Posts Tagged ‘Voxer’

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

I consider myself a reflective person. I have participated in many professional development opportunities that are built upon self-reflection, the National Writing Project, National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards, and NCTE Donald Graves Award for teaching writing. Each of these organizations or awards requires self-reflection around the teaching of literacy.

Voxer is another way that I am a reflective teacher. I am involved in three chats at the moment, and each one encourages me to reflect on myself as a writer, a teacher, and a person.

This week Donna Donner asked a question on the Good to Great Voxer chat about self-assessment, and I began to question my ability to pass on this reflective mindset to my students.

Dr. Mary Howard (@DrMaryHoward) in her response to Donna had some great points about self-reflection of students.

  • Ask students “What did you learn about yourself as a reader, writer, listener, researcher…?”
  • Students should reflect outwardly: with a teacher in conferring or with another student in turn and talk.
  • Focus must remain on the learner.
  • Not a task, but a mindset.
  • The teacher must be self-reflective to help students be self-reflective.

I want to pay more attention to this thing I do naturally.  How did I become a reflective teacher?  What steps can I offer my students toward more active self-reflection?  I believe, like Mary, that it needs to be more than a task (a checklist).  It must become part of the fabric of being a life-long learner.  Self-reflection done well has the potential to change the way students think about themselves and about their responsibility to their own learning.



Please join the conversation and leave your link below.


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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

NCTE 2015 is only a few short days away, and I am beyond excited. This year I am participating in two presentations. I will be on a round table session on Friday at 4:00 #E20: Igniting Wonder in Students and Teachers: Fueling the Fires of Creativity and Independence in the Classroom. Here I will be talking about DigiLit Sunday and digital literacy. I created an Emaze to show. In it I show how my students present their various “Wonders” to the class. Last week I wrote about how I assign and assess these weekly research endeavors.

NCTE flyer

J.02 Write Beside Them (Donald GravesAwards Winners)101CSponsored by the Elementary SectionSteering CommitteeThe presentation will feature three recipientsof NCTE’s Donald H. Graves Award for Excellencein the Teaching of Writing. This awa copy

The second session is a panel of Donald Graves Award winners from 2013, 2014, and 2015. I’m a little intimidated by this one because I am beside some amazing teachers as well as on of my all time favorite mentors, Katie Wood Ray. J02: Write Beside Them Saturday, 2:45.

For this panel, I have made a Google Slide Show about blogging with students. I made a card with the major reasons for student blogging.

Kidblog card

I would like to start a Voxer chat for NCTE 15. If you are going and would like to chat, let me know. Even if you are not going, and you would like to hear and comment on what we are learning and sharing, you can join in. Contact me by Voxer, email, Twitter, or in the comments.

And as always, if you are writing about digital literacy, please leave a link.

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Poetry Friday round-up with Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

Poetry Friday round-up with Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

Do you know about the famous Fibonacci Sequence? The ages old sequence that creates a spiral, a shape found in nature? The mathematical sequence is 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8…Do you see the pattern? More information (including algebraic equations) can be found at Math is Fun.

I had forgotten about using the sequence in poetry until a colleague introduced it to our 6th grade enrichment group. We are working on Unsung Hero projects. Our previous meeting had been a field trip to see and hear about heroes in our own town. She asked the students to recall the field trip by writing a Fib poem. I wrote about the Buddhist Temple in our local Laotian community.

Wat Thammarattanaram, New Iberia, LA

Wat Thammarattanaram, New Iberia, LA

Buddhist monks
humbly giving self,
Temple of golden ornaments,
Temple of sacrifice,
meditate on lasting love.
–Margaret Simon

A Fib poem follows the syllable count as in the mathematical sequence, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. And if you are feeling wordy, you can tack on a line of 13 and 21.

A few years ago I had used this form with my students when we were sharing The 14 Fibs of Gregory K by Greg Pincus.

I tried out the form on my other students. I asked them to write about our field trip to New Orleans, the Aquarium and Insectarium, last week. The exercise was quite a challenge. I, too, struggled. But that’s what writing is all about, right? We made a padlet.

erin's mermaid

Each afternoon, I read aloud another chapter of Fish in a Tree. We usually write notices and wonders to add to the Voxer chat with other classes, but yesterday, I asked Jacob to write a Fib poem with me about Ally, the main character. We started over 3 times. Jacob was being very patient. Each time he’d write the syllable count down the margin of his journal page. Finally we liked what was coming, but we couldn’t quite get that last line. Then Jacob just blurted it out. Some days my young students blow my mind. We recorded it on the Voxer chat.

thinks she’s dumb,
so afraid to tell,
hates being locked up in her brain.

Using strict forms can be frustrating, but when it works, when we discover a winning line, we can say “Boom, Gotcha” to that Fib!

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

I largely believe that my blog audience is fellow teachers, but sometimes I meet readers on Main Street, and sometimes they call me on the phone. Both happened to me this weekend. I saw Mac at a local art gallery for Art Walk on Saturday evening. He started up a conversation about reading aloud and how he was happy I was doing that with my students. He told me about how his family read aloud, and he passed it on to his kids and grandchildren, and now even great grandchildren.

I got a phone call from a friend who wanted to tell me that she appreciated the work I was doing with kids to connect reading to their own lives. She shared that she is going through something very difficult, and my posts help her. What? Really? I was moved to tears.

Receiving praise for writing reaches farther and deeper than any other kind of praise because writing is so personal. I want to bring this type of understanding to my students along with the joy and pride of knowing their writing touched someone else. I work to build connections for them. On our kidblog site, we have connected to other classes. I encourage them to find a student from another class to connect with.

We teachers talk with our readers about making text to self connections. Usually these connections seem false. When we make those connections together around a shared text and then share them globally, this writing holds more meaning. The stakes are higher. The voice is authentic.

On Padlet, I posted this question for students to write about in connection to the Global Read Aloud, Fish in a Tree: “In Fish in a Tree, Ally doesn’t tell anyone about her trouble with reading. She has an opportunity in Mrs. Silver’s office and even with her mom, but she resists out of fear. Have you ever had something so troublesome that you just didn’t know how to or were afraid to tell the truth?”

To get them started, I posted my own story.

When I was very young, maybe around 6, I was playing with matches outside with the neighbors. Before we really knew what was happening, the yard was in flames. The blanket for our “campout”, my favorite doll, the pillows from my brother’s bed…in flames. Fear sent me inside. I climbed in my mother’s lap and cried and cried. She got very angry because she was on the telephone. Finally I squeezed out the word “Fire!” and she went running. I don’t remember much after that moment, but to this day I feel very guilty about that accident.

When my students read it, they immediately gasped, “Matches? You played with matches?” My mother now knows the whole story, but I still cannot shake the guilt and trauma of burning the front yard. That spot in the grass seemed to stay black forever.

I sent out a Voxer message to colleagues in California, Ohio, and Illinois. They responded by writing their own stories. So my students had 4 adult models to read Monday morning before writing their own. Thanks Julianne, Julie, and Phyllis.

Click on the image to see the Padlet.

padlet FIAT

I am excited our writing is becoming richer and holding more meaning. Making connections with text, then having someone else connect to our own writing is a powerful way to communicate and spread kindness and understanding.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

This week I joined a Voxer book club organized by Kathleen Sokowolski from the Two Writing Teachers around Lise Eickholdt’s book Learning from Classmates. The conversation is inspiring and thoughtful. I am getting many ideas about supporting the writing in my classroom. I am also able to share in a safe place about my own triumphs and failures.

(We’re only one chapter in, so if you want to join, contact Kathleen.)

In the book, Lisa encourages us to use student work to notice, name, and note a craft move within a student’s writing. Her book features real images of real writing done by kids with all the flaws and the filled in bubble exclamation points. Most of the writing my students do is on their blogs, so this is typed. I actually love this because when I am looking for text to use to mentor a writing move or to teach a grammar skill, it’s there at my finger tips. When I want to feature student writing here on my own blog, I can copy and paste it straight on over.

My students write a Slice of Life story each week. I am trying to push them to elaborate more and one of my students just point blank asked me for a lesson on how to do that. I have not been a huge fan of Prezi as a tool for presentations in the past. The other day I opened it up just to give it another shot. I chose a pre-formatted background, so the rest was easy.

Feel free to share and use this presentation. You may even be able to edit and add in your own student mentor text.

Click on this image to go to the Prezi.

Click on this image to go to the Prezi.

If you want to join this week’s round up of Digital Literacy posts, please leave a link.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

“Give yourself the kind of care you would insist on for someone you love.” My Enneathought of the Day. I needed to hear this. I have taken a few naps this week and feeling guilty about it, my body insisted on it. With this advice from the masters, I feel better knowing that I listened and obeyed my body’s needs.

I am celebrating Global Read Aloud! I celebrate the power of reading aloud in the classroom. It does so much to build a community of readers. We are reading Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s Fish in a Tree. My students are gifted. Many of them read early and quickly advanced to a higher reading level. Ally, the main character, is dyslexic. She cannot read. My students have a hard time understanding this. All the more reason we should be reading about it as a community.

Jacob, 2nd grade, said, “If she can talk, why can’t she read?” Ah! He is slowly understanding that his ability is a gift.

We are joining a larger community of readers on Voxer. We are listening to responses from classes in Illinois, California, and Ohio. How fun is that!

And because my students want the chance to Vox, they are being better listeners and writing their notices and wonders. If they write and share, then they get to record their message for others to hear. Powerful learning going on!

Emily sketched her idea of Ally's head.

Emily sketched her idea of Ally’s head.

My students are also sharing on Padlet. This week they read embarrassing moments and shared their own. Click here to see the padlet.

I am loving these connections and look forward to our reading together over the next weeks. Send me a message if you would like to join in.

My satsuma tree

My satsuma tree

Celebrate fall: The satsumas are ripe, juicy, and yummy. I love free fruit!

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Voxer is my current favorite app on my phone. It’s like having a Walkie-Talkie to all your friends in your PLN. Last week, Kathleen Sokolowski from the Two Writing Teachers site posted about her use of Voxer. She then invited us to participate in a Voxer book club around Lisa Eickholdt’s book Learning from Classmates: Using Students’ Writing as Mentor Texts. My copy arrived yesterday. Kathleen is currently collecting participants, so if you’d like to join a lively bunch of writing teachers talking about classroom practices, email Kathleen at mrs.sokolowski at gmail.

Another Voxer group that I love is my Writing about Reading group. This week I had a triumph and a fail, and this group was there for me. I had a place to celebrate and a place to vent.

On Voxer, you can leave text messages or voice messages. The voice is a powerful tool. I’d like to explore this tool with my students. I am participating in Global Read Aloud reading Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. My kids can’t wait to get started. I would like to connect with a class through Voxer. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around how it would work, but my thinking as of now is this. We could pick one student each day to speak for the class. The message could be a notice or a wonder about the book. What do you think? Please email me if you would like to connect our kids through Voxer.

If you are blogging about Digital Literacy, please link up your post.

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