2nd Annual Digital and Media Institute at TCRWP

My head is still near explosion and trying to process all I learned while in NYC from Tuesday night through Sunday morning. But I will attempt to share a few take-aways here while it is fresh in my mind. I am sure later as I process it all more, I’ll have more to write.

* I am grateful to know a former colleague who now works at PS158. She invited me to spend time at her school on the day before the Institute. Seeing a project school was so helpful. My big take-away was the reminder that as the teacher in the room, I can make my walls match what the teaching points are. As I toured room by room, I stood in an empty room but knew what reading, writing and math units were being taught due to the anchor charts. Sometimes this has happened in my room but not ALL the time….this is something I can work on doing as a teacher.

* PS158’s hallways were filled with art (as an art festival just occurred) and filled with the process of writing. Artifacts from the whole writing process were placed on the bulletin boards. Also the writing checklists were color-coded and students had highlighted places where they did the thing on the checklist in that color on their writing paper. The 1st grade had added an index card stating: I am most proud of____. I loved seeing this intentional reflection on writing, another thing I can work on doing as a teacher.  

* Colleen Cruz, Lindsay Mann, Cornelius Miner and Kate Roberts led an amazing Institute!!

As few take-aways:
* They model the importance of SPYING on ourselves as a reader of digital text and media. What am I doing as I read an e-book, an internet site, a video? Why did I click or not click the hyperlink? As I read a site, do I know who the author is and what their angle is? What are they telling me and what is being left out? Where else can I go to get more information on this topic?

* Then once I know what I do as a reader / writer of digital text or media, then I need to use this to create my teaching points and teach my students!

ALL this reminded me of how in the 1990s, Ellin Keene was telling us to do the same thing with print in her groundbreaking book, Mosaic of Thought. I still fondly look to that book as the one that taught me to be aware of being an active reader. Now this institute pushed me to be more aware of ALL the ways we communicate now in the 21st century. As a teacher, I need to also spy on how I read and comprehend all the visual, auditory and printed material that is coming at all of us so fast.

I stored my notes HERE (full disclosure…this was my first institute that I took ALL my notes electronically. And I have not had time to return to them to reread and fix spelling! I also in many places typed – add photo – as I took a photo at that moment of the ppt slide and soon I plan to insert all my photos but as of now, still on the To Do List!  –   Also, I am still trying to understand google docs. I think by sharing this link, you can get to the file…if not, let me know.)

* As I teach, ask if there is a way to amplify what is being taught by using a digital or media resource. The idea is never to teach the computer application. The idea is to teach strong reading and writing workshop lessons using the kinds of resources that are at our fingertips now because of our phone and our computers. Amazing staff developer, Lindsay Mann shared an online article about Inky, an Octopus that escaped from the Aquarium. As she read it, we had so many questions about this news item. These questions, our curiosity, led us to find out more and more because we easily can, thanks to the internet! We found videos and an e-book and could start to form a better understanding across multiple texts. A BIG take-away is that I am now a reader that is always on the lookout for another angle to view my topic through!!

* Technology allows me to show my thinking in so many ways. I’m used to having my students do turn and talks and to stop and jot on a post-it note. This institute showed me two new resources to use to show my thinking: TodaysMeet and Padlet. Colleen modeled using TodaysMeet as she read Last Stop on Market Street. Yesterday, I did the same lesson with my 3rd graders!! Click HERE to view our TodaysMeet jots. (Note until May 2nd when the TodaysMeet room closes)

If you view our transcript, be kind and remember – this was our first attempt and some our jots were just being excited to write and post in a community. Also, I guess we need to discuss using emoji as some like it and some are distracted by it! But if you look beyond, I personally loved being able to take this printout home last night and notice how some can name a character trait with evidence and some can name a theme in the book. Seeing their responses helps as I plan the next read-aloud. Because my students all have an iPad in their hand, using TodaysMeet is a free, easy online tool that worked as a way to gather their thinking.

And a student today asked if after Independent Reading Time, if we could write on TodaysMeet about what we are reading!!!! I loved his suggestions so I quickly started a 2nd TodaysMeet session HERE. (I made this session opened for a month, thinking that it can almost be a “Status of the Class” digital check in for me).

I still need to process my notes more and keep trying things in my classroom. This institute was at the perfect time. I can try some things out right away (which can never happen when I attend Summer Institutes at TCRWP) but summer is almost here, giving me more time to process and plan.

My final take-away is that I am glad I volunteered to present an Ignite Session at the Institute’s Closing! I wrote about that HERE