I'm reading Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8 by Franki Sibberson and William L Bass II. Click here to read more about #cyberPD or click here to join the Google+ discussion group! It's a pleasure every summer to participate in this knowledgeable group. We are hosted by Laura Komos, Michelle Nero, and Cathy Mere.
As I've said before, this coming year is my first year of retirement. I already see others talking about planning, that the summer is coming to a close, that in just a few weeks, new students will be a reality. I am ready to say goodbye to that thrill of September, but this year I think I'll be remembering every step of the way. Sometimes, I know I will wish I was back, especially after reading these two chapters of Digital Reading!
Digital Reading - Chapter six - Assessment: Keeping Our Eye on Literacy (p. 87)
When I took over the class this past year, I had one more chance to do some different things that I hadn't been doing four years previously. Our entire school holds student-led portfolio conferences, and now after reading about digital ones I wish I had taken that step. However, there were some differences this time. Students had computers ready to show something online, like digital presentations, art, or special blog posts. Both students and I wanted to share and show the learning that had been occurring online as well as in print. With older students, the collection of work is always the broader collection, focusing on trimester goals (we worked on a trimester calendar), but also looking back at where they were, and then looking at the examples of growth that were moving them forward. Even the youngest students can discuss the learning that has occurred, sometimes with guiding questions, and the skills that are new or are improving.
At the beginning of the year I also had students complete a reading survey, and love the added questions Franki shared on page 89. It is a foundation on which to build our own picture of this reader. And then, the text support the NCTE stance of ways that formative assessment happens, with or without digital tools. Exactly right! We still need to confer, notice, and examine many examples of student work so we can "know" the reader.
I appreciate the tools shared in figure 6.1. I used Evernote for keeping track of all the teacher contacts when I was the literacy coach. It was easy with tags to pull up the "history" of all I had done and discussed with one specific person, and was so helpful.
I taught 6th, 7th and 8th graders and blogged with them this year, using Blogger. They linked to the class blog with their own posts. I also used Google Docs sometimes, especially when students wanted to work on something over the weekend and send a doc to me for feedback, then work on still another draft. Some students used forms for doing surveys. Photos of many projects are taken and printed. NOTE: It would save a lot of ink and paper if we did digital portfolios!
Combining work from digital portfolios into a work for the classroom community is such an awesome idea. I wrote a newsletter to parents each week, sometimes sending pictures of the class working on something, or of trips we took, but this could evolve into a "portfolio" of activities/actions/online work that could be shared often. What a terrific idea! And that brings me to the next chapter!
Chapter Seven - Beyond the Classroom Walls: Connecting Digital Reading at Home and School
This chapter holds the final wrap of what must happen, connecting to families. I enjoyed hearing about all the ideas, like for an Internet Safety night, and connecting through the web by sharing what's going on in the classroom. I wrote about this a little bit above.
Figure 7.2 talks of the considerations for Parent Outreach, which is excellent. I would add that all parents don't have easy access to the internet, so must remember to include them in some important ways, too. And it is important to continue one on one connections. I still made phone calls this year, love the voice connection that often expands into learning more about each other. And I talked with parents who are there before and after school, trying to add information about what was going on with the class, and sometimes their children, in that way too.
Choosing the goals for what are key components in digital sharing is also so important. I enjoyed seeing the details of Figure 7.3. As we teachers are used to setting goals for other learning, these too should not be haphazard, but deliberate. I do believe that whenever possible, the goals should also include goals set by students.
Thanks for a terrific two chapters, Franki and Bill. I will share with former colleagues. This is such an important book to have for staff discussions.