my learning. Thank you!


  4. Michelle,
    I love when you state "It's important to engage the students in connecting and sharing with families utilizing a variety of digital tools." This is the area that I, my district, and my building really need to work on, and remembering that it is not all up to us makes it seem more manageable and much more possible. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I am with you on Evernote - so much to learn! We experimented with Google Classroom and docs this year - what a difference it made in terms of communicating with parents.

  6. Michelle,
    I'm with you on the crash course about Evernote with Cathy!! My school is very big into Google apps and extensions, so although I have used Evernote a bit (a few years ago,) I'm thinking I might have to go the Google route. All of my students have accounts and use tools like Slides. I love how you go back to the purpose and ease of the tools and how they'll help us communicate with families!!

  7. I keep saying I'm going to try Evernote, and then I don't. I don't even know where to start. Maybe that can be a good Voxer convo with Cathy as our resource?

  8. Michelle,
    I continue to love this format. You, my friend, are the format goddess. I just love the way you find interesting structures to help with your message as you write.

    I had to laugh at your comment about Evernote (and Michele's comment above). You know I'm happy to talk Evernote anytime. As a matter of fact, I've already left you both a message in Voxer.

    I've been fortunate to hear Clare & Tammy speak on several occasions. If you get the opportunity again, they are always worth a listen. I always take so much away from their conversations.


  9. I'd like to learn more about a Twitter account for the classroom.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.