Friday Focus

February 5, 2016

Digital Tools for Inclusivity

As we know, increasing student engagement, especially in literacy, is our primary goal for the year. We are measuring this through a variety of authentic tools, including instructional walks, student surveys and interim assessments. One way to increase engagement is through the integration of technology within instruction.

In the current edition of Literacy Today (International Literacy Association), Detra Price-Dennis and Sarah Schlessinger highlight technology that "invites all members of the classroom to participate". These resources can allow for collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking to take place within teacher instruction & student work. Here are three categories of tools to consider:

Tools for collaborative learning (to learn from and with each other):

Google Docs: Students work on the same document and comment on each other's work.

Padlet: Students add images, video, text, links, etc. simultaneously to this digital corkboard.

Voicethread: Create presentations with a team and add narration to the multimedia.

Coggle: Make mind maps online with the teacher and peers.

Coggle Tutorial - Introduction
Tools for universal design and multimodal representations (to provide multiple means of representation, action, and engagement)

Glogster: Create digital posters that can include text, video, audio, photos, and video.

iMovie: This video-editing iPad app allows students to create movies or book trailers.

Storybird: A story-writing site that gives students access to professional illustrations.

Educreations: Students can draw and narrate on a topic of their choice. (image below)

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Tools for accessibility (To accommodate and modify for students to fully participate):

Read&Write: Use this set of tools for speech-to-text, text-to-speech, and word prediction.

Newsela: A database of current news articles written at a range of reading levels.

Readability: This app removes the web ads and images for an easier reading experience.

Nearpod: A platform that allows teachers to input content for students to interact with.

Nearpod: a discussion setting where kids are interacting
The authors close the article with a few questions to consider:

  • How can I naturalize the use of digital tools?
  • Is this tool necessary and beneficial?
  • How does this tool help to develop fluency and analytical skills?
  • How does this tool position my students as producers of knowledge?

They also end their piece by noting that "apps cannot do all the work. Good teaching is always key." If you do try out one of these tools out or would like some support setting it up within your classroom instruction, let me know!

4th & 5th Grade Student Leadership

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Mrs. Banser and Mrs. Bondioli regularly engage with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade student leaders in a variety of building and community activities. Here, students are stocking Room 155 with titles from Trade-a-Book for easier storage and access.

1st Grade Student Writing

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When possible, posting student writing at their eye level along with a brief description of the task is a smart way to celebrate kids' work. One of the first graders is reading the various descriptions of the snowman created by his classmates.

3rd Grade World Studies

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Third graders worked hard to prepare presentations about an individual country. In the exhibit pictured above, students in Mrs. Bodette's classroom are sharing multiple forms of information about the culture of Brazil with peers from Mrs. Smith's room. Choice, audience, and student ownership were all a part of this project.


"I think my attitude is done now." - What a primary student shared with me after taking a short break

All Faculty Meeting

Friday, Feb. 12th, 8am

221 8th Street North

Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Purpose: Start conversation about peer coaching, model how the process could look