DigiLit Sunday #clmooc Writing



DigiLit Sunday

DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom.

This week I’m rethinking the writing process and tools.

Prior to digital tools, students would prewrite, draft, revise, review, revise, find feedback, and publish on paper. I’m not sure how many writers actually write this way. I know for fiction, I just start writing in Google Docs and let my characters start their journey. How would I help students experience this? How would it help develop word choice and plot?

Digital Tool

I’ve discovered a new tool I love, tackk.com . Be sure to sign up at the Education version if you chose to use this. It shares to Edmodo, and can be assigned through Edmodo so students can login with their Edmodo credentials. The Global Read Aloud is even using Tackk this year.  Public, or private, designing with Tackk is super easy. I like to know these things up front before I get excited about a new tool.

How can I help students experience the on-demand and online strategies of writing and revising?

Digital Prompt and Model

I designed a Tackk: FindWay as a story prompt and model to share with students. The prompt starts with the story and ends with directions and revision questions for peer collaboration.

Prompt and Model: Finding My Way

I created this story online, starting with a quest to find relief from the heat in a favorite swimming spot with friends. Tackk allows you to find glyphs, images, and videos to augment your own text using their built-in search for each. In addition, you can upload your own images and video.  It’s easy to move sections up and down and revise as needed.

During the story writing, I composed as a I wrote [see Directions at end], to fit the images that I could find. I prefer stills; I like the that I put myself into the image, instead of having action of a video clip take over my and my readers’ imaginations. It’s my choice; each writer must choose their own. I noticed many animations in the ‘gliphy’ search, which could work well for student stories.

During the story writing, I edited/revised as I wrote — descriptions, dialogue, imagery, action, etc.

During the story writing, I found the repetitive phrase to bring the good luck/bad luck of the story together: I sighed; I smiled.

When I present this, these are discussions for our class, including asking students for feedback on my work, which I ask them to do as they finish their stories. Of course, they could opt to create a story, revising together as I did.

Tackk, as you see, illustrates beautifully, including sound. The right sidebar offers choice in design, easy to discover, and a custom URL can be created.

Finally, Tackk lets others collaborate or comment. It can be shared with many sites, like Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and more. And it can be embedded in a webpage or blog [see below].

Digital Writing

What do you think?

I can see this for sharing nonfiction ideas as well as fiction. I found it very easy to revise as I designed and composed with many options inserting media.  Students would be able to follow a creative process and share their efforts. This is a powerful tool for composing: thinking and revising with text, images, and video alone or in collaboration.

How could you use Tackk in your classroom?


#write2connect Share

penOne of the ways my PLN and I #write2connect is to share what we know and what we’ve learned.

Here’s an example:

Just watched an amazing webinar from PBS Learning Media by Leslie Fisher:

You can watch the archives at  PBS Learning Media  and find more info on the Leslie Fisher website.

Enter to win iPads for your class.

Remind everyone with Remind 101 — free
Learn about cell phones in the classroom: CellPhones in Learning
A great book on Teaching Generation Tech
A great free lesson site: BlendSpace — up in minutes for each class; works on all devices. Just made this one in minutes: Write a Novel?
A great way to create a website — and set up classes with your students (free) Weebly

Share your screen — any device ScreenLeap

Explain everything with iPad app Explain Everything — and share it to be read on any device.

Create an interactive free site for quizzes, including a whiteboard, and more. Infuse Learning  Watch the video; you won’t believe how easy it is.

What are your favorite tools?

Did you notice that all of these involve writing and communicating!  Let’s get started…writing to connect…

  • Write reminders
  • Write / text with smartphones
  • Write what you know about Teaching generation tech
  • Write lessons for any device
  • Write your ideas / lessons/ shares on your own Weebly / Google Site/ Wiki / Blog websites
  • Write and share it with a ShareLeap
  • Write to explain
  • Write and receive responses from your students with Infuse Learning or Socrative

Let’s write…


You Are What You Curate #ETMOOC


Do you wonder how to organize all the ideas you want to keep so you can do something with them? I’ve been introduced to StorifyPearltrees, and IFTTT as ways to annotate and organize those bits of information I want to synthesize and share in meaning and action. Sue Waters also has just responded to questions about blogging using Storify to curate the tweets and responses! I created this My Storify to try to organize.

I also learned how to gather blog posts and comments in Google Reader from Sue Waters here  and here.  I am creating a folder in Google Reader for the the ETMOOC hub and for the posts I want to curate: annotate, synthesize, share, and act. I just followed Sue’s directions here.

I hope to work with others at the middle school level on the topics of assessment, inquiry, global collaboration,  and teaching for our students’ futures.


This blog post offers more information on curation.  What are your ideas?

“You are what you share.”

Photo Credit: From above post; see link on image.

World Webinars

Teacher Challenge 8

Today’s connected world offers us the opportunity to join with others to teach or share, listen and learn about the pedagogy, strategies, and tools that engage learners towards personal progress.

Four areas online have provided me with the confidence and resources to try new strategies and use new tools in my classroom.  These presentations not only teach strategies and demonstrate new tools, but also establish connections during the chat sessions. Through a combination of presentation and interaction, participants in the chat consider options for their classrooms, suggest projects with others in the chat, and share Twitter/email to make further connections.

Try these to build your knowledge and your PLN. The people involved in each of these sites are dynamic, creative, and inspirational. In addition, they welcome newcomers with open arms, and encourage everyone.

Classroom 2.0 Live:

CR20 Webinars: Except July, every Saturday at 9:00 AM Pacific
http://live.classroom20.com/ and
Join the Ning and Saturday sessions to learn new social media tools.
Steve Hargadon http://www.stevehargadon.com/
Peggy George, Kim Caise, Lorna Costantini: http://live.classroom20.com/hosts.html
This is my Saturdays; I learned Diigo, Wikis, VoiceThread, and many more here.

Teachers First
OK2Learn:  http://www.teachersfirst.com/
Candace Hackett Shively  http://blog.teachersfirst.com/thinkteach/
TeachersFirst website reviews tools with lessons and suggestions to make them work — a terrific resource for any teacher. In addition, resources for each month provide teachers with engaging and relevant ideas for immediate use in the classroom.
OK2Learn provides session how-tos to learn specific tools, such as Wikis, word-clouds, Smilebox.
I go here first to search for ideas and technology that fits my needs — with the suggestions for successful implementation.

The Australia Series
Tech Talk Tuesdays http://techtalktuesdays.global2.vic.edu.au/
Educators Guide to Innovation http://guidetoinnovation.ning.com/
Anne Mirtschin  http://murcha.wordpress.com/
The website ning shares the schedule for sessions during the Australian school year as well as the collaborative nature of a ning.
Tech Talk Tuesdays (11:00 PM Pacific) engages participants in sharing how to apply tools through presentation and participant sharing. Teachers share and present the use of the tools, asking participants to add.
In Tech Talk Tuesdays I learned about Google Plus.

Ed Tech Talk
Teachers Teaching Teachers
Paul Allison https://sites.google.com/a/ewsis.org/pallison/
Ed Tech Talk is a “Collaborative Open Webcasting Community” where teachers talk through and plan resources for their classes.
It is here I discovered a student blogging and sharing site: Youth Voices http://youthvoices.net/  It is free to sign up your classes to connect with other students.
To be a part of world webinars — please check out each of these: they will become your friends online and enlarge your world in relevant ways to improve teaching and learning. Just keep making those connections! That’s what it’s all about!  What are your experiences with such online learning sessions?

Photo Credit:

Blue Marble from Visible Earth at NASA

Image Imagination


How do I use images in my blog?

  1. Attention: Hook the reader
  2. Connect: Connect the ideas with a visual
  3. Explain: Clarify blog ideas with an image
  4. Share: Demonstrate with ideas, events, examples
  5. Humor: Create Metaphors for the muse
  6. Conclude: Summarize with a graphic or picture

Although this is my class blog, I have other blogs for different purposes:

What Else 2 Learn: Lessons, Lesson Ideas, Educational Slideshares for educators and families; images to connect, explain, share

AskWhatElse: Seeing is believing — a visual look into our classroom for family and class friends; images for attention and connecting

Ms Edwards: A bi-weekly newsletter on writing class for family; images connect, explain, share.

Pause2Play: A reflective blog on educational issues and pedagogy; images to connect, explain, share

WhatElse1DR: A classroom reflection; images to explain and share

One of my favorite image creators is Snagit for Mac or Windows.  Snag a screen shot, import to the editor and create visuals for your blog. Below is a Snagit from a screenshot of a MindNode web. In the Pause2Play link, images were created to show the idea sheets for students to use.

That’s the trick about images: purpose, clarity, communication.  My students in writing class choose images that match their writing ideas; it’s always their idea to add them. Then those students teach the rest of the class. It’s amazing how exact they can be, and how they can find images that work using Creative Commons.

I think its important to use images with students, to show them that sometimes it’s the words and sometimes it’s the image that focuses the reader on the meaning. Click below to see the poem on a picture from PicLit (directions at WhatElse2Learn).

PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com

Did you know that the WikiMedia Commons site provides all the attribution you need?  Just click “use this file on the web” and up pops what is needed. I just created a Pics 4 Projects page for my students; the science teacher needed creative commons pictures for her class computer work. We expect attribution for all images at all ages.

Block Letter T letter E X T

So, how do you teach image use with your students?

Response to Challenge 5

Photo Credits:

Puzzle Piece:  By إبن البيطار (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

TEXT: from Flickr Spell

Thanks to the Behind-the-Scene Team

Thanks to the Behind-the-Scene Team

As a teacher geek of reading and writing, I spend time learning new tools that enhance the teaching and learning of reading and writing. I look for tools that capture the creativity and interest of my students so that they can apply their reading and writing skills in authentic ways. I look for applications that allow me to differentiate for the learning needs and styles of the students I teach.

Our 21st Century tools and applications engage our students:

It\'s My Research

A student who normally would grumble at any writing assignment, learns google search strategies to find information on his favorite boxers. He fills pages of sticky notes with his ideas, sticks them around the computer, and then reads from them to input his ideas on his wiki page.

Students who would normally balk at reading and taking notes, transfer their highlights and annotations of research with Diigo into their PBWorks to synthesize into their own ideas so that others can learn from them.

Students who hate writing essays, plan and create photo essays in Voice Thread on topics important to them.

Students who normally would not share in a class discussion will share their ideas on blog comments and Voice Threads.

And through all their work, they learn the etiquette of online participation while learning the online communication skills currently used in the work force.

Wires to Words -- Flickr by david⢰

But all of this would not happen if it were not for the thoughtful and supportive people behind the scenes.

Think of all the wires and cables and servers and code that coalesce into a sweet stream of bytes onto our computer screens.Wired Code into Computers; Flckr by Andy Field (Hubmedia)

Think of the tweaking by our technicians to allow our Google Apps, PBWorks wikis, Voice Threads, Animotos, Glogsters, blogs (Word Press, Blogger, Edublogs, Blogmeister, Nings), to pop up and animate, ready for input by teachers and students.

And, that these applications are available when needed at just the right moment for each student to transfer his/her thoughts and images into creative and accurate information for the analysis by others.

I’ve had several instances this year when a site wouldn’t work, or the system seemed slow, and a simple call or email to the technicians resulted in quick access to what the students and I needed for research, reading, writing, etc.

So, I’d like to thank all those amazing people behind the scenes who keep our cloud computing as clear as a bright sky. In my district, thanks to Pete, Adam, and Steve for their encouraging technical wizardry. The technicians at Edublogs along with Sue Waters were immensely helpful the one time I needed help there, and PBWorks support offered help when I had simple questions that needed a quick answer.

Thanks, hidden helpers, for supporting teaching and learning.

Sheri Edwards