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Enabling the CCSS version of exemplary adolescent literacy.
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State Common Core Websites: Every State in one LiveBinder

All of the states' Common Core websites in 1 place! (RT @mike_stein33: A #CCSS RESOURCE not to be missed! All of the state #CommonCore sites in one #Livebinder!

Via Darren Burris
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Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens | AdLit |

Multiple choice listening and vocabulary quiz about the popular English author Charles Dickens. Watch a short video, learn some vocabulary that Dickens introduced into the English language, and then complete a multiple choice quiz to test how much you have understood. Part of a series of free English lessons about British life and culture.

Via Sue Lyon-Jones
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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from 21st Century skills of critical and creative thinking!

Debate Forum | Online Debate Community | CreateDebate

Debate Forum | Online Debate Community | CreateDebate | AdLit |
Create Debate is an online debate forum that allows students and experts alike to debate a variety of topics and practice persuasive writing. Find your topic today!

Via Stevi Quate, Lynnette Van Dyke
Stevi Quate's curator insight, February 12, 2014 3:38 PM

Here's a fun site where students can engage in debating topics online. Warning: some debates are adults only.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Professional Learning for Busy Educators!

How Can I Avoid Filler Words Like "Um" When I Talk? - Lifehacker

How Can I Avoid Filler Words Like "Um" When I Talk? - Lifehacker | AdLit |
Dear Lifehacker,I have a tendency to use a lot of filler words when I talk, like "um" and "like"...and I've recently realized how bad it sounds, especially during presentations at work. How can I train myself to eliminate these from my speech?

Via John Evans
John Evans's curator insight, February 12, 2014 9:45 AM

We have lots of students and perhaps colleagues too who could use these tips!

Scott Holcomb's curator insight, February 12, 2014 11:07 AM


Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Teaching, Learning, Growing!

Beyond English, best way to teach reading may vary - Futurity

Beyond English, best way to teach reading may vary - Futurity | AdLit |
Phonemic awareness is a common part of teaching children to read English, but researchers say it may not be ideal for other languages, such as Spanish.

Via Elaine J Roberts, Ph.D.
Elaine J Roberts, Ph.D.'s curator insight, February 11, 2014 4:24 PM

An interesting article on how we teach reading and, perhaps, how we might need to rethink that.

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AuthorTalk: Powered by Sopris Learning

AuthorTalk: Powered by Sopris Learning | AdLit |
Preview and download the podcast AuthorTalk: Powered by Sopris Learning on iTunes. Read episode descriptions and customer reviews.
Lynnette Van Dyke's insight:

17 literacy development podcasts are available.  These are aimed at connecting educators and administrators with authors, who share their inspirations, teaching tips, and research through informal conversations.  Just go to ; to select those podcasts needed.


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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

How Common Core Devalues Great Literature | Crisis Magazine

How Common Core Devalues Great Literature | Crisis Magazine | AdLit |
Many years ago, a prominent man wrote to one of his favorite authors about his latest book.  This man had been a soldier, a hunter, an athlete, an historian, and a social reformer, and was now employed in a post

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, February 10, 2014 11:31 AM

10 February 2014

A careful reading of my comments regarding Common Core State Standards for Reading Literature WILL reveal both concerns and  appreciation for their intent. In other areas of the CCSS the teeter-totter tips more towards an appreciation for efforts to assess  and hold accountable both the skill sets of students and teachers than it does in the area of reading literature. 


There are areas of English Language Arts for which the development of valid  assessment tools with acceptable margins of error is possible. Mechanics, Usage and Grammar  (MUG), vocabulary, decoding, and advanced literacy skills all have "variables." But, there are generally accepted "ranges" of best practices for these and other skill sets. Many are useful in both Informational Reading as well as in Reading Literature. However, if we distinguish between the intent of Informational Reading and the intent of Reading Literature, it becomes painfully clear that assessing the former with an acceptable margin of error is infinitely easier than assessing the latter with an acceptable margin of error.


Though, personally I take a more moderate view of the negative impact of Common Core upon Reading Literature, this article, emotion-laden as it often is, confronts the proverbial elephant in the room without blinking. 


But, perhaps the amplification of the concerns that CCSS might be so misdirecting attention away from the very reason we teach literary reading that it may well be the case that the CCSS may be destroying what we intend to be nourishing; that is the engaged and thoughtful and rewarding pursuit of humankind's most persistent questions. 


My moderate response? I'm not ready to throw out the CCSS for Reading Literature. Reading Literature is too important. But, I'm not ready to give up the hope that a recognition that the assessment of Literary Reading as it stands may be doing more harm than good.


Perhaps a reminder from Sir Ken Robinson is in order...

"Another problem is that in this country there is a culture of standardized testing based on right or wrong types of answers. However, if you are looking at someone's paintings, reading their poetry, or listening to music, then you are focusing on a whole array of factors. We have a tendency to make the measurable important versus the important measureable..."

Perhaps it's time to wonder whether or not the CCSS Smarter Balance assessment in its current form fails the test of successfully measuring what is actually important in the case of Literary Reading.




brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit





Reading Power's curator insight, February 12, 2014 9:24 PM

The debate continues

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Transforming Lives through Literacy

Transforming Lives through Literacy | AdLit |
Transforming Lives through Literacy

by Maureen McLaughlin and Marcie Craig Post  November 4, 2013

A Message from IRA President Maureen McLaughlin and IRA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post

IRA, like many other non-profit professional associations, has struggled in the current economic downturn. Our revenues have decreased, and our membership levels have declined. Moreover, we are experiencing a major demographic shift tied to start of baby-boomer retirement. Addressing these concerns has been a major focus of the IRA Board, executive director, and staff for the past several years.

As you are aware, the International Reading Association is in the midst of a major strategic effort designed to stabilize our operating revenues, realign our network of councils and affiliates, and restate our mission and goals to insure our continued operation and growth in a professional terrain that has been radically transformed by both digital technology and governmental mandates. 

Given the scope of the challenge, our planning efforts were not undertaken lightly. Last year a special strategic planning team comprised of past IRA presidents, IRA board members, and selected members of the IRA staff held an intensive two-day session to conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis. This team formulated a process for creating and implementing a new strategic plan that would pave our path to a sustainable future. The team also issued a mandate calling on the IRA staff to formulate the plan.

From the beginning of this effort, it was understood that the path to real success requires us to take considered steps in carefully planned sequence as new goals were established and new initiatives considered thereunder. Rather than rushing into change for change’s sake, our approach has been to appoint teams and committees that analyze the available data and carefully vet alternative approaches to arrive at the strongest possible foundations for building our future.

As conscientious stewards, we have been as open as possible about our progress. Last April at our annual conference in San Antonio, IRA’s executive director provided detailed briefings to many groups and committees, including a group of IRA past presidents, on the financial condition of the Association and the types of steps were taking to set a course correction for stabilization and future growth.

In June, a landmark council leadership academy was conducted in Minneapolis to assist state councils dealing with similar challenges. As the assembled attendees came to understand, realignment of the council network and IRA around membership options that provide increased value is an indispensable element of future success. Extensive coverage of the Minneapolis event was provided to the entire membership in the August/September issue of Reading Today.

Based on the groundwork laid at Minneapolis, planning for a new Council Transformation Initiative was undertaken this past summer with input from council leaders, staff, and legal counsel. The Initiative will climax later this month when the leaders of several councils who volunteered for a pilot program will participate in an intensive workshop that addresses critical operating issues, including incorporation, tax exempt status, bylaws, board member terms, member recruitment and retention, marketing, and social media. The goal is to make our councils stronger. We expect that one or two of the pilot councils will be presenting on this experience at the 2014 conference in New Orleans.

A special Cause, Mission, and Strategies (CMS) team was also formed in the summer consisting of the associate executive director of IRA and senior IRA staff. The CMS team was charged with drafting new internal and external messaging that would heighten the Association’s profile within the contemporary professional landscape and support a linked rebranding effort.

This team spent hundreds of hours reviewing IRA’s core strengths as its members strove to draft mission language that is contemporary and compelling, and that clearly and instantly communicates our cause to the professional literacy community, including practitioners and policymakers, and to the public at large. Expanding awareness in this way is essential if we are to attract new sources of financial support going forward. Part of this outreach also involved consideration of a name change for the Association.

Last week, at the October meeting of the IRA Board of Directors, many of these new initiatives were presented for board action. We are pleased to inform you that the board approved major new changes for IRA, including most notably the following:

A new cause statement: Transforming Lives through LiteracyA name change: International Literacy Association

No doubt changes like these require fuller explanation over time, as well as a “break-in” period. What we wish to note in this inaugural communication is that while reading remains at the core of our mission and purpose, the broader term “literacy” has the advantage of being less reductive. It imparts without more the reality that literacy professionals deal with a cluster of skills that also include speaking, listening, writing, and presenting.

By making this change—which many other literacy-focused associations have already done—we communicate more broadly the depth of our research base and our members’ instructional expertise.

Many other important steps were taken as well concerning such matters as governance, membership options, council support, and conference program rules. In the coming weeks and months, all of these changes will be explained at length in a series of updates that will come to you in special management reports, topical e-blasts, and Reading Today coverage.

We urge you to read these follow-up communications in detail so that you will fully understand the background of these changes, the deliberations that occurred in developing them, and the advantages we believe will be realized by adopting them. Until you have all of the facts, an informed perspective is not possible and any criticism would in fact be premature.

In this first message about what is to come, we wanted you to know that we are thrilled at the future prospects we see for the Association. We look forward to hearing from you and engaging with you as these new initiatives are rolled out over the rest of the year. Most of all, we want you to know that we are honored to have the privilege of supporting you, our members, in the great work of advancing the cause of literacy. With your support, we will honor our past as we build IRA’s future.


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Annotating Online: Reading and Writing the Web

Annotating Online: Reading and Writing the Web

by Chris SloanFeb 7, 2014

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like today’s students are being asked to read more nonfiction and compose more “informational” writing than ever.

The NCTE/IRA Standards for English Language Arts advocate for classrooms where students gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of print and nonprint sources (Standard #7). The Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard for Reading (#1) asks students to “cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.” The CCSS Anchor Standards for Writing (#7-10) stress that students need to be able to conduct short and more sustained research using multiple print and digital sources and to participate in shared research projects.

If your students are like mine, most of them are doing the majority of their research online. And, if yours are like mine, they could use a little help. I’ve found that my students appreciate being introduced to tools that help them manage and organize the information that they’re finding. The good news is that there is a plethora of new tools available. Recent IRA TILE-SIG blog posts have touched on some useful applications for annotating online text. In “Using Apps to Extend Literacy and Content Learning,” Jill Castek discussed the app DocAS, as a way to mark up reading materials to show students’ emerging ideas. And in “Literacy Practices Through the UDL Lens, Part 2,” teacher Monee Perkins noted that her seventh grade students use Adobe Reader’s annotation feature to address complex text and provide them with another representation for text commenting.

I’d like to add a few online annotation tools that I’ve used in my teaching and in my own research that are worth a look.


My favorite new app to use with my students is Citelighter because it combines the ideas of social bookmarking, note-taking, and citation-managing with some promising teacher tools.

The students in my media production class used Citelighter to help them manage information they found while creating a Public Service Announcement about water use issues in our community. As each student in the group examined different perspectives on the issue, Citelighter’s browser toolbar allowed them to highlight, annotate, cite, and comment on important information as they found it. It even synced with their shared Google Doc so that their knowledge was constructed seamlessly (see graphic below). The students said that it made their collaboration easier. Additionally Citelighter’s citation feature formats sources in either APA, MLA, or Chicago style without the errors that happen on a lot of online citation formatting websites that my students have used in the past.

My students are excited about features that will streamline their own workflow, but there are some other things about Citelighter that interest me as a teacher. The student profile panel tells me not only the citations my students are generating in their research, but also how many sources they’re citing from. This helps me when conferencing with the students about ways that they might improve their research strategies.

Citelighter also creates a “Cognitive Print” of the students’ progress on a particular writing assignment. The image below shows the different ways two students approach the composition process while researching. Student 1’s Cognitive Print shows a more consistent pattern of copying from sources followed immediately by writing and annotating. Student 2’s Cognitive Print shows longer periods of gathering of information and then writing about that information in one bigger block of time. Neither approach to the research process is “right,” but this information gives my students and me something more to conference about, and provides more information for their own self-reflection.


Diigo is a social bookmarking service based on the idea that when you bookmark a website on your computer, it’s only useful if you’re actually on that same computer. Social bookmarks, on the other hand, carry over to any computer as long as you’re logged in to a service like Diigo or Delicious. But even more powerful is the fact that you can share your bookmarks with others, and you can see what other like-minded people are bookmarking. Features like this facilitate social scholarship. Some colleagues in the National Writing Project and I have our students discuss their digital compositions on Youth Voices, and sharing bookmarks through Diigo gave us another way to collaborate (see graphic below). For practical ideas on how to implement Diigo in classroom settings, see Ferriter and Garry’s book, Teaching the iGeneration.


Crocodoc converts Word or PDF documents to allow for collaboration via the web. Users can highlight key passages, share them with collaborators, and even send others the link to the annotated document. Crocodoc is similar to DocStoc or Scribd, but because it’s created with HTML5 (and not Flash) it works well not only with modern browsers, but also Apple’s iPads and iPhones. New York City teacher Paul Allison has his 7th graders use Crocodoc primarily to annotate readings and as another way to discuss course content.


When some members of my doctoral studies cohort and I were researching social media and civic engagement, we shared our findings with each other via Mendeley, a reference manager and PDF organizer. Mendeley is particularly useful for the kind of academic research done in graduate school. For example, when I would come across a journal article that I thought my collaborators would find useful, all I had to do was drag and drop the article on to the icon on my desktop; in addition to making it easier to share research, the program extracts the title, journal, keywords, and other relevant information. There’s a plugin available for Microsoft Word to make citing sources much easier in that application. Zotero also has many of these same features listed above. For an excellent example of Zotero in the college classroom, see Ballenger’s The Curious Researcher.

Educators have known about the benefits of active reading for a long time; reading research has shown what effective comprehension strategies can mean for learning. Some of the best pre-Internet teachers I’ve known had their students read with a “pencil in hand”—making notes in the margins of their pages, judiciously annotating key passages, composing their thoughts in dialectical journals, and then sharing their findings in classroom discussions. Students now are doing their research online, and the habits of mind that good readers have always brought to bear on text can be facilitated through the use of new applications.

Chris Sloan teaches high school English and media at Judge Memorial in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is also a PhD candidate in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology at Michigan State University. Join him on the Teachers Teaching Teachers webcast every Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time at


This article is part of a series from the International Reading Association Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG). 


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Benefits of reading books |

Benefits of reading books | | AdLit |

Several benefits of reading books.

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How to be a smarter reader

How to be a smarter reader | AdLit |
There's plenty of advice out there to help you read more – but what about how to get more from what you read? Here's how

Via iPamba
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Literary Criticism by Nikki Morrell on Prezi

Prezi for an introduction to literary criticism, which we will be using to evaluate a young adult novel.
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Jacqueline Woodson - YouTube

Jacqueline Woodson tackles tough issues head-on: race relations, foster care, and incarceration are just some of the issues that her characters confront, in ...
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America Achieves: EQuIP Resources

America Achieves: EQuIP Resources | AdLit |
This is a video and lesson resource project to assist teachers and principals around the nation. The video modules on this site exemplify the key shifts that the Common Core brings to classroom pedagogy.
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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Corridor of learning!

The corridor of uncertainty: Grey zones of openness

The corridor of uncertainty: Grey zones of openness | AdLit |

The latest unit of the course has taken me on a bumpy ride through the bewildering world of copyright and it has shaken a few of my comfortable preconceptions. Try if you like the case study which asks you to judge several aspects of a fictitious course on Shakespeare from a copyright point of view. The examples are typical of the types of resources that a teacher often includes in a course (regardless of whether it's online or face-to-face) and deciding whether or not the teacher is allowed to include various images, texts and videos in the online course material was sometimes extremely tricky, even after having read the course material on the subject.

Via Alastair Creelman
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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Common Core ELA | Literacy & Math!

Is Our Writing Improving?

Is Our Writing Improving? | AdLit |
How can we measure writing so students, parents, the community, and the teachers know that students are improving? If this is our definition of assessment, we have many options for measurement. If ...

Via Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, February 12, 2014 9:21 AM

Fran has true insight for instruction because she is a critical observer of practice. Her tips are supported by research and personal anecdote.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Using Technology to Transform Learning!

Is This the Future of Reading? MIT’s Experimental Sensory Book

Is This the Future of Reading? MIT’s Experimental Sensory Book | AdLit |
This new invention from the MIT Media Lab will no doubt be controversial. Readers strap themselves into a robotic suit equipped with sensors that literally make

Via Norton Gusky
Norton Gusky's curator insight, February 11, 2014 4:19 PM

Not sure how I "feel" about this new direction from the MIT Lab. Would you strap your child into something in order for them to have a sensory reading experience?

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I Like Big Books - Dowell Middle School - YouTube

Reading Awareness music video by Dowell Middle School, McKinney, TX. Air date: 12-2010
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Interpreting Texts, Making Meaning: Starting Small - Yale National Initiative

Interpreting Texts, Making Meaning: Starting Small - Yale National Initiative | AdLit |

The Yale National Initiative to strengthen teaching in public schools, which builds upon the success of a four-year National Demonstration Project, promotes the establishment of new Teachers Institutes that adopt the approach to professional development that has been followed for more than thirty years by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.

Established in 1978, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, an intensive and sustained collaboration among Yale faculty members and public school teachers, is the premier partnership between Yale University and the New Haven Public Schools. The first such university-school partnership to be permanently endowed as a unit of a university, it is a widely recognized model of high-quality teacher professional development. In 2004, after the successful testing of this model in a four-year National Demonstration Project, the Institute launched the Yale National Initiative to strengthen teaching in public schools. The Initiative is a long-term endeavor to establish in most states Teachers Institutes that will provide state and local policy makers effective examples of the innovative Institute approach in their own communities.


The Teachers Institute Approach

Teachers Institutes focus on the academic preparation of school teachers and on their application in their own classrooms of what they study in the Institute. By linking institutions of higher education with urban or rural school districts where the students are mainly from low-income communities, Institutes strengthen teaching and learning in public schools and also benefit the institutions whose faculty members serve as seminar leaders. Each Institute also helps to disseminate this approach, encouraging and assisting other institutions and school districts as they develop similar programs in their own communities.

A Teachers Institute places equal emphasis on teachers increasing their knowledge of a subject and on their developing teaching strategies that will be effective with their students. At the core of its program is a series of seminars on subjects in the humanities and sciences. Topics are suggested by the teachers based on what they think could enrich their classroom instruction. In the seminars, the university or college faculty members contribute their knowledge of a subject, while the school teachers contribute their expertise in elementary and secondary school pedagogy, their understanding of the students they teach, and their grasp of what works in the crucible of the classroom. Successful completion of a seminar requires that the teachers, with guidance from a faculty member, write a curriculum unit to be used in their own classroom and to be shared with others in the same school and other schools through both print and electronic publication.


Throughout the process seminar leader and teachers are colleagues. Unlike conventional university or professional development courses, Institute seminars involve at their very center a collegial exchange of ideas among school teachers and university or college faculty members. The teachers admitted to seminars, however, are not a highly selective group, but rather a cross-section of those in the system, most of whom, like their counterparts across the country, did not major in one or more of the subjects they teach. By including teachers of kindergarten through twelfth grade, the Institute promotes articulation of curriculum throughout a school system, as well as interdisciplinary teaching and curriculum, in which teachers of the earlier grades particularly can assist teachers in the later grades who have tended to specialize in one or two subjects. The Institute approach assumes that urban or rural public school teachers can engage in serious study of the field and can devise appropriate and effective curricula based on this study.


Articles of Understanding have been developed to provide the constitutional grounding for Teachers Institutes that adopt this model. Although listed as separate Articles, they are interrelated elements of an organically unified approach. Each is accompanied by Procedures for its implementation. The Understandings and Procedures define the Teachers Institute approach and distinguish it both from conventional professional development offerings of school districts and from traditional continuing education and outreach programs of colleges and universities. 



Lynnette Van Dyke's insight:




To strengthen teaching in public schools, the Yale National Initiative offers teachers a rich array of thousands of free curricular units )written by public school teachers who have participated in their summer local and national Teacher Institutes. The units are well done and have been vetted in the classroom. They include inspiration for teaching each unit, detailed objectives, analysis, plans, and resources on a wide range of topics in the humanities.


Under the topic Interpreting Texts and Making Meaning: Starting Small, we found a unit written by Jo Stafford, a teacher in Tulsa, Okla., who introduces students to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. California teacher Wm. Miles Greene offers a unit designed to reach the learner's head and heart in Teaching Tone, Mood and Purpose through the Interpretation of Activist Poetry.


To find other lessons written and used by language arts, math, science, art, music, and history teachers, check out the listing of topics (offered by year. If you dig a little, no telling what you may find.

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For the Sake of Argument: Writing Persuasively to Craft Short, Evidence-Based Editorials

For the Sake of Argument: Writing Persuasively to Craft Short, Evidence-Based Editorials | AdLit |
In this lesson, we offer suggestions on how to guide students through the process when writing editorials — from brainstorming a topic to publishing their work — and all the steps in between.

Via Pippa Davies @PippaDavies
Pippa Davies @PippaDavies 's curator insight, February 10, 2014 1:11 PM

Persuasive writing tips for editors in the making!

ozziegontang's curator insight, February 21, 2014 3:52 PM

How to write rightly. 

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Collaborative Storytelling and More with Instagram

Collaborative Storytelling and More with Instagram

By Laren Hammonds  February 6, 2014

As residents of Alabama, my students and I rarely experience much in the way of snow. A few flakes are a treat, and any accumulation has the potential to be an event. In the midst of the snow days resulting from last week’s wintry weather, a colleague suggested via Twitter that students would likely have stories to share from their snow-and-ice-capades. Other teachers joined the online conversation, and a few tweets later we had a plan for collecting and sharing their experiences with each other and with the world. We spread the word through Edmodo, Twitter, text messages, and Instagram itself, asking our school community—students, teachers, and parents alike—to share their stories through a photo and a six-word memoir. Our chosen storytelling platform: Instagram.

Getting Started with Instagram
We selected Instagram because it is both widely used already and user-friendly for beginners and because it allows for the sharing necessary for a successful community event. To start using Instagram, first download the app, which is available for iOS or Android, then create an account. When signed in, users can take photos using the app itself or import photos already in their device’s camera roll. Instagram allows a limited degree of photo editing, including cropping and adding filters, and adding a caption is the final step before sharing a photo on Instagram and in other spaces such as Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Instagram Video
In addition to photos, Instagram also allows users to film short videos, up to fifteen seconds in length, and post them using the same method used for posting photos. Much like the photo options, there are some options for minor editing and filtering of videos once their shot.

Using Hashtags
You may choose to follow other Instagram users within your school or community, and others may follow you. However, hashtags offer a way to connect your posts with others’ without the need for a follow. For example, our school uses the hashtag #RQMSJags to connect social media posts. For our snow day storytelling, we asked participants to include #RQMSJags in their photo captions, so a search for the hashtag on Instagram would yield all the relevant posts. You might develop a similar hashtag for your entire school or choose instead to create a class, grade-level, department, or event hashtag for your purposes. Whatever you choose, communicate your desire to use a hashtag to ensure that all participants’ posts are included in the ongoing conversation.

Collecting Instagram Posts
At times it may be helpful to gather a collection of related Instagram posts in one place for easy viewing and sharing. Storify is the perfect tool for this job. Users can log in to Storify using an existing Facebook or Twitter account or create an account on the Storify website, then search for and collect desired posts across social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+. The collection of posts can be rearranged, and edited to include a title, story description, and headers to guide readers along the way and then shared via a link or embedded on a website or blog. See our collection of snow stories below.

Instagram may be used as a platform for documenting a shared experience like our snow days or a school field trip. However, there are other options for utilizing this tool for storytelling purposes. Instagram photos can serve as writing prompts with students building collaborative stories in the comments or writing individual stories elsewhere. Posts might offer teasers for upcoming class content or ask students to make predictions about future events in a novel, as well. 

Grammar and Vocabulary Practice
As part of ongoing grammar and vocabulary studies, I often ask students to seek out examples of word usage or common errors “in the wild”—on signage around town, in their favorite publications, and online. Instagram offers an easy way for students to document these sightings and share them with me and with their classmates. Additionally, students can post photos that demonstrate understanding of new vocabulary or literary devices and practice vocabulary usage or grammatical forms through comments in response to posted photos.

Other Uses for Instagram
Instagram is a flexible and powerful tool that allows for a wide variety of uses. In addition to those mentioned above, it can be use for showcasing student work, sharing daily activities within a class or whole school, and much more. Please share your ideas for using Instagram in the comments section below.   

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Vocabulary Instruction: What's in a Word?

Vocabulary Instruction: What's in a Word? | AdLit |
What’s In a Word? On Vocabulary Instruction

by Kathleen Stern


As a middle school reading teacher, I constantly find myself thinking, “If my students knew the meaning of more words, they would be better readers.” I am not alone in this sentiment. Many teachers ask themselves and one another, “How can we help our students learn more words, increase their reading volume and improve their comprehension?” There are only 24 hours in a day and students get one to two hours of ELA instruction at best.


I have tried to strike a balance with vocabulary and chip away at my concerns.

Via Mel Riddile, Jennifer Cimini, Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry
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Can you be too intelligent?

Can you be too intelligent? | AdLit |
Julian Baggini: Our brains are incredible but you can be too smart for your own good. History often warns against what reason alone commends
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Jacqueline Woodson - 2013 Jane Addams Book Award - YouTube

Jackie Woodson accepting the 2013 Jane Addams Children's Book Award for her book Each Kindness (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin). The event took place in New Yor...
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