Here are some interesting links that I found on Twitter over the last several days. Thank you to those in the Twittersphere who took the time to share. Right now this is just a hodgepodge of different topics, hopefully in the future I’ll have this a bit more organized. You can also access these links through the QR code or my OneTab Link.
For those of us who participated in #ISTELive one of the most valuable experiences that we had was the backchannel discussion. We began our discussion during the opening Keynote, but things really swung into action during the sessions on Monday through Wednesday. Over the course of these three days we became colleagues and friends… a true cohort. When I talk about my ISTE experience I mention these wonderful educators by name. We shared a lot! We talked about teaching and technology, choices and challenges, family and friends, travels and home… We talked about how we were on the ISTE diet (feeding on information forgetting to eat real food), how we hadn’t left our computers for days, how we needed treadmill desks…
…And we shared TONS of resources. Early on, Adrienne (@) gave me the tip to use Symbaloo to curate some of the resources that I found and we both began collecting and curating. Her ISTE Symbaloo was connected to my ISTE Symbaloo and mine to hers, and we both had a link to a shared google doc with Jen’s notes (@) from the sessions. We had several people from our group editing that document as well.
As I said though… we shared A LOT! I got to the point that I couldn’t keep up, so I started just opening tabs. I decided I would go back at the end of each session and add the links to my Symbaloo. I remember looking at my tabs at one point and I had so many open that I could only see one or two letters on each tab. Thankfully Brandon (@ ), one of the moderators, recommended installing the OneTab add-on.
OneTab is a Chrome/Firefox add-on for website curation. It is by far, the easiest webpage curation tool I have ever used. Here’s how it works: Open as many tabs in your browser as you want. When you get tired of looking at all of those open tabs, click on the OneTab button. OneTab closes all of the open tab and creates a new webpage with links to all of the tabs that were just closed. That list can then be named, rearranged, edited, shared, exported or deleted. The next time you want a new list of tabs closed OneTab will add them on that same page. You can move links from one list to another. Check out more features here.
There are two features that are missing that would improve the functionality. First, when I share a list, I’d like to be able to see the title of that list (the title that I gave it) on the shared page. Right now I can’t find it anywhere. Second, I’d like to be able to annotate the list in OneTab before sharing. My work around for this is to copy and paste the shared list into my blog post or a word document, but life would be just a bit easier it I could annotate the links before sharing.
Saving and sharing links just got amazingly easier for me and my students. If you’ve ever been frustrated by keeping track of webpages, give OneTab a try.
After several intense days #notatISTE, and participating in #ISTELive, I’m finally able to go back and catch up on the annual ALA convention (#alaac15) which was also held this week in San Francisco. (I tried keeping up with both for a while but I just couldn’t do it!)
One story that caught my attention was “Crying Emoji: ALA Annual Recap (Part III)” by Travis Jonker from 100Scopenotes. The very first picture shows several authors performing readers theater, acting out a scene from Jennifer L. Holm’s and Matthew Holm’s graphic novel Sunny Side Up. I had seen this done before, I can’t remember where, but I think it was Raina Telgemeier performing one of her graphic novels as reader’s theater. Somewhere along the line (maybe that was the whole purpose of these presentations) I realized that the graphic novel format probably lends itself to reader’s theater. I’ll bet that many, if not all, graphic novels could be performed in this way.
Then I started thinking about my students, and my library, and I’ll admit that I don’t do enough to promote graphic novels at my school. My graphic novels circulate well, but mainly because of the students who already love them. Most of the teacher’s have a hard time appreciating the complexity and value of graphic novels. (When it comes time to do book projects, graphic novels are often vetoed as choices.)
So here’s my idea… I think the students could collaborate to create book trailers reenacting short scenes from the graphic novels as reader’s theater, with accompanying images from the text (no more than one or two pages.) Of course, I’m a little concerned about copyright, but I do feel like this would constitute Fair Use. The students could then add music, sound effects and other images to create a finished book trailer to promote our graphic novels. We are very privileged to have our own television channel and the trailers could be broadcast throughout the day.
Creating reader’s theater style book trailers offers so many opportunities for students to creatively express their love of graphic novels and also helps showcase their value to other students and the teachers.
I have a love/hate relationship with that hashtag.
The #ISTE2015 conference is in full swing, and I’m not there. It was my choice and things at home necessitated that I stay here. I’ve never been to ISTE, and in fact haven’t been to any professional conferences in a long time. This year my heart is aching a bit though.
I decided to participate virtually by registering for ISTE Live, a way to participate in a limited number of session through webinars. Yesterday I spent nearly the entire day watching the ISTE Live sessions, connecting with other educators, getting dizzy following Twitter Feeds, following @tonyvincent’s live feed on Periscope, saving web resources, and in general being envious of all of those who were there. Today I expect more of the same.
The session go by so fast but I’ve found some real inspiration in some of the speakers and their messages. Rafranz Davis (@) introduced my to the power of an Ignite presentation (five minutes, 20 slides.) She spoke so eloquently about diversity. Soledad O’Brien’s (@) opening keynote address focused on equity of access and the true power of technology in education. Yesterday I had the the privilege of listening to George Couros (@) in his session on creating a culture of innovation. What an amazing leader! I also had the opportunity to feel like a true #ISTE2015 participant when Monica Burns (@) made the extra effort to pull in the virtual ISTE Live audience as part of her presentation on wearable technology in the classroom. How excited was I when my questions and comments were repeated by her to the ISTE crowd in Philadelphia! She truly made me feel like I had a voice. Finally, Tony Vincent (@) has been kind enough to walk me through poster sessions, the blogger’s cafe, and the exhibit hall with his live feed on Periscope. I got to virtually meet Angela Maiers (@), Erin Klein (@), and Jerry Blumengarten (@). There has been so much more and I’ll be glad when the archived sessions are posted so that I can go back and watch some again!
Today will be another booked day! I never imagined that I would be so consumed by the virtual experience. Looking forward to the opening keynote by Jack Gallagher and the other ISTE live events planned for the day.
In the midst of my end of the school year rituals, I received an email from a parent. Her daughter, a voracious reader, was having surgery and would be bedridden for a lot of the summer. This mother wanted to know if I knew of any opportunities for children’s virtual book clubs. I told her that off hand I didn’t but I would check into it. The idea began spinning around in my head and I realized that I could provide this opportunity. With just enough school year left for some publicity, I launched my 2015 Virtual Summer Reading Club. (I know… not a very original club name, but hey, I was proud of myself for just getting it off the ground!)
I created a group in Edmodo and posted a link for the club on our library website.
Here’s how our reading club works…
This summer we will read three books, one each in June, July and August. All of the titles are nominees for the 2015-2016 Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Awards. Our virtual book club will meet on Edmodo and discussion questions and replies will be posted at least once a week. Club members could simply read what others have to say, but are encouraged to take an active part in the conversation! (See the directions below.) Students can earn Edmodo badges for participation. Using Edmodo has been a bit of a learning curve for all involved, but I think that the participants are starting to catch on.
To date there are 47 members of the club (teachers and students) with new members joining every few days. We have about 10 really active participants but (disappointingly) many members who have only logged on once. Our first book is The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari H. Sutherland. All of the active participants seem to really be enjoying the book and the discussion has been very impressive!
From Owen B. : “When i was reading the book before bed, i was only going to read a chapter but i read two chapters. Mrs Shenefiel was right, i can’t put it down!!!”
From Mrs. H.: “I just started the book today, so I’m late, and my first thought when I saw the book, was this wasn’t my kind of book, BUT I’m really enjoying it!”
As we move through the final chapters of the Menagerie, I’m hoping that the club members will be just as excited about the second title (which will remain a mystery until we’re ready to start!) Look for an update later in the summer.
FYI…here are the directions/reminders that I posted:
- As you read, make tracks or keep notes, and notice details about the characters, setting, plot, and writing style.
- After you have finished reading the section please post at least one discussion question related to the character, setting, plot, or writing style. (You are welcome to post more than one question.)
- Finally… after you have posted your discussion question, please reply to at least one other question posted by another club member. The whole point of this club is to spark an online conversation, so post and reply as much as you wish.
- Discussion questions are open-ended and may not have a right or wrong answer. Good discussion questions may allow for different opinions supported with evidence from the text.
- If you choose to read ahead, please do not post spoilers (or questions that might be spoilers.) Spoilers are when you give away something about the plot that should be a surprise to the reader.
- Be respectful in your posts. We may have different opinions about what happens in this story and that’s OKI We don’t always have to agree with everyone. We do have to respect those differences though. I reserve the right to make your membership “read-only,” if your posts or conversations becomes disrespectful.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Recommended for: grades 5 and up
Based on actual events, the story of two children into different time periods, facing life-threatening struggles in the country of Sudan.
Topics/Themes: drinking water, Sudan, family, Sudanese Civil War, The Lost Boys of Sudan, global issues, helping others, survival
My Two Cents: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Each chapter in this book intertwines the stories of two children trying to survive in circumstances that the average American child can barely imagine. Nya’s twice daily trek to fetch drinking water for her family seems like such an antiquated prospect to us, and yet this event is a reality for many children today. Salva’s story begins with the bombing of his school by Sudanese rebels and his subsequent escape from his village. Separated from his family he will travel on foot for hundreds of miles over several years through the deserts of southern Sudan, then Ethiopia, on to Kenya and finally to the U.S.
A Long Walk to Water is an inspirational story of struggle, survival, and giving back. (I’m thinking One Book, One School!) It is also a story that begs us to get involved, take action, and make a difference in our world. Salva Dut founded the non-profit orgaization Water for South Sudan to help the people of South Sudan drill for clean drinking water in their villages. On this website you can find more information about A Long Walk for Water and other resources related to the book.
Watch this moving video about how Water for South Sudan is changing the lives of the people of South Sudan:
For a more in-depth look at this book, check out Linda Sue Park interviewing Salva Dut. (Also from the Water for South Sudan website.):
Hoping for Peace in Sudan : Divided by Conflict, Wishing for Peace by Jim Pipe.
Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams.
The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World by Christine Ieronimo
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together
The first week of summer vacation… sitting on the burning deck… sunglasses on…a tall icy glass of lemon water (or something)… catching up on the reading… If you’re anything like me (and many other teachers) summer break is a time for closure, renewal, and planning. To me it also feels like New Years. On that first official day of summer break I’m always making my list of summer resolutions:
- Exercise more
- Read one book everyday (ok… maybe every other day…)
- Spend one hour a day tackling house projects
- Take an online class
- Plan all of my displays for next year
- Do something new every week
- Cook more meals
- Clean out my photo library (again)
- Update my blog
- etc., etc., etc….
When I think of it, I actually make A LOT more summer resolutions than New Year’s resolutions. I’m also just now realizing why, about a week into break, I want school to be back in again. (This list looks like disappointment waiting to happen…)
So what’s that one summer resolution? How do you keep it?