Tag Archives: literature

Using @pinterest & #QRcodes to digitize @iampemberton’s class library & share reading prompts. #kinderchat #ptchat

I just had such a great and productive conversation with Kindergarten teacher, Lauren Pemberton (@iampemberton)! Lauren came into the tech office asking about whether she should affix QR codes to class library books or use some other technology like augmented reality. I asked what she’d like to have happen, and she said she wants parents to be able to scan a code and see questions pop-up during read-alouds with their children that would be good prompts and conversation starters about the story.

I agreed that QR codes would work really well, since the QR code acts as a link to additional information by using any device. Each QR code is paired to a unique webpage that can be bookmarked or emailed or just left in the form of an open page on the device’s web browser. In contrast, augmented reality apps like Layar and Aurasma allow the book cover (or any image) to be used as a dynamic trigger that launches an overlay of information on the device’s screen. This is awesome, but that overlay would disappear as soon as the device is no longer hovering over the trigger (in this case, scanning the book via the app could launch an image containing a list of questions but only when the device is “seeing” the book cover).

I backtracked and suggested that Lauren and her co-teacher, @Jenn_Dare,  first build a Pinterest board full of books available in their classroom’s library. I totally got this idea from my friend, @KimBeeman, who is the amazing Head of the Library at The Shrewsbury International School in Bangkok, Thailand. Kim curates a wonderfully useful Shrewbury Library Blog and many Pinterest boards of the library’s collection organized by genre, grade, project, date aquired, and more.

So, Lauren and Jenn are going to curate a Pinterest board that is a digital representation of their Kindergarten library. Each book pinned to the board will have a unique URL (web address) and space in the description for Lauren and Jenn to post questions and conversation starters about that book. These pins also allow for comments from other users, so parents and teachers can add their own questions and prompts and share/network with each other. Yay for social networking about literacy!

Many sites allow you to make a QR code (like QR Stuff or QR Code Generator), so each book pinned on Lauren and Jenn’s Pinterest board will have a distinct QR code that gets printed and taped to the physical book in their class’s library. This enables students/parents/teachers to borrow a book, scan the QR code taped to it by using a QR reader (like QR Reader for iPhone or QR Code Reader) and launch a webpage for that book’s pin on the Pinterest board to access questions specific to the story.

Finally, I suggested that Lauren keep a GoogleDoc that consists of an ever-expanding table that includes the following information:

  1. Book title
  2. URL to that book’s pin on the class library Pinterest board
  3. QR code that links to that pin’s URL

This will be tedious but worthwhile. After all of their classroom’s current  books are inventoried, pinned to the Pinterest board, and linked to a QR code, it’s just a matter of adding new rows to the table as any additional books are brought in to supplement their growing and evolving library.

 

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“Romeo and Juliet” Garageband podcasts in 6th Grade English

Marisa Guastaferro‘s 6th grade English students are working together in small groups to rewrite a scene from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The goal is for them to show understanding of the prose and dialogue by translating it into their own words. (The kids also watch West Side Story and compare/contrast the two stories.)

After, students will take pictures of themselves acting out key moments of the scene (like tableau vivant) and record their voices reading their script into a shared GarageBand file. We have them use a Logitech USB microphone and lay it on the table with the microphone upright between them to capture all of their voices equally.

The audio and images will be mashed together in GarageBand. Then, this file will be converted to an .mov file using Quicktime and uploaded to our Drupal video server that we’ve named The Tube (as it is similar to YouTube and we think it’s hilarious to preface anything related to The School with “The”).

Uploading video to The Tube generates embed code, so students can embed their finished podcast onto a shared class Google Site with the rest of their classmates’ projects.

In previous years, students painted enormous backdrops for their scene in Art and composed renaissance-era ambient background tunes in Music.

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I’m presenting “Social Networking and Literacy” on 2/5/11 at 6:00pm EST #CO11

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I’ll be presenting online Saturday evening (2/5 at 6:00 pm EST) as part of the free Connecting Online 2011 Conference (#CO11). My specific session will be “Social Networking and Literacy,” and I am going to describe how two of the English teachers at The School at Columbia University are using new media to enhance an independent reading program and book groups.

 

The Independent Reading Site (Google Site)

Marisa Guastaferro (6th Grade English) and I created The Independent Reading Site two years ago. It is a Google Site; Hence, it is free, there is a whole suite of tools, it is accessible from anywhere, there is a built-in search feature, kids can comment on each other’s reviews, it is user friendly, and it is sustainable in that their profile travels with them from year to year.

In their profile, the students include what they read, where they read, how they read, and then list their favorite books, genres, and/or authors. These profiles are grouped by the year the students graduate from high school (this is how we list them in all of our databases anyway). The students create a sub-page for each book review they complete and create their book reviews in the form of text, video, audio, slide-show, or comic-strip. Students and teachers extend the conversation and share opinions in the comment section below each review.

The built-in Google Site search feature is awesome, as it allows users to search by name, year, genre, author, title, etc. This is invaluable and allows students to learn about other people’s reading habits and locate new books to add to their bookshelf.

To Kill a Mockingbird Book Groups (Elgg social network)

Eve Becker (8th Grade English) carefully considered how to best negotiate our in-house social network (powered by Elgg) to structure teacher-led and student-led discussions for To Kill a Mockingbird. [The book celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010!]

First, Eve divided her students into small reading groups of 3-4 students. All students were required to join the TKAM grade-wide group created by Eve. Here, Eve listed description of responsibilities for the groups and offered a weekly teacher-led discussion question. The students formed their own private groups on The Social Network and invited Eve (and sometimes me) to join their closed space.

On their group page, students addressed Eve’s weekly question, posted and responded to their own questions and comments inspired by the book, and maintained two pages: Quotations and Vocabulary. On the Quotations page, students took turns choosing and posting a quotation and an explanation about why it was chosen. On the Vocabulary page, students were required to write the word, an educated guess at its meaning, its part of speech, the actual definition, and an original sentence with the word.

Using Google Sites and Elgg for these projects meant that students were working in the cloud and could access their work from any location at any hour. Also, anytime they posted to their profile or to a group page, there was a time-stamp included that tracked who posted what and when. So, students are held accountable for their own work when working independently and/or within a small learning group. Win-win.

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