Worth taking a look..and joining an amazing community of educators–Digitalis

DigitalIs ….sponsored by the National Writing Project, is a current favorite to visit and I have also joined (free, of course!) and will likely contribute, as well. Every resource, collection, reflection, story, inquiry, is of highest quality, as can be expected from the NWP. I encourage you to visit and look around. I am certain you will find something of tremendous value to support your own digital footsteps.

 The NWP Digital Is website is an emerging and open knowledge base created and curated by its community of members. We gather resources, collections, reflections, inquiries, and stories about what it means to learn and teach writing in our increasingly digital and interconnected world.

With a particular focus on digital literacy and Connected Learning, NWP Digital Is invites all educators (in/out of school, across all levels and disciplines, modes and modalities!) to join and share work, reflections and practices. (digitalis.nwp.org)

Honoring great writing!

If you are a teacher, and seek fabulous samples of quality writing, here’s one for you. I love this blog piece (from another wordpress blogger) for four reasons: 1–The obvious–it’s simplicity and flow kept me engaged; 2-The writing is first person, and first person writing samples should be presented to students as often as you can find them; 3-It’s writing of a place—some of our best writing centers on a place–perhaps a place we know well, or a place, as in this blog entry, we anticipate with fervor, and 4–Great example of digital writing where photography speaks as loudly as words. Perhaps you will share in my delight with this link below, and find possibilities in sharing, as well, with your middle grade students.

Bog at the end of the world


The videos below were created on Animoto where educators can get a free 183 day account for you and/or students to create videos. What a quick and easy way to start digital storytelling! Animoto videos, without your free educator code can run 30 seconds. With your code, around 3 minutes. I assign an Animoto video project for my university preservice teachers as a way to experience digital storytelling.

For your viewing below are three projects that I created. One is titled Domino, and the explanation is below. The second is one I created as a demo for my preservice students–on Mind Mapping. The third one is an intro video that I made prior to meeting my students this fall. This is a GREAT way for students to introduce themselves.

The possibilities for using Animoto with writer’s notebooks are endless. Select an entry and develop it with images and selective text choices. It is the perfect medium for poetry as the Animoto slides do not offer many characters–students would need to condense text and work very thoughtfully on word choice.

If you “youtube” Animoto, you will find that many teachers have students use the videos to create “trailers” for novels they have read. What a great alternative to the more traditional book talk. Create curiosity, yet don’t give the ending away…

So many more possibilities!!! I’m sure you are thinking of some right now–if you are, send me your ideas!

About Domino….

Domino was the class guinea pig in my graduate student Anita’s first grade. Anita was enrolled in my Language Arts class and was keeping a writer’s notebook for the first time, as well as implementing writer’s workshop in her classroom. To build confidence of the emerging writers, she visited one writing group each day and composed a shared writing with them. One group wanted to write a story about Domino; other groups followed. The teacher suggested a “plot”–she wondered aloud…What do you suppose Domino does when we go home at 3:00…..? The end result was a class book about Domino’s “secret adventures,” with a chapter composed by each writing group. You might wonder why the text of the chapter pages is NOT in the children’s own writing….they insisted that the teacher type it up and spell it perfectly so that it looked like a “real” book. The video only allowed for me to share a couple of the pages from the Domino book.

Animoto is quick, easy, and allows for creativity. I made this clip in 15 minutes….

The Secret Adventures of Domino

Mind-Mapping is not just great fun because you get to color and draw–it is also a process used by many huge corporations as a way to think non-linearly, or “out of the box”–and an excellent alternative assessment.

Mind Map

..and..my Hello video

My Literate Life

Finally–saving BEST for last—a project one of my current students, Michelle, created–I think you will find it fascinating!

Stop Bullying