Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Close Reading and 21st Century Skills

I just finished up a Statistics midterm, and my brain is tired. I wanted to link up with Holly's Tried It Tuesday though.

I actually have a few different websites I have been trying out with my class I want to share with you, but I will probably spread it out over several posts. Because I work at a Blended Learning school, my students spend a large chunk of their time working more independently on online curriculum that is provided by the school. I supplement that with other lessons, activities, group projects, etc. I have tried out lots of websites that I hear about in blog posts or stumble across just to try different ways to expose kids to material and ideas.

There are few websites I really love and use all the time. As I think about those 21st Century Learning Skills of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication, I am trying to really be mindful about what activities we use different pieces of technology for and what activities or lessons we approach other ways.

Non-Technology Tried Its:

My students do spend so much time working independently that right now I am really trying to re-evaluate how I want to bring in more opportunities for collaboration and even hands-on activities like task cards. We have used task cards a couple times in the last couple weeks and my students have loved it! Kids love technology, but they also need to interact with one another and do hands-on activities. I am not doing a strict interactive notebook this year, but I am trying to use a lot of foldables because they need the practice with motor skills and following directions.

Several people have mentioned close reading as their tried it this week. We have tried a couple resources for Close Reading, and I have really enjoyed them. I purchased Primary Polka Dots Really Creepy Stuff Close Reading Kit and used it in October. She also has one for Really Gross Stuff that could be used all year.

I also purchased Jennifer Findley's Close Reading Mega Kit in the back to school sale. She has Close Reading bookmarks aligned to each standard.  My plan is to glue the bookmarks in our notebooks and as we cover each standard also practice it with close reading. She also has some poetry close reading book marks. Her kit includes posters you could display as well.

I plan on using her poetry close reading book marks starting next week. I really would like to start analyzing a poem a week. I think poems are a perfect place to start with close reading because they are short, but allow for a lot of depth and critical thinking. My students have been asking when we will write more poetry since they wrote their bat cinquains, so I really do need to add in more reading and writing of poetry. I actually have copies of Love That Dog, so I think after reading Holly's and Jivey's posts, I might add it in as a shared read when my students get to their poetry module in their curriculum.

Technology Tried-Its:

Edmodo - Edmodo is a fantastic website and iPad app. It can be used as a communication tool, a planner, and even a gradebook and system for students to submit assignments. I send students notes about when things are due and if they have missing assignments. This way they can't claim I never told them something was missing. I would like to start posting weekly poems and quotes on Edmodo. As we discuss them, the students can respond to questions on Edmodo. I think this would be a fun way to even do a "close read" of a quote. As we do some more reflecting this month on who we are as learners, I am going to have my students put a lot more thought into creating their Edmodo profiles. There are so many more uses for Edmodo I have not even explored yet.

Raz-kids - Raz-kids is the website and iPad app version of Reading A to Z's leveled readers. We have read some of the stories this year and taken the quizzes.  Raz-kids gives the teacher the ability to assign online running-records and assignments of the different leveled readers and corresponding activities. The only downside of the Running Records and leveling is you have to already have a good idea of the student's level.  I would love to find a good paper running record resource that is matched to the lexile system so I can more accurately determine a student's level other than just trial and error. I would like to use some of the Raz-kids stories as close reads. We will pair them with Jennifer Findley's bookmarks for each standard.  We can read through the story three times and focus on different things each time. I think we are going to start following up the close reads with written reading responses where the students have to cite text based evidence using quotes and explain the quotes.

I have some other websites I will share with you in some other posts. How do you help your students become 21st century learners while balancing out the technology with other methods of delivery to meet your students' needs?

1 comment:

  1. I have been using Edmodo for several years now. I LOVE it. I really can't say enough great things about this website. We use it EVERY day. I have a huge library built into my Edmodo with links, videos, etc. for the students to always go back and access after we have discussed something. This is in addition to our class website that has many links also added. I got on Edmodo tonight and saw that students from two years ago are still writing to me and one another in the group I created for them. This makes me smile that they are 7th graders and still feel like they should check in with me and each other. That speaks volumes.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'


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