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Braving the Text Complexity Beast | Burkins & Yaris

Braving the Text Complexity Beast | Burkins & Yaris | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
In this post we look at the range of lexile levels recommended by the new appendage to Appendix A which provides supplemental research about text complexity.

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David Timbs's curator insight, March 12, 2013 8:31 PM

We all need to familiarize ourselves with this chart.  

Middle  School  English and Reading
Creating a love to read, write, speak, listen, view, and above all--think
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Teaching Persuasive Writing via the Common Core Standards

Teaching Persuasive Writing via the Common Core Standards | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

The Bottom Line
By the way, one of the most interesting things to discuss with students is the reason, the driving force, behind persuasive writing. What’s the goal here? Is it (a) Getting someone to agree with you, or (b) Persuading someone to take a specific action? What do your students think? What do you think? I would argue that it is both of those–but that neither is the primary purpose behind this complex genre. The real purpose of persuasive writing is to guide the reader through a complex set of issues so that he or she can make a good decision. Lindstrom’s article does that very well, by the way. I will never shop the same way again–and that’s quite an outcome, considering he only had one page to win me over.


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Click and Clunk-A 5 Step Reading Strategy for Students


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Beth Dichter's curator insight, March 19, 7:43 PM

This one page infographic provides a five step reading stategy for students using super heroes to help them become enaged. The five steps are:

Step 1: Preview the text for two to three minutes.

Step 2: Grab a pencil and read the passage aloud.

Step 3: What "clicked?"

Step 4: What "cluncked?"

Step 5: Put fix-up strategies into play.

Suggestions are provided in all but Step 2. Consider printing a copy of this out and using it as a poster in your room...or perhaps sending a copy home with students whom might need additional support!

Kate JohnsonMcGregor's curator insight, March 20, 5:25 AM

In our pursuit to make literacy skills accessible, this quick, 5-step infographic has appeal.  

Reading Power's curator insight, March 23, 7:15 AM

This certainly infuses power in reading. What are some of your favorite strategies?

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Engaging Middle School Readers

Engaging Middle School Readers | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

In middle school, we ask students to dissect texts and perform literary analysis. However, that does not mean that we have to limit how we assess their understanding of the books. If the desired learning objective is for students to . .

 

Demonstrate understanding of the plot elementsExplore the role of tone and themeIdentify significant scenes or events and their impact on the storyAnalyze a character and show an understanding of that character's motivationsExplain the relationship between the author's life and the story

. . . does it have to be an essay or book report?



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Common Core in Action: Narrative Writing

Common Core in Action: Narrative Writing | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
There is a panic amongst writing teachers that is based on the myth that our baby, narrative writing, is shunned by the Common Core standards. I'm here to encourage everyone to take a deep breath an
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Interesting take on narrative...especially hyperlinking

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Middle School Language Arts

Middle School Language Arts | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
Do your students struggle to write with detail? Are their descriptions limited, lacking in specifics or uninformative? If so, you can help your students write more engaging and elaborate pieces by teaching the following strategies for elaboration.

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18 Free LessonCasts to Improve Reading in the Middle School

Because we believe professional development should be immediately relevant and actionable, we have also prepared a set of 18 lessoncasts on teaching reading strategies to middle school students, including handouts and lookfors. Enjoy our gift to you!


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Teaching Reading in the Digital Age

Teaching Reading in the Digital Age | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
What does it really mean to teach reading in a digital age? It means teaching both ways and also in new ways. It means going back to school and learning to read along with our students, in a world ...

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Lauren's curator insight, July 30, 2013 8:24 AM

Great thoughts for reading teachers 

Lynnette Van Dyke's curator insight, August 7, 2013 11:29 AM

Earlier this summer, following a deep dive into the paradigm shifting models of design thinking and gamification in education at the annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE 2013), I found myself settling in to a week-long study of the time-tested, best-practices pedagogy at the Reading and Writing Institutes at Teachers College, Columbia University. It felt a bit like inhabiting one portion of my brain and then taking up residence in an entirely different thinking space – both equally valid to my professional life. Searching for a way to reconcile my learning, I am left wondering most about what it means to be a reader today.

Common Ground

The educational visionaries at ISTE, who call for creating a radically different learning environment for today’s self-directed learners, can find surprising common ground with some of the basic tenets of the Lucy Calkins approach to teaching reading (at least as I understand it as a first-year attendee of the Reading Institute).

For both, student choice remains central to learning, whether students are choosing the books they want to read from a classroom library or researching how to modify classroom furniture for a project employing design theory.Another crossover, the role of the teacher as coach who provides mini-lessons on learning strategies, might succeed as easily with a teacher seated at a chart and easel as with the digital-age teacher who uses short flipped lessons to deliver directed instruction.Innovators who tout the merits of gaming as a way to fire up students about their learning, for — ISTE keynoter Jane McGonigal, for instance — surely must recognize how the storytelling narrative sparks engagement in a gaming environment; likewise, the Reading Workshop method employs “leveling up” strategies familiar to gamers to move students through “leveled” classroom libraries that present offer more challenges and require greater sophistication as a students gain mastery of reading skills.

Digital Readers Reading

What, then, does this mean for those of us who teaching readers today? I am still searching for answers to questions that won’t let go of me.

The Reading Institute puts a lot of emphasis on “eyes on print” time – that is, on classroom time given over to readers engaged in the act of reading. This requires creating a culture of readers with books in their hands and sticky notes at the ready for jotting questions and tracking observations (leading to critical thinking). As a teacher who recognizes that students read in digital contexts as well, I find myself wondering if “eyes on text” (eyes on media?) might be a better term. Or is it even the same thing?  My students are constantly reading as oodles of different kinds of text-based media cross their paths. Don’t we need to prepare them with the nuanced skills required to read in every way possible?My students who use tablets or e-readers for reading time love the easy access to digital dictionaries. This frees them to engage with their reading even more deeply. Are they absorbing vocabulary more thoroughly and accurately than the students who are too lazy or too engrossed to open a dictionary? Digital readers do not necessarily preclude commenting on texts. Students with e-readers can certainly annotate their reading with digital comments. Is this any different from the kind of critical questioning students do with pen in hand?My goal is to teach my students to develop a passion for reading, but I also want them to use any effective means that can help them go beyond the surface in their reading. I also recognize the value in sharing their ideas with others. Is there something magical about the handwritten (and easily sharable) sticky note comment favored by the Reading Institute, or can my students do just as well (better?) with a sticky note app like Popplet?The Reading Institute went to great pains to introduce lessons about the reading of nonfiction, acknowledging a new pedagogical emphasis on nonfiction in the Common Core. As a result, considerable (though not exclusive) attention at the Institute was given over to using historical fiction in classroom libraries and as “anchor texts” for mini-lessons. I want to go further. I would venture that most students don’t know enough about the variety of nonfiction forms to know the difference between what is basically made up (fiction) or basically true (nonfiction) – in my experience, they tend to see everything they read in terms of story. Students need to be able to read an article online and identify it as a blog or a news story or a reference source. They need to recognize rhetorical strategies like comparison or illustration and understand how they affect a reader. As my section leader at the Reading Institute stated, students need to question perspective and bias in every kind of writing. I wonder, are we really doing enough to address these skills in our classes?Reading also represents an intersection of design, image, and text. The picture book, at its best, uses each avenue of communication to the fullest. So I am excited to follow the Reading Workshop method and return to picture books and image-rich texts (online or otherwise) as a means of teaching reading skills. I also like how the Reading Institute breaks down the skills needed to deconstruct a page and address the increasing complexity of the relationship of image to text, as this builds from mere illustration to direct contradiction. How can teachers of reading in a digital context build upon this work? At the same time, how might we all step back and consider more thoroughly the elements of design and their relationship to meaning?Reading for pure pleasure is certainly something we still want to nurture – whether the children we teach are “trapped” by an engaging story (as one of my rising sixth-graders put it on a recent discussion board about his summer reading) or whether they follow the meandering path of their burgeoning curiosity by skipping from website to website (we used to call this browsing when we did it in libraries or bookstores). Still, what are the ways we can encourage our students to extend their reading – yes, by reading for depth and understanding in a traditional sense, but also by accessing auxiliary information available to us online, by following hyperlinks to make more connections, or by engaging in a rousing backchannel chat?At the same time, we certainly also need to teach students how to handle the distractions of reading in a digital context, just as we help them mediate the distractions of an antsy classmate or a nearby whispered tutorial. How can we do this if we never allow them to read on their own devices and in ways that are second-nature to them?

A New Generation of Readers

After participating in these two very different learning venues, I went off the grid and experienced three delicious days of beach reading. I felt the pull of the stories like the tide, and I gave into where they took me. I want my students to feel that. But since I’ve come home, I’ve caught up on my Twitter feed, read my personal and work emails, and browsed for articles related to the topic of this blog post. This is the kind of reading my students will do – and already do – on a daily basis.

What does it really mean to teach reading in a digital age? It means teaching both ways and also in new ways. It means going back to school and learning to read along with our students, in a world in which we are surrounded by text from which we must derive meaning.

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Common Core ELA Resources for Middle School Educators

Common Core ELA Resources for Middle School Educators | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
Many teachers this year are updating existing curriculum for the Common Core. And it's going to be a long process for everyone.

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How English Teachers Can Easily Address the CCSS

How English Teachers Can Easily Address the CCSS | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

With many schools now taking a look at their curriculum and assessing how to best meet the needs of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) one of the most poignant realizations is the increased demand for critical thinking.

 
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Mary Clark's curator insight, October 25, 2013 7:20 AM

An excellent post to share with teachers and administrators! Increasing the reader task to emphasize critical thinking--brilliant summary of a key element of the Common Core.

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A Search Engine for SMART Notebook Files

A Search Engine for SMART Notebook Files | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

Google Custom Search allows anyone to create his or her own search engine. The benefit of this is that you can create a very subject specific search environment. One such use that I found through The Whiteboard Blog is a SMART Notebook search engine. As you would expect from the name, the SMART Notebook search engine is designed to help you find resources designed for teaching with SMARTBoards.


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Beth Dichter's curator insight, October 23, 2013 4:36 PM

If you have a SMARTBoard you may want to check out this Google Custom Search Engine that allows you to search only for resources (in this case designed for SMARTBoard). There are many excellent resources available and how you may be able to find them more quickly.

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Do Your Students Know How To Search? - Edudemic

Do Your Students Know How To Search? - Edudemic | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
There is a new digital divide on the horizon. It is not based around who has devices and who does not, but instead the new digital divide will be based around students who know how to effectively find and curate information and those who do not.

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Christine Bushong's curator insight, October 21, 2013 7:12 AM

These are information literacy skills: how to find, access and use information.

Pamela Perry King's curator insight, October 21, 2013 9:09 AM

The Big Six taught me a lot on how we assume kids can skim and scan.  We need to take more time to show them how to search.

josé krijnsen's curator insight, December 4, 2013 11:07 AM

do your students know how to search, find and curate information?

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Word Sense - See the Connections Between Words

Word Sense - See the Connections Between Words | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

"Word Sense is a neat little service that is one part dictionary and one part thesaurus. When you enter a word into Word Sense it will show you the definition(s) for the word as well as the connections to associated and similar words. You can see any of the definitions of the connected words by simply clicking on them to pop-up a definition."


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Beth Dichter's curator insight, September 28, 2013 5:58 PM

Check out this new tool (to me) that Richard Byrne posted on his blog. Word Sense provides students with another way to learn and reinforce vocabulary words. Not only does it show definitions of the word as you mouse over and click on  other words you will see their devitions. It will also tell you the part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.). The About section  on Word Sense states:

Search and explore word meanings and relationshipsInteractive figures connect related wordsFind more specific or less specific synonymsImprove your writing by discovering more descriptive wordsHyponymy and hypernymy exposed - look it up!Host thesaurus parties and use words to make new friends100% recycled word

Learn new words, see words in context, gain a better understanding of vocabulary, find new descriptive words...what do you think your students might do with this site? How might you use it within a lesson?

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CCSS: Write More - Grade Less - by Mike Schmoker

School and District Improvement, Assessment, Curriculum and Staff Development Consultation (Worried about grading all the writing called for in CCSS?
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Thinking Critically - A Student Toolkit

Thinking Critically - A Student Toolkit | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

"Understand what critical thinking means and how critical thinkers think. Learn to express yourself clearly and develop a balanced argument."


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Beth Dichter's curator insight, April 7, 4:55 PM

This site provides a range of materials to help students learn critical thinking skills. The resources include:

* A video that helps guide you on ways to improve your critical thinking skills.

* An infographic (see image above) that helps you visualize the questions to consider asking.

* Top Tips for Critical Thinking - Five tips are provided with additional information under each. 

* An Apply Section which has three questions that students may answer.

* Enhance Your Wellness - learn a few tips that will help your mental and physical health that may allow you to improve your focus and your grades.

There is a lot of excellent information in this post. Although it is geared to college students much of this may be used in upper elementary, middle and high school.

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Reading Standard 10 - Lexile Ranges Across Grades

Reading Standard 10 - Lexile Ranges Across Grades | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

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Joseph Hill Ed.D's curator insight, January 23, 6:22 AM

Levels and Lexiles for Leaders

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5 Online Games That Teach Kids the Art of Persuasion

5 Online Games That Teach Kids the Art of Persuasion | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
Sure, games can teach gravity or supply and demand, but can they show us how to build a good argument? The following five games do just that by modeling the work of argumentation.

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Beth Dichter's curator insight, December 20, 2013 6:30 PM

This post discusses five games that help student develop critical thinking skills and to build good arguments. The games are:
* Quandary - This game has you develop a colony in outer space. Students need to help settle disputes and solve problems.
* Citizen Science - Another game that requires you to use persuasive skills to help solve problems but these problems are related to science.
* Argument Wars -This game is part of iCivics. Students "use their persuasive abilities by arguing a real Supreme Court case". This site provides resources including lesson plans and worksheets as well as a teacher's guide.

* The Republia Times - A game that typically takes 10 minutes or so, the student becomes the editor of a paper and has to curate the front page.

* Papers, Please - In this game the student is an immigration officer in a ficticious country and must make decisions based on evidential arguments presented.

More information on each game is available in the post as well as links to each.

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, December 21, 2013 4:46 AM

While technology changes quickly, new avenues open all the time for learning and education.

Our economy changes as well, from a world of manufacturing and fulfilling basic needs, to  highly specialized products and services created in quickly evolving technology and social media.

Startups are becoming an economic model that allow new ideas to develop and being injected into mainstream business.

The way we educate ourselves and our children changes thoroughly. Almost from the day our children are born they get very different toys than we did. They learn how to think in new ways.

Games  better teach us some great skills. This is a great article. Good to see how education evolves with technology.

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Literature in Lexile - Only One Dimension of Text Complexity

Literature in Lexile - Only One Dimension of Text Complexity | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

Literature in Lexile Harvard Crimson To the credit of the CCSS for English, “quantitative dimensions of text complexity” are only one third of the CCSS methodology of text evaluation—the other two are qualitative dimensions of text complexity and...


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ANTHOLOGIES – FREE – 12 Common Core Essentials: Literature: Selections from New and Classic Books for the English Language Arts Standards for Middle and High School | Free Kindle Books

ANTHOLOGIES – FREE – 12 Common Core Essentials: Literature: Selections from New and Classic Books for the English Language Arts Standards for Middle and High School | Free Kindle Books | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
#FreeKindleBook #freebook #free ANTHOLOGIES - FREE - 12 Common Core Essentials: Literature: Selections from ... - http://t.co/X4oKrqyPwd

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A Question on Text Complexity

A Question on Text Complexity | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

Tim Shanahan on Literacy

 

If the issue is teaching reading, then matching text complexity with student reading levels is NOT the issue. That’s where guided reading and similar schemes go wrong.Placing students in more challenging books is a good idea because it increases opportunity to learn (there is more to figure out in challenging texts). This is important since our kids do not read effectively at high enough levels.Increases in text difficulty levels need to be coordinated with increases in the amounts and quality of scaffolding, support, encouragement, and explanation provided by the teacher.

 


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Mel Riddile's curator insight, February 7, 2013 8:19 AM

Key Point on Increasing Rigor:


Instead of asking what book level to teach someone at, teachers should ask, “If I place a student in a book this challenging, how much support will I need to provide to enable him/her to learn from this text?" 

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3 Strategies to Improve Student Writing Instantly

3 Strategies to Improve Student Writing Instantly | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
Guest blogger Ali Parrish, educator and ed tech consultant, provides three strategies, low-tech and high-tech, for breaking through students' brain freeze when faced with the dilemma of what to write.
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Designing Media-Based Assignments

Designing Media-Based Assignments | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
This website helps college teachers develop, deliver, and assess assignments incorporating images, video, and sound.

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Designing for Learning's curator insight, December 2, 2013 8:34 PM

The media capabilities of student devices (including but not limited to iPads) open up a diverse spectrum of rich assignment formats. This Notre Dame site contains helpful exemplars and instructions for those starting out in this new field of both formative and summative assessment.

Malin Fölster's curator insight, December 7, 2013 5:37 AM

Wow denna sida var sååå bra. Jag förlorade mig själv på denna sidan idag! :))) 

brendasherry's curator insight, April 21, 6:58 AM

Awesome collection of ideas and exemplars...

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The Inquiry Process - A Great Visual

The Inquiry Process - A Great Visual | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

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Peg Gillard's curator insight, October 27, 2013 6:51 PM

We are so far removed from inquiry based classrooms that curiosity is but a shadow. Students wait to be fed the learning, which isn't true learning if it is fed. True learning comes from asking our own questions and setting out on a quest to unravel the riddle we have created. 

Drora Arussy's curator insight, October 28, 2013 1:10 PM

wonderful visual for the inquiry process - for educators and to share with students.

OCM BOCES SLS's curator insight, November 7, 2013 10:24 AM

Great graphic for inquiry learning

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Common Core recognizes three tiers of vocabulary

Common Core recognizes three tiers of vocabulary | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

3 Simple Tools to Support the CCSS Academic Vocabulary Shift

Getting Smart

 

by Susan Oxnevad -

 

The Common Core identifies six instructional shifts needed to effectively implement the standards in ELA/Literacy. Shift 6 suggests an instructional change in
the teaching of Academic Vocabulary.


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Mel Riddile's curator insight, September 4, 2013 6:24 AM

For many schools explicit vocabulary instruction may represent a quick-win in building literacy skills. Teachers already teach Tier 1 and Tier 3 vocabulary. Tier 2 vocabulary should be the focus of school wide efforts to improve reading and literacy skills.


The Common Core recognizes three tiers of vocabulary.

Tier 1

Words acquired through every day speech, usually learned in the early grades.

Tier 2

Academic words that appear across all types of text. These are often precise words that are used by the author in place of common words. (i.e. gallop instead of run). They change meaning with use.

Tier 3

Domain specific words” that are specifically tied to content. (i.e. Constitution, lava) These are typically the types of vocabulary words that are included in glossaries, highlighted in textbooks and address by teachers. They are considered difficult words important to understanding content.

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How To Add Rigor To Anything

How To Add Rigor To Anything | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

"

"Rigor is a fundamental piece of any learning experience.

It is also among the most troublesome due to its relativity. Rigorous for whom? And more importantly, how can you “cause” it?

Barbara Blackburn, author of “Rigor is not a 4-Letter Word,” shared 5 “myths” concerning rigor, and they are indicative of the common misconceptions: that difficult, dry, academic, sink-or-swim learning is inherently rigorous.

Myth #1: Lots of Homework is a Sign of Rigor
Myth #2: Rigor Means Doing More
Myth #3: Rigor is Not For Everyone
Myth #4: Providing Support Means Lessening Rigor
Myth #5: Resources Do Not Equal Rigor"


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Kathy Lynch's curator insight, September 27, 2013 9:38 PM

Thanks Beth!

Hanya Lamp's curator insight, September 29, 2013 10:31 AM

Rigor is not "more of it;" it's scaffolding towards greater complexity.

David Baker's curator insight, September 29, 2013 3:48 PM

10 steps and Myths for Rigor will be a really good conversation at PIE.

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Copyright Infringement: 5 Myths vs Facts | Visual.ly

Copyright Infringement: 5 Myths vs Facts | Visual.ly | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it
We're in the middle of a Copyright Infringement epidemic happening on the Internet right now. Copyright is misunderstood and as a result webmasters an

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Jennifer Hurley-Coughlin's insight:

good to use with research intro

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Beth Dichter's curator insight, October 1, 2013 5:53 PM

Check out this infographic to learn five myths and five facts about copyright. Consider mixing them up and asking your students to try to determine truth from fiction. And ask your students to review it before they begin to do research online.

Kimberly House's curator insight, October 3, 2013 11:01 AM

A good info graphic to remind both students and teachers. It's a good starting point.

 

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Smithsonian Finds E-readers Makes Reading Easier for Those with Dyslexia

Smithsonian Finds E-readers Makes Reading Easier for Those with Dyslexia | Middle  School  English and Reading | Scoop.it

"As e-readers grow in popularity as convenient alternatives to traditional books, researchers at the Smithsonian have found that convenience may not be their only benefit. The team discovered that when e-readers are set up to display only a few words per line, some people with dyslexia can read more easily, quickly and with greater comprehension."


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Marilyn Armstrong's curator insight, September 23, 2013 7:40 AM

I think as time goes on, there will be more discoveries like this!

Heather MacDonald's curator insight, September 23, 2013 8:20 AM

I love these kinds of advances.  For those of us who know of people who've struggled with language learning challenges this is a great discovery. Language leaning problems create way too many other personal and social problems for children who then grow to be adults with problems unless they are diagnosed and helped.

Way to go Smithsonian researchers!

Sharla Shults's curator insight, October 2, 2013 2:41 PM

The wonders of modern technology never cease!