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Journal of the
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LITERACY Professional Learning Network

International Society for Technology in Education Inaugural Issue
Spring 2015


Journal of the

LITERACY Professional Learning Network

International Society for Technology in Education Inaugural Issue
Spring 2015

Rights and Permissions

Submitting writers assure the journal that the works they provide for inclusion are their own and
present no infringements on any rights associated with them. Submitting writers assure that these
works are original and the property of the submitter (unless otherwise specified) and their
submission represents no violation of copyright or trademark or other variety of intellectual
property rights, anywhere. Submitting writers retain rights to their work, other than for inclusion
in this journal, for which they receive no compensation. All parties interested in reprinting or
republishing these works, in whole or in part, should contact the submitting writer directly. The
journal will not be responsible for rights issues or considerations associated with the works that
appear in it, which are the sole responsibility of the submitting writers. The sole purpose of the
journal is to promote the professional knowledge of educators, is free of any commercial
considerations, and does not seek to promote any products or services offered anywhere for
profit or other consideration.
Those interested in submitting articles for inclusion in this journal should first submit a summary
to:, putting the words Journal Article Summary in the
subject field of the email. On receiving feedback from the journal, prospective submitters may
complete and submit a full manuscript.

Editorial Committee
Mark Gura
Michele Haiken
BJ Neary

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1. Up Front
By Mark Gura - Page 4
2. Storytelling, Discussion, & Analysis: Twitter As a Classroom Tool for Middle
School Students
By Michele L. Haiken, Ed.D. Page 5
3. Video First: Presenting Content as Video before Presenting It as Text = Literacy
Learning Results
By Dr. Rose Reissman Page 13
4. Literacy in 3d
By Robert Quinn Page 20
5. Technology Transforms a Literacy Coachs Debriefing Session
By Susan Sabella! Page 24
6. A New, Dynamic Literacy Framework to Accelerate Literacy Learning
By Lynnea West Page 32
7. Persuasive Writing, Technology, and Animal Rescue
By Amanda Xavier Page 37
8. Turning Up the HEAT on Literacy: Making Connections with the CCSS and ISTE
by Evelyn Wassel, Ed.D. Page 43

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Up Front
This journal offers accomplished educators the opportunity to share in detail aspects of their work that
represent significant achievements and breakthroughs in working with students and colleagues.
Teaching and learning are now very much part of the Connected World, and more important than ever. As
much of the focus of todays curriculum is directed at preparing students to take their own place in that
world, it makes perfect sense for educators to participate directly, modelling ways that connecting
enhances their practice and ongoing professional learning and growth. Consequently, sharing ones
professional experience takes on more meaning that it did previously, as well.
Over the years, many have alluded to a Circle of Readers and Writers, a phenomenon in which readers
aspire to be writers, read to inform their writing, and eventually publish, impacting others who will read
their efforts and bring that into their own evolving development as writers. When people, and I suppose
teachers especially, have near instant access to a near limitless amount of reading material, a Mount
Everest of content that is easily self-personalized to reflect interests, fancies, and needs, this phenomenon
picks up momentum and moves at transformational velocity .
This has crept up on us rapidly through the emergence of Google and other modern search engines, and a
quickly growing body of the results of the basic human needs to listen and be heard that are realized
through Web Publishings ever widening body of methods and resources.
While all of us live in a world in which these things are true, not all yet see it, perceive its importance,
and embrace the opportunity and responsibility it represents.
Fortunately, the writers whove contributed articles to this issue of the journal do and have provided some
fascinating and important information and perspective.
In the near past, and to a large degree still, publishing online is seen as something of a lesser stature than
publishing in print. When we consider the aforementioned Circle of Readers and Writers, though, and
how this idea relates to Education and the means available to it to improve and move itself to the next
level, we can see that the opposite is true. Reading and Publishing online is a key method by which
Teaching is able to effect the changes that it needs to bring about. With that spirit and understanding the
Literacy Professional Learning Network is proud to publish this 3rd issue of Literacy Special Interest
Mark Gura, President
Literacy Professional Learning Network of ISTE

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Storytelling, Discussion, & Analysis: Twitter As a Classroom

Tool for Middle School Students
By Michele L. Haiken, Ed.D.
In 140 characters or less, meaningful conversations can occur. In my four years of using Twitter
as a personal professional development tool, I have learned from amazing people on Twitter and
collaborated with many educators around the world in order to improve my teaching and
strengthen my students learning. As result of my experience in utilizing this social media tool
for professional growth and learning, I knew that there was an opportunity for me to share this
technology with my students to empower them as readers, writers, and global citizens.
Twitter is a powerful online social media tool that allows people to engage in conversations and
discuss topics that are relevant to their lives. Ninety eight percent of my students are already
using social media and have personal computers, tablets, and or mobile devices. Twitter was a
technology tool that some were using socially, in addition to Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.
As their teacher, and a person who embraces technology in her classroom, I wanted to show my
students how we can utilize Twitter as an educational tool for learning and also promote positive
digital citizenship.
It all began when I read a blog post on The Nerdy Book Club blog by young adult author, James
Preller in November 2013 on the power of story and how stories are essential to our lives. I
was so moved by the blog post, I immediately bought his book Bystander, a fictional story about
bullying at a middle school in Long Island. As a middle school teacher, this topic is pertinent to
my teaching and my quest to promote empathy within school culture. As I devoured the book, I
realized that I wanted all my students to read Bystander and the power of its story as it relates to
our school and culture where bullying is a daily occurrence. Hence, I assigned Bystander as a
required reading for my eighth grade English students for their outside reading requirement. In
addition to reading the book, I wanted to engage my students in authentic discussions about the
book and share their responses, connections, and questions about the book. A huge proponent of
Twitter as a professional development tool, I required my students to participate in four Twitter
book chats after school hours to address the complex characters and issues raised in the book.
Since our lives are so packed with activities, homework and family time, I knew designating a
time to a Twitter-based conversation about the book would gain more participants in the outside
reading assignment.
My eighth grade students are required to read one outside reading book each quarter and
complete an assessment project on the book. My students who are interested in taking Honors
classes in High School are required to read two outside reading books each quarter and complete
two projects. I offer students a list of recommended titles the beginning of each quarter based on
genre (nonfiction, graphic novels, memoirs, etc.) or theme (World War II and social injustice
texts to align with Social Studies) for students to choose an outside reading book. Although,

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bullying is a topic that students are bombarded with in school with special assemblies and Health
classes, it was never a topic in our English class readings and discussions. I was so moved by
James Prellers Bystander and bothered by the covert bullying throughout the school I might see
or hear about that I decided that it would be an all grade read for my students. There were a few
complaints and groans when I introduced the book as a book about bullying in a middle school.
For the most part, the majority of my students enjoyed the book and the Twitter book chat
discussions even more.
When I introduced the assignment to my classes I included a reading schedule with set dates for
the Twitter chats meetings and a Twitter Permission Letter/ Code of Conduct to be shared with
their parents and guardians, to be signed and returned to me. I organized the Twitter book chats
weekly for forty five minutes for five consecutive weeks to discuss the text, share our thoughts,
make connections, and ask questions. I really wanted students to talk with one another about the
text, rather than just answer my questions I posted about the book. The Twitter permission letter
to families addressed my intentions and objectives in utilizing Twitter for this assignment. To
confirm that parents received and read the letter, I required parents and guardians and my
students to sign the letter and return it to me prior to the first Twitter book chat. Only the parents
of one student contacted me to tell me they were uncomfortable with their daughter accessing
social media for a school assignment. I respected their feelings and offered the student an
alternative assignment. Out of ninety-three students, I had over sixty students participating in the
Twitter book chats. The letter of consent shared with parents is below in Figure 1.

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Figure 1: Parent Permission Twitter Code of Conduct

Over the next two months, English 8R students who are working towards an A are required to
read Bystander by James Preller and participate in three Twitter book chats regarding the text. This
letter is to give you more information about the project and to address internet safety.
Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that is designed to allow acquaintances to stay in touch with each
other. Twitter was originally intended as a social networking tool, but it is quickly growing into a
wide variety of applications. For example, if you have a Twitter account, you might send a post
(called a tweet). Your friends who also have Twitter accounts can sign up to follow you. When
you send a tweet, all of your followers get a notice either via text message to their cellular device or
to a desktop computer program.
Besides the social aspects of Twitter, there are many possibilities. Businesses have made Twitter
accounts to alert customers to sales. Celebrities have made accounts to keep their fans up to date.
Radio stations & DJs have made Twitter accounts to allow listeners to send in questions,
comments, or to discuss the topics on the show.
So, what does this have to do with middle school English? In world of education technology,
Twitter is a hot topic. Many teachers are trying to integrate this technology into their classroom in
different ways. One of my personal passions is to explore and work with emerging technologies, so
I am using Twitter to help make my classroom better.
For this project I would like the students to create a Twitter account that they would use for school
purposes only. Three times between December and January, students will access Twitter to
participate in a Twitter chat. They will answer and raise questions about topics addressed in the
book Bystander by using the hashtag #RMSBystander.
Students will understand that they can partake in social media for educational purposes, and they
will learn to practice positive digital citizenship behavior.
The week before our first Twitter book chat I held a meeting after school to introduce Twitter to
the students and offer a how-to demonstration in setting up a Twitter account and using
Twitter. Each student was given a cheat sheet that covered the Dos and Donts of Tweeting and
explained an anatomy of a Tweet. I recommended students who already had a Twitter account to
make a new account specifically for our class project so that I do not have access to their pictures
from the weekend parties and other social media sharing they do with their friends. I was clear in
reminding students that we were using Twitter for educational purposes and that my own account
is for that, I do not share pictures of my family and food or discuss personal matters online. For
me, Twitter is strictly professional and used in a positive manner.
Students used a hashtag to follow the Twitter conversation and be included in the book chat.
Google defines a hashtag as a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to
identify messages on a specific topic. Our hashtag was #RMSBystander and with each new
book and Twitter chat we included a hashtag that included the book title and RMS, the initials

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of our middle school. Every time a student tweeted, he or she included the hashtag in their
Everyone had a voice on Twitter and no one was able to hide during the discussions. During the
Twitter book discussions students shared their own stories, made connections, and critically
addressed the issue of bullying in our school and society at large. I was impressed by their
honesty and keen awareness. I did start off the Twitter chat by asking questions for students to
respond to throughout the Twitter chat but that always lead to deeper conversations and
comments posted by my students responding to one another. The students werent just answering
the questions that I posed during the Twitter book chat but were also talking with each other in
an online environment, supporting and responding to each others ideas. I noticed that students
who might not talk to each other in class, face to face, were responding to each other online and
offering constructive discussions piggy-backing on each others ideas. Students learned that a
retweet was like a high five, pointing out an insightful comment and students looked forward to
me retweeting their comments or looked for one another to retweet in agreement or support.
Positive communication was modeled throughout the Twitter discussions.

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Figure 2: Excerpt of Twitter Book Chat for Bystander by James Preller

Dylan Urb @DylanurbRMS Jan 20
@eddiec0llins I agree punishment is only temporary so it doesn't really have any affect
Dennis K @Dennis_Kennelly Jan 20
@eddiec0llins I agree #rmsbystander
Gavin Kenny @GavinKenny6 Jan 20
@TeachingFactor @mhs3535353535 They can have informative assemblies like we have
Dylan Urb @DylanurbRMS Jan 20
@TeachingFactor @abbyforesman1 I think that the bullying in our school is hard to pinpoint. Its
either in whispers or online #RMSbystander
Eddie Collins @eddiec0llins Jan 20
#rmsbystander I don't think punishment in school really stops kids from being bad because
getting in trouble ups that kids bad reputation.
Samberg, Max @mhs3535353535 Jan 20
@TeachingFactor @GavinKenny6 they can make an effort but the kids decide the final outcome
Johannes Alvarez @JohannesAlvare2 Jan 20
#RMSBystander, yeah our school is not exactly perfect
Brian L @BrianLarkin2000 Jan 20
#RMSBystander @dylanurbRMS yeah people are ignorant and don't listen at the assemblies
sophie @sophie3murphy Jan 20
#RMSBystander I think more often than not teachers don't make anything better, that in the end
the kids can end it
Eddie Collins @eddiec0llins Jan 20
#rmsbystander @mhs3535353535 the kids are the ones who control the bullying because they
are the bullies, victims, and bystanders.
Amanda Engels @amandae7246 Jan 20
@TeachingFactor They definitely don't end bullying, but I think students start 2 realize the awful
effects it has #rmsbystander
The Teaching Factor @TeachingFactor Jan 20
Q6: Can teachers and schools help students end bullying? #RMSBystander
In reading the excerpt of the archived Twitter chat the students name appears along with their
twitter name or handle. A persons twitter handle begins with the @ symbol. My Twitter
handle is @TeachingFactor. My students used their own names or pseudonyms for their Twitter
identity. Below the persons Twitter identity and handle on the archived Twitter excerpt is the
actual tweet. On Twitter a tweet can be a maximum of 140 characters, including spaces and
punctuation. To be part of a specific conversation, a hashtag must be included in the Tweet.
Students included the hashtags with their Tweet so that everyone who is part of the conversation

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can view the Tweets, not just the Tweets of people they are following. Students also included
specific handles in their Tweets to directly address something to person said or asked in a prior
Tweet. In reading the excerpt, the tweets are chronological with the most current tweets on the
top. At the bottom of the excerpt is the question that I posed to my students. I label the questions
Q1, Q2, and Q6 is towards the end of our chat.
Students respond to me by including my Twitter handle (@teachingfactor) and also include the
handle of others they are talking directly with. At the end of the evening, I archived chat by
copying and pasting the entire chat in a Google Document on Google Drive. Another archived
tool is Storify (, a free online tool that archive Twitter chats and highlight the
top Tweets in a slideshow format, but for longer Twitter chats, I found that Google Drive was the
best tool for archiving all the Tweets generated throughout the Twitter Chats.
Student conversations on Twitter weaved in and out of the text with comments and side
conversations about our own school. Students admitted that bullying is a huge problem in many
schools across the United States, and our own school is not immune. Social media sometimes
becomes a means in which bullying takes place. But, by facilitating the Twitter chats, I wanted
to promote Twitter as a social media tool in a responsible and educational manner. I was
impressed by my students honesty about bullying in our school and shared the archived chat with
my school principal and school social worker to highlight the conversations that one teacher and
a her students were having about bullying and one book about bullying. My students were
excited about the Twitter book discussions and asked for more book discussions online. As one
of my students replied at the end of the chat, This chat allowed me to think of the reading in
new ways.
After the series of Twitter Chats on Bystander, our second Twitter book chat was with the book
The Wave by Todd Strasser. Written in 1981, The Wave is based on a true incident that occurred
in a high school history class in Palo Alto, California, in 1969. A high school teacher introduces
a new system into his classroom to promote learning and success and illustrates how
propaganda and peer pressure help Nazism rise in Germany in the 1930s. Students were studying
World War II in their Social Studies class and Strassers text helps to extend the conversations
about injustice and history outside of the classroom. Currently, my students are reading and
tweeting about I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World
(Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick. With each of the
books read and discussed students make connections and judgments across texts, drawing
conclusions, and sharing big ideas that surface from reading and conversing about the text. In our
Twitter chats the students are engaged and responding to one another. The Twitter book chats
help students monitor comprehension, merge their thinking with new ideas, react to, respond to,
and often question the information.
Twitter is one digital media tool that can be used effectively for discussing stories and the
powerful impact they have on our lives. Twitter also allows space for students to critically
discuss topics that are relevant to their lives and share stories, images, and other links to

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meaningful texts that address the same topics. Twitter helps extend classroom discussions
outside the classroom and for students to deepen their thinking through tweeting about reading.
Through my experiences using Twitter in the classroom, I have been able to capture the
richness of conversations and the complexity of experiences when sharing stories.

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Twitter Resources for Teachers

Kathy Schrocks Guide to Everything Twitter
A Teachers Guide to Twitter (Edudemic)
50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom via TeachHUB
EDUHACKERs Teaching with Twitter
Works Cited
Preller, J. (2013). Everybody Else is Already Taken. Retrieved from
Preller, J. (2011). Bystander. New York, NY: Square Fish.
Strasser, T. (1981) The Wave. New York, NY: Laurel Leaf Books.
Yousafzai, M. and McCormick, P. (2014). I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education
and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition). New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
About the Author: Michele L. Haiken, Ed.D. is a middle school English teacher at Rye Middle
School and an adjunct professor at Manhattanville College. She is enthusiastic about integrating
technology into the classroom to promote critical thinking and learning. You can read more
about the projects she and her students are involved in on her blog
Contact her at

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Video First: Presenting Content as Video before Presenting

It as Text = Literacy Learning Results
By Dr. Rose Reissman
I am a Title 1, middle school ELA teacher. A very significant number of the students I work with
are newly arrived ESL students. Ive helped these struggling readers dramatically by adopting
online videos, many from common resources like YouTube, and using them to hook and prepare
them for the traditional text and literature reading assignments I give them after they view the
videos. Starting off with video from YouTube with my English Language Learners, or for that
matter, with underachieving Native English Speakers can be the key to supporting readers in
handling and learning from related, traditional print content.
Using videos as a starting point, digital text to start from provides a great storytelling platform
for discussion that is accessible to all students. This is an especially effective way to immediately
level (find a commonly understood /comprehensible informational/fictional narrative) the range
of reading for a broad spectrum of readers, including ESL, special needs and visual learners, who
may be working in the same middle school classroom or learning the same Common Core ELA
skills. I particularly like this approach when I have my students working on journal writing
reflection or argument pieces.
Using this approach, readers who are reluctant to make immediate, engaged, emotional,
argument or content connections with a conventional print text will be drawn in by the visual and
spoken content. Of course, many students are also unable to engage with the text because they
genuinely lack the English academic vocabulary or special nuanced vocabulary needed to get the
print idea. But even if they simply hear some of the same vocabulary that they cannot
comprehend in a print format, they can visually contextualize, see, and grasp the meaning as part
of a digital viewing (a form of range of reading texts required by the Common Core).
Video First would seem to be an obvious strategy for middle school teachers, particularly those
who are serving majority students who do not test on grade level, those from non-English
Language speaking homes, or are special needs students, particularly those with ADHD, dyslexia
or other challenges.
Yet, how few teachers who would concede that using video first to engage and excite such
students, who often are inherently, or by choice or nurture digital learners, actually do start with
Starting with video is an approach to understanding things that has good precedent. For instance,
currently on sports broadcasts, when there is a debate about whether a play was within the rules
or was a violation, the umpire, manager, or players who want to argue the judgment ask

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immediately to go to video. Unlike these video savvy sports players, though, most educators,
even those who are into video as adults and consumers outside of their work in school, still lead
with the print text book or article first because that was the way they successfully learned
themselves, or had the habit reinforced in their student teaching experience.
Yet, were ELA educators to lead with the video, just think how many more reluctant student
readers and writers, students who are behind in traditional ELA test scores and disinterested in
traditional printed, would be drawn into compelling content available in print that teachers can
set before them.
As an English teacher I find it effective to present my students with a mixture of hard copy print
content items (articles, books, essays, graphic narratives, etc.), videos, and audio texts on the
same topic or theme. This approach generally works well with majority ESL or ELL background
learners and classes of students who score poorly on important tests. But until recently, I, too,
have been guilty of using video, only as a second platform after students have examined
comparative print texts.
But recently, I stumbled into reversing my usual print text first, then following with digital
content item sequence. The success I found by reversing this sequence proved to be an
important, inspiring addition to my understanding of appropriate instruction for todays students.
Background of the Video First Approach
As an emotionally engaged world citizen, I am concerned that recent events such as the tragedy
of 9/11/2001, will become Ancient History to my millennial, middle school students who were
born in the late 1990s and beyond. As part of a project I had them do on this theme, I recently
had my sixth graders look at news articles related to 9/11, items about the Survivor Tree and the
Canine Rescue Dog who would return to Ground Zero. Both of these print news stories were
readily available online.
My classroom collaborator, Mr. Grzelecki, shared my enthusiasm for using actual, ongoing news
items to teach both citizenship and literacy.
His goal was to get the students to develop persuasive arguments as to whether or not it was
important to students born just around the 9/11 events (or after) to commemorate them each year
and whether focusing on articles about a surviving tree and a rescue dog were appropriate at all
in light of human death. However, I was concerned that expecting students whose reading levels
were mostly just on or above 6th grade level and many of whom had been born in Bangladesh or
Uzbekistan might be pushing text information comprehension and engagement, with complex,
sophisticated content, too far.

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While the articles Mr. Grzelecki and I had gleaned for this key life and literacy focus activity
were on too advanced a Lexile Level (a measure of reading level ranging from below 200L for
emerging readers to 1600 L for advanced readers) for these new-to-middle school students. Early
in the school year we both realized that if we tried to lead with the print articles first, we would
quickly lose our 9/11 life lesson teachable opportunities.
Stumbling into the Video First Strategy
Instead of initially focusing on the special domain 9/11 vocabulary of First Responders,
memorials, FEMA, and other necessary terms, we both felt that by presenting videos we
would begin with compelling scenes about the themes and stories the students would be working
While I argued for footage of the actual collapse of the World Trade Towers, my colleague
remembered some more uplifting video that would put these millennial sixth graders in touch
with the presence and potent beauty of the World Trade Towers rather than the devastation and
loss playing itself out as it collapses. He suggested that we use the Philippe Petit tightrope walk
across the Towers as an intro for the students. This would give them a sense of what had been
lost. He also felt that the magical personality of Petit on camera and his obvious joy in eluding
the tower security personnel to achieve his walk, would serve to emotionally lighten the tragedy
of 9/11. Indeed, as we watched the footage, even the students who had trouble with Petits
accent or some of the wording included, watched with the same fascination evidenced by the
audience of New Yorkers watching below on the street. When the arresting officers and the
building authorities described the applause and cheers Petit earned for his walk and how he
rested on the tightrope as though he were alone on a beach, the students, too, watched the scene
with wide eyed joy. Asked about Petits comment that he looked a bird flying above him in the
eye as an aloft companion, the students were able to explain why he did that. From the inspiring
Petit, the students were able to explain in reflective journals the lure of the Twin Towers and the
loss felt when they crumpled after the terrorist attack. Some students had actually read the
childrens book about Petits feat, Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordechai Gerstein
and others had read excerpts of Petits Man on a Wire. They used the video as a jumping off
point for online and print research into Petit. They were then motivated to read lexically
challenging print materials because they had digital schema background knowledge to use to
support print vocabulary context clues and comprehension.
Although a sixth grade school assembly would later run a locally produced video with actual
scenes of the towers collapse and the makeshift memorials, Mr. Grzelecki and I chose to use
video of the Survivor Tree and the Canine Rescue Dog both of which were non-print news
stories to introduce a focus on resilience and survival. Interestingly, when the students pre-

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surveyed (before seeing the video) on whether focus should be placed on survivor trees or
animals, they did not think that focus was merited. However, after viewing the videos, many
changed their minds. They listened avidly to the persons who restored the tree branch into a
flourishing cedar tree that was returned to the site. They witnessed how the resilience of this tree
symbolized and inspired persons at the site and focused the visitors on the theme of resilience.
They watched and enjoyed the joke when Tom Brokaw on Today gave a shout out to his
Labrador, talking about how well behaved 15 year old rescue canine Bretagne was during her
owner Denise Corless speech. More to the 9/11 commemoration theme, the students learned
firsthand from Denise and from the photos and footage how the dog served as a therapy dog for
those rescue teams who could not find anyone to rescue. Again, the video opened a visual and
oral spoken portal for learning, collaborative conversations, and metacognitive conversations
about how they could tell what Bretagne thought and did as part of her canine rescue mission.
We highly recommend that colleagues make use of our Video First approach and have
conceived the following framework to guide them in using it to plan and implement
learning activities:
1. Collect print texts which are Lexile level appropriate and challenging for students and
represent desired informational literature for fact and detail and journal prompt or
reflection writing.
2. Use the Video Viewing as an opportunity for Range of Reading whole group discussion
that specifically introduce special domain or academic vocabulary that will reiterate in
the selected print readings.
Our students spent several periods discussing the videos and writing reflections on the
larger issues they suggested: Why spend time on detailing the feat and fascination of
Philippe Petit, when the towers collapsed? Is there a need after over a decade for
commemorative ceremonies and coverage about 9/11? To what extent is 9/11 relevant to
students born after 1998 or those not from NYC or NY State? Why might it be relevant
or not relevant? If there are commemorative ceremonies or a need to spend time in
school talking about 9/11/2001, should any percent of that time be focused on a survivor
tree or a canine rescue dog who comes to revisit the memorial after a decade? How
important is this resilience in light of the human deaths?
As ELA educators, I and Mr. Grzelecki and the majority of our colleagues also envision
ELA skills as supporting critical informed thinking and decision making on social issues.
3. Build from the discussions to reflection and arguments on these questions of life and
literacy for which there are not a slew of correct answers, but rather a range of persuasive

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responses, which can be argued with details from print readings and from further
research. This nicely situates the use of the video which was almost if not universally
accessible for all students as a platform for mandated Common Core persuasive writing
training and argument writing plus short research,
4. Beyond print research, the style of the videos and indeed almost by definition the
format of a network news show such as the Today excerpt or the focus of a documentary
such as the PBS excerpt on Petit or the You Tube survivor tree excerpt, is to model
student potential interviewing techniques. Both these videos have interviews on them. If
the students are asked to go out as either interviewers or oral historians to get their
family, friends and neighbors reaction to the issues raised as they saw the videos, they
can then do speaking, listening, collaborating, interviewing and writing as they survey
reaction to these issues beyond their classroom. Their writings can be persuasive papers
or arguments or narratives of their interviews written as dialogues (narrative writings).
5. Students can also be asked to compare and contrast in terms of range of readings and
writings, the information and perspective/author/filmmaker purpose of the video works
and the print works. To what extent do the Survivor Tree and Bretagne Canine Rescue
dog differ in content or perspective from the print articles on these subjects? What
information about Petit is offered in the video in contrast to the data in print? To what
extent is the video shot to persuade the audience of the directors message or purpose
in shooting it? How does this differ from the authors use of quotes alone?
As is obvious from the steps outlined for the practice of Video First, this approach is not
confined to use in and for the 9/11 yearly commemoration alone. Teachers of students who
represent a broad range of Lexile levels; English fluency and proficiency; visual learners,
ESL/Newcomers, and special needs students, should adapt this approach for any informational
theme or content. Go to the video first, and then use it as a catapult for multiple reading, writing,
speaking, listening and language lessons that prompt life and Common Core literacy.

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About the Author: Dr. Rose Reissman is a veteran English Language Arts educator who
founded the Writing Institute Program currently based in Ditmas IS 62. Under the leadership of
Barry Kevorkian, Principal, 18 educators collaborate with Dr. Reissman to produce literacy
projects. Mr. Downes (Head Advisor), Ms. Xavier (ELA Editor), and Dr. Reissman are faculty
advisors for the Ditmas Bulldog Buzz, a student newspaper that reports on local neighborhood,
New York State and International News as it affects the students lives as citizens of the world.

Videos and Resources:

9/11 'Survivor Tree' Returns to Ground Zero
The Stories They Tell
Last 9/11 Ground Zero Dog
Twin Towers Tightrope Walk-Phillip Petit
Lexile Framework

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Calkins, Lucy, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman. (2012). Pathways to the Common
Core: Accelerating Achievement. NH: Heinemann.
Rogave, Faith. (2011). Digital and Media Literacy. Connecting Culture and Classroom. Ca:
Schade-Eckert, Lisa. (2006). How does it mean? Engaging reluctant readers through literary
theory. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Foer, Johnathan Safran. (2005). Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. New York: Scholastic
Gerstein, Mordechai. (2003). The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. New York:
Petit, Philippe. (2008). Man on the Wire. Skywatch.

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Literacy in 3d
By Robert Quinn
The intersection of literacy and technology is simultaneously murky and vibrant. Notre Dame
Preparatory School in Towson, Maryland has recently endeavored to explore that intersection in
order to improve and expand our literacy instruction across disciplines, specifically with regards
to 3d printing. With the English department taking the lead, the school recently designed and
began implementing a series of lessons that made use of two 3d printers in our building. These
machines, (Makerbot 2.0 and UPrint), have allowed our students to more authentically develop
their core literacy skills even while also addressing their technology literacy development. As
Gambrell and Mazzoni remarked in Principles of Best Practice: Finding the Common Ground
(1999), becoming fully literate means, among many things, being able to independently use
strategies to construct meaning from text, draw upon texts to build conceptual understanding,
effectively communicate ideas orally and in writing, as well as possess an intrinsic desire to read
and write (p.11). Through our implementation of lessons incorporating the 3d printers, we have
seen new energy in each of the elements of this definition.
One lesson involves students using a 3d design to produce an artifact from a piece of literature as
a focus for a reading and interpretation of text. One student might use a skull as a focus for the
Alas Poor Yorick soliloquy from Hamlet. Another might choose a chain and comb to focus on
The Gift of the Magi. In this lesson, students practice the basic literacy task of identifying text
and finding its meaning. The 3d printer allows students who are kinesthetic learners to find a
means of access to this task. More importantly, students are not limited by the artifacts that are
ready at hand. They may design almost any object for the purpose of accessing meaning in text.
Building conceptual understanding is a hallmark of an 11th grade lesson connected to study of the
Battle of Gettysburg and the novel The Killer Angels. Students print a topographical map of the
battlefield using our 3d printer in order to contemplate alternative outcomes based upon troop
and resource deployment. Students then develop a game using pieces also designed with our 3d
printer technology in order to convey an understanding of the character motivations and actions
throughout the novel. Students use the design and gaming experiences as springboards into
writing persuasive letters to civil war generals arguing for alternative approaches.
Another lesson we have developed focuses extensively on the key literacy skills of oral and
written communication. By using our 3d printer to plan and print visual art artifacts, students
design a gallery walk experience in our classroom that provides a canvas for oral and written
expression. Students are asked to communicate their emotional responses to the various
artifacts, practicing the skills necessary to authentically and effectively connect with an audience.
Afterwards, each student chooses one other students artifact to respond to in writing.

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Each of these lessons demonstrate how a 3d printer program can be used to augment a literacy
program, but one might wonder if the results could as easily be achieved without the use of the
technology. Could a Halloween store skull substitute for the skull in the Hamlet activity, or
store-bought toy soldiers work for the Gettysburg game? What such considerations miss are the
elements of context and motivation that are crucial to successful literacy instruction. Gambrell
and Mazzoni (1999) remarked that it is wholeness and context that give meaning to our
experiences and to our learning (p. 15). For literacy instruction to truly take root in our
students, that instruction needs to be fully contextualized within a broader framework of both
their education and their lives. Using progressive technology enables students to work across
disciplinary lines, engaging them in simultaneous literacy and technology growth. In our
program, student schedules that include English, Social Studies, Drama, Engineering and Art are
integrated through assignments such as those outlined above. Literacy instruction needs to
expand beyond the borders of the English classroom, and implementing 3d printing into our
instruction enables us to provide a broader and more complete context for the acquisition of
literacy skills.
Furthermore, motivation exerts a tremendous force on what is learned and how and when it will
be learned (Gambrell, 1999, p. 17), and 3d printing proves to be a powerful motivator. The
ability of children to see their ideas materialize in such a concrete and practical manner removes
a significant barrier to literacy instruction. With 3d modeling, students can take ownership over
their learning, specifying artifacts to exactly match the meaning they find in a text. In cultivating
the intrinsic desire to read and write, teachers are constantly striving to connect these tasks
with student experience and 3d printing affords exactly such an opportunity. As HofreuterLandone stated in From Blackboards to Smartboards (2004), technology is powerful in
education if it accomplishes something in the classroom that we could not do, or could not do
well, without it (p. 449). 3d printing technology allows us to personalize and differentiate
literacy instruction well in a way that is more difficult to do without the technology. With 3d
printing, limitations of artifacts for representation of a text are left behind, and students are
motivated to push their thinking in natural directions.
Finally, the 3d printer emphasizes the design facet of these activities. Much like we promote
choice when students engage in research and writing tasks, allowing students to design artifacts
for 3d printing maintains the central role of the student in creating. When students design their
own artifacts they have a greater sense of pride and connection to their work, and their literacy
outcomes improve accordingly.
To be certain, obstacles and barriers exist, primarily along socio-economic lines, when thinking
of the replicability of this approach. Nevertheless, it is our belief that the benefits to literacy
instruction inherent in the implementation of 3d printing make overcoming those obstacles

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worthwhile. Among the difficulties that face replicating our approach is the segmentation and
prescription of curricula in certain schools and districts. Though these curricula may be skill
based and focused on the same kind of robust literacy instruction we are seeking, our
interdisciplinary approach may not be something all schools or districts could or would adopt.
The lessons we have implemented would work even within a more segmented curricula, as there
are software solutions that are freely available that could be used in any classroom with a
Perhaps a more potent barrier is the economic cost of 3d printing. Hardware prices fall across a
broad range, and material costs of printing can pile up. For schools and districts that have
budgets that may absorb the hardware capital costs, printers such as ours range from 2500 to
15000 dollars. Personal 3d printer devices can be purchased for as little as 400 dollars. The
scale of implementation may also be shifted so that lessons could involve collaborative classwide choices rather than student-by-student choices. With fewer artifacts printed, costs could be
kept controlled. Schools or districts without budgets that could absorb capital cost could partner
with universities or libraries, many of which are equipped with 3d printing capacity. An
alternative path would be to work through cloud-based solutions, where schools would use the
modeling software to queue their projects, and a third party would print the objects and mail
them back to the school. In fact, a district could adopt exactly this kind of model, such that a
small number of printers could service multiple schools within the district.
In considering the scalability of this approach to literacy instruction, we must look to the future
with understanding of the pace of technology in our society. Though the barrier of cost may
seem prohibitive for some schools and districts, the costs of 3d printing are reduced every year.
3d printing technology has existed for at least 30 years, but has only recently begun to be
affordable to schools. That trend will continue, and what is unaffordable for a school or district
today may well be within reach tomorrow. As Hofreuter-Landone (2004) expressed, we look
forward to the day when we discuss student learning and innovations in the curriculum without
fanfare over the use of technology. How absurd it would seem today to remark on the inclusion
of blackboards, or white boards, in every room as if their hanging on the wall alone said
something about the learning experience taking place in that classroom (p.455). 3d printing
may or may not become the next version of the blackboard, a tool that is ubiquitous in the
classroom, but the focus ought to be on the learning outcomes that the technology can facilitate
rather than the tool itself. In this regard, the barrier of socio-economics looms only to be
overcome so that improved instruction can be made available to all.
Authentic literacy instruction empowers students, accessing reading, writing and speaking skills
as a means to self-expression and deepened understanding of and interaction with each students
environments. As Freire (1968) posited in The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Knowledge

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emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing,
hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other (p. 53).
The incorporation of 3d printing technology into literacy instruction encourages precisely this
humanizing character of education. By entrusting students to be creative and personal in their
approach to literacy tasks, lessons incorporating 3d printing technology create students who are
now critical co-investigators in dialogue with the teacher (Freire, 1968, p. 62). Ironically, 3d
printing automates the fabrication of artifacts as means to a pedagogy that is anti-fabrication and
anti-automation. Students are viewed and valued as individuals and given the tools to fully
realize that individuality in the context of literacy practice.
3d printers are quickly becoming a common part of the technology backdrop in independent
schools. Too frequently, these schools are acquiring the technology as a bell and whistle
without much regard to the pedagogical impact of the tool. Our program at Notre Dame
Preparatory School has demonstrated the viability and impact of the technology on literacy
education. Students and teachers alike indicate a renewed and deeper interest in common
literacy tasks and skills because of the ability to uniquely tailor demonstrations of learning
through the use of 3d printing technology. Ultimately, any technology is only a tool until it
becomes a part of a solution. Schmoker (2006) illuminated that the simple formula reading,
writing, and talkingis the heart of authentic literacy (p. 52) 3d Printing in Literacy
Instruction is one solution that transforms the bell and whistle marketing tool into an effective
and authentic part of student learning and achievement in these core areas.
About the Author: Rob Quinn is the Director of the Bette Ellis OConor Humanities Program
at Notre Dame Preparatory school, a program that uses team-taught student-centered courses to
explore connections across disciplinary lines. He is a Faculty Technology Mentor, providing
training and support for numerous academic technologies alongside his talented Director of
Technology David Hennel and Technology Curriculum Specialist, Mia Walsh. Currently, Rob is
also completing his M.S.Ed. in School Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania, where
dialogue with colleagues Rob Howard, Bill Legat and Christian Cloud helped crystallize the
ideas for this article.
Robert Quinn
Director, Bette Ellis OConor Humanities Program
Notre Dame Preparatory School
Towson, MD 21286

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Technology Transforms a Literacy Coachs Debriefing

By Susan Sabella
Expanding the Role of a Literacy Coach!
Although I am not considered a technology coach, as a literacy coach, I see the increased
role that technology plays in literacy development. As a literacy coach and reading specialist, I
often refer to two sets of standards to guide my practice. The International Reading
Association, IRA, Standards for Reading Professionals and the International Society for
Technology in Education, ISTE Standards for Coaches, urge me to support teachers in the area
of technology. Coaches are encouraged to model, design, and implement technology-enhanced
learning experiences that promote critical thinking (ISTE, 2011). The standards also led me to
consider how I could infuse technology into coaching in order to enhance my job-embedded
Expanding the Coachs Toolkit!

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Over the past seven years as a literacy coach, I have added several tools to my coachs
toolkit. Recently, I began to incorporate a variety of digital media and collaborative cloud-based
tools into my professional development sessions. In addition to facilitating grade specific
professional development seminars, I am able to collaborate with my colleagues in a variety of
ways. Collaboration occurs in-person during faculty meetings, voluntary study groups, in-class
coaching, one-on-one planning sessions, and also virtually through the use of online tools such
as Google Docs, Twitter, and video tutorials. This year, as part of the school districts strategic
plan, there has been an increased focus on technology integration. To support this goal, I
created a virtual space,, in order to share examples of technology
enhanced literacy lessons. Technology has transformed my ability to support teachers in the
digital age because it provides a variety of tools that were not previously available to coaches.

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Debriefing Session Transformed

The majority of my day as a coach is spent in classrooms. This form of embedded
professional development provides the opportunity for timely and informal debriefing between
the teacher and the coach. It allows the teacher an opportunity to ask specific questions about
the coachs lesson and to learn more about instructional practices related to the lessons focus.
A debriefing session can also provide a time for the teacher and coach to review student work
that was connected to the lesson. Often, student work serves as a formative assessment and a
springboard to the next planning session.
Before I modeled a compare/contrast lesson for a Grade 4 teacher, I decided to use the
camera app on an iPad to take a few photos of student work samples to review during our
debriefing session. As I walked into the classroom, I revised my plan to capture each step of
the lesson. I used the iPad to take photos and a few brief video clips throughout the lesson. I
took the iPad home that weekend, watched an iMovie tutorial, and created a very simple iMovie
to highlight the flow of a technology enhanced learning experience. Throughout the
teacher/coach debriefing session that followed on Monday, this iMovie was referred to and

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served as a visual and auditory diary of the coachs lesson.

Please view the iMovie here: Table 1 lists the connections
between the video segments and the conferring points. Conferring points often include
important instructional routines, language scaffolds, and terms that are specifically related to the
learning standards. Each transition title included in the iMovie served as debriefing cue for each
conferring point. The sequence of the iMovie mirrored the sequential flow of the lesson itself.
A traditional in-class coaching session often occurs between the coach and one teacher but
iMovie allowed me to share a visual and audio representation of the lesson with additional
teachers. The iMovie was shared with the rest of the Gr 4 team and served as a catalyst for the
increased inclusion of a variety of media for student analysis and discussion. Technology
enhanced my effectiveness as a coach because I was able to share this lesson with teachers
that were not physically within the room when the lesson occurred.

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Table 1: Connections Between iMovie and Conferring Points

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Table 2:
Contrasting a Traditional Debriefing Session with a Technology-Enhanced Debriefing Session!

Traditional debriefing sessions can be enhanced through the use of technology. The camera
app and the iMovie app transformed my professional practice as a literacy coach. An iMovie
can capture the structure of a lesson and also the instructional techniques that are used to
ensure student success. Photos can also capture student work in a variety of stages.
Furthermore, scaffolded verbal or writing frames can be photographed and those photos can
serve as exemplars for future verbal or writing frames. Finally, one of the most positive benefits
is the ability to share this lesson beyond one classroom. If an iPad is unavailable, the camera
app on a smartphone can also be used. During a debriefing session, the participants can
simply swipe through the photos in sequential order as they discuss the lesson. Literacy
coaches, teachers, and administrators can use technology to capture the subtle stages of a
literacy lesson in order to debrief or share with others.

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International Reading Association. (2010). Standards for Reading Professionals - Revised 2010
(Position statement). Newark, DE.
International Society of Technology Educators. (2011). ISTE Standards for Coaches. Arlington,

About the Author

Susan Sabella is a literacy coach who specializes in job-embedded professional development at
the elementary level in Narragansett, Rhode Island. She is an advisory board member to the
Media Smart Libraries Grant, a contributing author to the Rhode Island Comprehensive Literacy
Plan, a member of ISTEs Project ReimaginED, and a Google Educator. Elementary educators
can access technology-enhanced lessons and tool suggestions at
You can also connect with Susan on Twitter @digilitcoach.

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A New, Dynamic Literacy Framework to Accelerate

Literacy Learning
By Lynnea West

Teaching literacy often used to mean teaching the understanding of a concept by reading a text.
A student would read a piece of printed material and respond to the text to demonstrate learning.
That understanding of text was an individual event. And our literacy experiences often were a
one way street. Today, digital tools can accelerate literacy learning by increasing access to
various modes of text, efficiency of collaboration, and providing approaches and vehicles for
creative expressions to making meaning of text. Teachers must meet the important challenge of
making the "technology" sing songs of pedagogy; in other words, make beautiful music by
effectively and elegantly tap technology to improve instruction and learning.
I work with a team of i-Learn Specialists who support 600 teachers; early childhood - 12th grade.
This district-level leadership team works with teachers through coaching and collaboration. I am
also a PhD student at the University of Minnesota in Learning Technologies, doing researching
in the area of Learning with Digital Tools. I have been researching and playing with ways to
redefine our literacy instruction practices in classrooms. I have developed a framework for
thinking about literacy practices and tools that I call the Dynamic Literacy Framework. In this
article, I am going to outline the philosophy that guides the framework as well as apply the
framework to three different tools that can help accelerate literacy when we plan for instruction
within this Framework.
Literacy and its instructional practices have been significantly impacted by the emergence of
digital tools. Traditionally, literacy has been defined as having the ability to read and write. But
for me, literacy is more than that; it is the process of making meaning of the world, of giving
students the ability and the strategies to make sense of themselves and their experiences. Which,
my teacher friends, is a really big job. I am proposing using a new Dynamic Literacy
Framework, one that guides us in the use of new digital tools for instruction of 3 elements of
literacy learning that are key for todays students:
Visualize, Close Reading, and Culturally Relevant Teaching.

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Teaching with a Dynamic Literacy Framework leverages the visual literacy elements that digital
tools facilitate. Now, the text we have students address can be a video, an image, or an
infographic. A visual can supply background knowledge required to make meaning, which is the
purpose of literacy and learning.
Close Reading
Text is only half the story. When students comment on the video, image or infographic they
share insights and observations as well as connections to other ways of learning the concept.
One comment begets another response. Just as text modalities have shifted, so too have the
standards that students strive to achieve. Close Reading is one way the Common Core Standards
require students to think differently. Close Readers study the structure of the text by looking at
the text as a writer would. A close reader will analyze the text by focusing on elements of craft
and technique; like imagery, word choice, tone and voice or sentence structure.
Culturally Relevant Teaching
A Dynamic Literacy Framework should also include Culturally Relevant Teaching as an
approach that creates the conditions for equity in the classroom. We make meaning based on our
cultural context. Our culture is our Frame of Reference, the way we interpret the world.
Collaboration is Culturally Relevant and our literacy practices should offer learning
opportunities and collaborative work that develop relationships. Developing relationships is one
of the ways we can create the conditions for equity in learning. Collaboration makes
relationships meaningful and relevant.
I am going to describe how three tools, Subtext, Newsela, and PicCollage, can accelerate literacy
learning using the Dynamic Literacy Framework of Visualize, Close Reading, and Culturally
Relevant Teaching.
Subtext is an app that originally was free, but currently is only available for premium
membership at a cost.
The Common Core standards ask that students be able to visualize texts and Subtext makes this
very do-able. Subtext allows you to add directly into the text content videos and images that help

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the student visualize and make meaning. It also can link to images or visuals (i.e. and infographic
or YouTube video) for the purposes of developing essential background knowledge to the
understanding of a text. Teachers can leave notes for students right in the pages of any text, like
leaving a breadcrumb trail to find meaning. Notes can range from a simple question to a more
involved assignment that incorporates Web content or multimedia. Close readers zoom into the
text for increased focus. In addition, you can have your students leave notes for each other. A
great way to do this is to have each student leave one note in a text AND reply to at least one of
their classmates notes in the same text. This is an easy way to get started and typically spurs
great classroom discussions and offers students a place to explore other students frames of
Newsela and Tween Tribune
Newsela is a website with an innovative way to build reading comprehension with nonfiction
that offers relevant text: daily news. Newslea offers us a tool that works with the Dynamic
Literacy Framework. Teachers are able to access 5 articles per day (and assign them as reading
to a group of students in Subtext!) Newsela offers students an opportunity to see an image of a
news story. That image can be the provocation for reading a text. Students might choose to read
a news story based on the image they see that sparks their interest in that subject. Newsela can be
also be used for Close Reading of the text of your choice. Close reading requires students to get
truly involved with the text they are reading. Newsela offers a quiz at the end of the text
selection. Quizzes enable retrieval practice and are an effective learning tool.
Along with Close Reading, teachers can have the bonus of invisible differentiation with
Newsela. Every article that you access is the same content and theme, but available at a Lexile
level thats just right for each student. Students will increase their collaboration in reading about
content that is the same at reading levels for better understanding.
Tween Tribune is a free, online educational service offered by the Smithsonian for use by K-12
grade teachers and students similar to Newsela. However, the bonus for ESL/non-native English
speaking students is that they have articles in Spanish.
Pic Collage
Many, many people LOVE Pic Collage because it is the little black dress of Apps! This App is
so flexible that it can be used in just about everything under the sun. It does not have a
screwdriver feature, but that is the only limitation. It is important that students can visualize
words in order to understand their meaning. Pic Collage can be used for creating a visual

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dictionary of vocabulary words students need to learn, words paired with pictures. The idea of a
visual dictionary is not to be confined to the World Language classroom. Think math terms,
science vocabulary, library term glossary, Language Arts vocabulary lists, or "words that begin
with..." collages. Students can demonstrate their close reading of a text by making a collage that
contains a summary. A series of collages is just like a reading log, but so much more fun to
share. Pic Collage can be used to show multiple frames of reference. Students can create
collages about connections they make to text. Each collage of course, will be incredibly varied.
When I asked students about these collages in class, they noticed that all the collages were
incredibly different. They said if they were all the same, it would be, and I quote, snooze-ville.
Today, the technology and New Literacies that are emerging give students the opportunity to
have a voice in an energetic, connected world. This is an exciting time to be learning. Never
before have we had the chance for such creative means of communication and expression and
authentic audiences to read, write, argue, and connect with. As a result, all those connected to
learning and teaching must renew their vision of teaching in order to keep pace with these
changes. We need to be able to connect to students worlds in order to engage, motivate, and
collaborate with a new and very different type of learner. Literacy now is leveraging the
learning adrenaline that digital tools give to students.
As educators develop effective pedagogy that takes advantage of the availability of digital tools,
literacy instruction better and better supports learners to Visualize, Close Read, and Collaborate.

About the Author: Lynnea West is i-Learn Specialist for the Eden Prairie Schools in Eden
Prairie, Minnesota. Lynnea works on a team of five i-Learn Specialists who support 600
teachers early childhood - 12th grade. This district level leadership team works with
Professional Learning Communities to embed the 4Cs and technology into daily instruction
through job embedded coaching. Additionally, this team designed professional development
which supports both synchronous and asynchronous learning. She is also currently enrolled in
the PhD program at the University of Minnesota focusing in Learning Technologies.
@lynneawest + +

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Tween Tribune

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Persuasive Writing, Technology, and Animal Rescue

By Amanda Xavier
Editors note:
Ms. Xavier is an experienced teacher who has recently begun to integrate technology
into what has primarily been a hard copy teaching practice. Her enthusiasm for the
new possibilities that technology opens up for her and her students comes across in this
article, as does her understanding that integrating technology into Literacy activities not
only makes them more dynamic, but fosters the acquisition of technology skills as well;
this, in a way that contextualizes them in much the same way that students will use
them when they enter the work force or college. Of particular interest to readers of this
journal is that much of the impetus of this teachers inclusion of technology has come
from Literacy coaching.
Integrating technology into student lessons is an essential part of teaching in todays world. The
more exposure children have to the various uses of technology as a learning and expressive tool,
the better foundation they have for their adult lives. This is especially true for low income
students who have less access to technology outside of school. In this project we used a variety
of technology assists, including Youtube videos, websites, and basic word processing
documents. Children often see the Internet as an entertainment resource and have little to no
understanding of the educational applications of websites and online videos. I hoped to broaden
the scope of learning and research tools they are familiar with and would reach for when the
need arises by demonstrating for them how videos and digital graphics can add to a persuasive
piece of writing. One of my goals for these introductions is that they will use these types of
digital resources in future class projects.
The project described here is something that very naturally and effectively engaged my students.
Primarily, it is about relevant social action to achieve an important goal. And of course, in order
to achieve this, my students had to learn and apply a variety of Literacy skills which were
instructional goals for the year. Additionally, the element of technology use must be
acknowledged as an important contributing factor to the viability of this activity. While
technology here played a supporting role, it very strongly was an enabler that made much of this
possible and successful.
Children love to argue. They argue all day long. They argue with their friends about the best
band or sports team. They argue with their parents over doing homework and bedtime. And

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they argue with their teachers over just about everything. Why not put their natural skills at
argument to a more positive use?
This year, I implemented a unit of study with my colleagues Mrs. Schiro and Dr. Reissman at
Ditmas Junior High School, to broaden my students writing abilities in persuasive writing. To
achieve this we had the students help local shelter dogs get adopted.
Writing is often a difficult subject for children. Many struggle with how to start a piece, or what
to include within one. Most children have no idea how to successfully conclude an essay or
report. It is a time of frustration and helplessness for a majority of my students. That, coupled
with the fact that two-thirds of my students are English Language Learners, have an IEP, or both,
magnifies the problem exponentially. So, I wondered, how could I get my most nervous writers
on board with persuasive writing?
Persuasive writing is especially difficult for children because they argue emotionally. A good
number of their arguments are based on how they feel or what they want. The first step to
overcome this was to illustrate the difference between an emotional appeal and a logical one.
We reviewed the difference between opinion and fact with the class and helped them to
understand why facts have their place in an opinion piece. We decided that adding an emotional
appeal in the conclusion would be a knockout punch that may help tip the reader into our point of
Now that we had the basics of writing an argumentative piece down, we turned our attention to
what should we argue for?
There are so many deserving pets in the US who need a forever home. How many times have
you walked down the street and seen a cat run to hide under a car, or seen a dog tied up outside
in cold weather? Many people buy their pets from pet stores and breeders. Many of these sellers
support the puppy mill industry, which cruelly forces female dogs to get pregnant over and over
again while living in a cramped cage; they have no love or freedom. If people would learn to
adopt instead of shop for pets, there would so many fewer cases of animal cruelty and abuse in
our country, and so many fewer unwanted pets living on the streets. Understanding all of this,
my students were happy to take on doing something to help real dogs in need in our area as the
basis for a learning project.
There are many worthy shelters in cities and towns all across America. We partnered with two, and Sean Casey Animal Rescue, both headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, the
borough in which our school is located. Both shelters are run mostly by volunteers, who give up
countless hours of personal time to help deserving animals find forever homes.
Many of the animals helped by are pulled off of death row at the last
minute; they are placed in foster homes, seen and cared for by volunteer veterinarians, and
hopefully delivered to their new loving family within weeks of being saved. This shelter relies
solely on donations to help protect and save their pets.

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Sean Casey is a small neighborhood organization that houses several dozen dogs and cats saved
from abusive situations. They run a small pet store to help offset costs, but also rely heavily on
donations. The great thing about Sean Casey is that even if you cant adopt a pet or help out
monetarily, you can still support their work by volunteering to walk dogs.
This year, I partnered with Lori Valenti, the head of fundraising for, to
create opportunities for my students to help save some wonderful dogs and cats. Our first project
was to create posters to help find Patches (a deserving dog) a forever home. Patches is a
wonderful girl but she has several strikes against her. She is a pit bull mix, which scares a lot of
prospective owners off. Secondly, she is already 8 years old and many families want to adopt a
younger dog. Patches biggest obstacle, though, is that she is deaf. Although Patches has learned
many hand signals and is able to respond to them, few people are willing to adopt a special needs
dog because of the extra work involved. Her current foster family was unable to keep her any
longer and it looked like Patches might spend the rest of her life in a kennel.
In addition to making adoption posters for Patches and about 2 dozen other dogs from Sean
Casey, and hanging them around the school, and neighborhood, and bringing them to local
gatherings, Class 603 has tried to help in several other meaningful ways, as well. We visited
Sean Casey and broke into small groups to walk three dogs who were up for adoption. We also
had a candy sale at our Halloween dance to raise money for We plan to
have a booth on Parent-Teacher Night and want to bring up our work at future PTA meetings to
get the word out that there are wonderful dogs and cats (and even a goose!) available for
adoption into their forever homes.
In order take advantage of technology in our pet adoption project, we used a variety of resources
to develop ideas and garner information. First, we had the students view a video on about the myths and misinformation about pit bulls. In doing this they were given
a great example of how Youtube, and similar resources, can be used as a learning tool.
The children were able to see and hear firsthand evidence of positive pit bull behavior and
temperament. Hearing expert testimony from veterinarians, owners, and animal rights activists
made it clearer to my students that pit bulls are often described only one way in the news. This
opened up a discussion of why dogs that are traditionally well mannered are portrayed as vicious.
The children were able to understand that happy, nice dogs arent exciting news stories, but
vicious attacks make people want to know more.
Many students turn to Youtube for entertainment, they were thrilled to see the applications that
can be used in the classroom as well. We plan on Embedding video clips into websites later on
in the school year. And so, Media Sophistication became another learning dividend my students
received from this project.
I was so pleased with their reactions to the videos and how it helped clear up misunderstandings
with the students, that I decided to use embedded videos in a later unit on endangered animals.
Students in the past have made websites using the free Weebly resource to showcase their
research and knowledge of endangered animals and conservation efforts. Building on this

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experience, I think it will be beneficial for students to embed established videos to help get their
main idea across in many of the projects we do. This way they are using various media to appeal
to a wider range of readers.
Secondly, we had the students use the internet to research dogs on Sean Caseys website.
Students went directly to Sean Caseys website and searched for a specific dog. They read his or
her profile and chose pertinent information that could be added to an adoption poster. This was
absolutely necessary because potential adopters must know the special needs of the dogs up for
adoption. Information about weight, breed, age, disabilities, and temperament are all key when
choosing to adopt a dog. This was the information students searched for and added to their
posters. They also looked online for photos to include.
This was an excellent experience. Im happy to report that not only did technology support our
Literacy learning, but in a number of ways our Literacy activities supported better understanding
of technology. For instance, my students are used to Googling everything. However, many were
unaware of how to properly enter a web address into a browser. They typed the web address into
the Google search and then clicked on the link. Now, I am happy to say most of my students are
typing them directly into the URL box and going directly to intended websites. Once on the
website, the children became proficient at navigating through links to find desired information.
They learned how to copy and paste photos or how to save them to the computer to upload for
later use. The pictures of dogs they acquired this way were added to the adoption posters to give
a visual cue to passersby and potential adopters.
These are all skills that will benefit the students throughout the rest of their educational careers
and well into their adult lives.
Although none of the dogs weve featured have been adopted; so far, there are several positive
results stemming from our project. First, a handful of the students in the class had never had any
interaction with dogs before. When we took the dogs for a walk, that was their first time, they
ever had direct contact with a dog. Even though their families might not adopt a dog now, we
have opened up the possibility that the children may adopt when they get older.
Another benefit from our project is opening up our class and school to the idea that pet adoption
is a better alternative to shopping for a pet. They now know that there are many deserving,
loving animals out there that just need the right family to come and take them home.
A very hands-on benefit of our project is that we raised almost $200 to date for the animal
shelters. Our candy and snack sales at school activities like dances and movies have been a big
hit. The kids are so thrilled that they are actively contributing to help animals in need. They feel
pride in their accomplishments and are able to share their positive experiences with family and
friends about giving back to the community.
Importantly, we have shown the kids that youre never too young or small or financially
restricted from helping out with a cause that you believe in; from doing some good in your
community and sharing your love and vision with those around you.

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This project truly brought Literacy to life for my students. It engaged them with functional texts
that they accessed online (informational websites), ones that describe adoptable dogs. The
students researched, the Sean Casey shelter, and other websites for needed
data and to identify dogs they might help rescue. Thus, the project prompted research for a
real purpose. My students used the descriptive informational details they gleaned from the sites
they explored, photos they acquired online, along with their own persuasive arguments to create
their own real world functional documents. These are persuasive posters aimed at convincing
prospective adopters to give deserving pets a home. Through work on this project my students
improved their Literacy skills and experienced a powerful example of how Literacy works in the
real world address important issues that they care about.

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About the Author: Amanda Xavier is a 6th grade teacher in Brooklyn, NY. She has been
teaching for 15 years; first on the elementary level and for the past 9 years, as an English teacher
at Ditmas Junior High School. She has a passion for integrating personal passions into her
classes such as animal rescue and conservation.
Contact info:
Websites and .

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Turning Up the HEAT on Literacy: Making Connections

with the CCSS and ISTE Standards
By Evelyn Wassel, Ed.D.
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards
(Standards in your state, 2014). The Common Cores key shifts from the Standards already in
place include regular practice with complex texts and their academic language and obtaining
evidence from texts. These shifts require students to utilize higher order thinking skills (HOTS)
at all levels. The ISTE Standards 1 (Creativity and innovation), 3 (Research and information
fluency and Critical thinking) and 4 (problem solving and decision making) mirror these
requirements. Teachers can utilize activities relating to ISTE Standard 6, Technology operations
and concepts, to harness student interest in technology to make the learning more authentic and
engaging (StandardsS, 2007).
In a digitally-charged learning environment, the key is to turn up the H.E.A.T. on student
learning. The HEAT Framework, developed by Dr. Chris Moersch, provides educators with the
means to increase HOTS, Engagement, Authentic Connections and Technology use in every
classroom. Pennsylvania is currently in Year 3 of the Keystones to Opportunities (KtO) grant
through the United States Department of Educations Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy
Program. This program utilizes on-line professional development for teachers and administrators
in each of the HEAT components with an emphasis on literacy.
Literate individuals demonstrate independence; build strong content knowledge; respond to the
varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline; comprehend as well as critique;
value evidence; use technology and digital media strategically and capably; and come to
understand other perspectives and cultures. To develop individuals with such 21st century
literacies requires instruction that is integrated and helps students understand how to access,
evaluate, synthesize, and contribute to information (National Council of Teachers of English
[NCTE], 2007).
I was first introduced to the HEAT Framework through my work as a technology mentor and
taught several online courses for teachers and administrators across Pennsylvania. Participants
noted their changes in classroom practice and were excited to have a wealth of tools to assist
them in each of the four areas. I was privileged to be a part of the team that redesigned the
courses to focus on literacy and highly recommend that all educators learn more about this
framework so they too can Turn Up the HEAT!!

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This article will provide you with an explanation of each facet of HEAT, digital tools to
incorporate them into various content areas and grade levels and a means for evaluating the level
of HEAT imparted in your lessons.
Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)
HOT [Higher order thinking] requires that we do something with the facts. We must understand
them, connect them to each other, categorize them, manipulate them, put them together in new or
novel ways, and apply them as we seek new solutions to new problems.
Alice Thomas
Center for Development and Learning
Many district vision statements promote the development of critical thinkers. As students
progress through the school system they are asked to do something with the facts they have
stored in their brains. This requires activating higher order thinking skills (HOTS). These skills
are at a higher level than simply memorizing facts or repeating something back to someone as it
was told to you. With HOTS, students must understand previously learned facts, infer from
them, connect them to new facts, put them together in a new way and apply them to solve a new
or existing problem.
It is critical for teachers to have an understanding of Blooms Taxonomy and/or Webbs Depth
of Knowledge. If teachers are not cognizant of the different learning levels and outcomes, they
are more prone to focus on one level and omit the others when planning activities. For example,
if a teachers focus is on a wealth of factual information, the students may never have the
opportunity to apply the knowledge they learned in a new and novel way. Conversely, a teacher
who focuses on the higher skills may not realize that basic skills are necessary for integration
into these higher skills. Broward County Schools in Florida provides an excellent resource that
describes the tools needed to incorporate all levels of DOK.
Using HOTS an Example
The CCSS require students to attain evidence to cite textual evidence to support analysis of what
the text says. The Internet is the most accessible and most often used source of information for
students but they do not always know how to choose the best sites for credible information.
There are many examples of bogus websites that teachers can utilize to demonstrate to students
that everything on the Internet may not be true.

Page 44 is a comprehensive website that not only shows

fabricated information but includes a series of lessons designed to introduce students to
the idea that the Internet is a less reliable source of information than print sources, and

while there is an abundance of information available at our fingertips, researchers need to

think critically about the facts found there (All About Explorers, 2014). Excerpts from a
biography can be found below:
o Christopher Columbus was born in 1951 in Sydney, Australia. His home was on
the sea and Christopher longed to become an explorer and sailor.
o In 1942 he set sail with three ships, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and about 90
men. On October 12, 1942 Columbus landed on an island southeast of Florida.
The Indians were excited by the newcomers and their gadgets. They especially
enjoyed using their cell phones and desktop computers.
o Columbus died in 1906. He is buried in Valladolid, Spain. is a website dedicated to saving the elusive Pacific
Northwest Tree Octopus and is a personal favorite of mine. Incorporated on this site are
very convincing FAQs, reports of sightings, media links and a list of related links
o Green Press Initiative A non-profit program aimed at encouraging book
publishers to use recycled paper instead of cutting down tree octopus forests and
using their pulped homes to print anti-tree-octopus propaganda (also known as

These websites provide an excellent starting point for conversations about the quality of
information available on the Internet (If it is on the Internet is must be true, right? What makes a
credible site? Is Wikipedia a good research tool?) and helping students to develop ISTE
Standard 3, Research and information fluency.
These websites listed in this section, and many others like them, and can help meet the ISTE
Standard 3 Research and information fluency.
The HEAT Framework includes a scale for measuring student output in the classroom. The
Higher-Order Thinking Look-Fors can be found below:
1. Students taking notes only; no questions asked
2. Student learning/questioning at Remembering level
3. Student learning/questioning at Understanding level
4. Student learning/questioning at Applying level
5. Student learning/questioning at Analyzing level
6. Student learning/questioning at Evaluating/Creating levels (LoTi, 2013).
It is not expected that teachers reach level 6 on a daily basis. Students need to master the basics
before moving onto higher levels. Teachers can use this scale to determine what level the
majority of student activities require and make efforts to increase the thought processes in

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classroom activities if necessary.

Engaged Learning
Student engagement is the product of motivation and active learning. It is a product rather than
a sum because it will not occur if either element is missing.
Elizabeth F. Barkley
Author and Educator
Many teachers, and administrators, believe that if students are doing what is asked of them
(reading, answering questions and completing tasks) they are engaged in the lesson. It is critical
that all educators understand that compliance does not equal engagement. According to
Merriam-Webster, engagement can be defined as "emotional involvement or commitment."
Unless students feel a connection to the lesson or activity, they are probably not retaining the
information for any significant amount of time and thus will not be able to pull this information
to make connections to future learning.
Real engagement is not compliance. We can't pine for engaged learners when our policies and
practices tend to focus on producing compliant learners. If we want to grow capacity in our
students; unearth student talents, dreams, and aspirations; and instill perseverance through a
focus on doing hard work, learning from mistakes, and revising one's work, we need to design
classroom practices around securing real engagement (Jackson & Zmuda, 2014, p. 18).
Real engagement will be evident when students take their previous knowledge and use it in a
new or novel manner. This will require students to use their higher order thinking skills to reach
higher levels on Blooms Taxonomy or Webbs DoK.
Correlational evidence suggests that motivation to read school-related texts declines as students
progress from elementary to middle school (Gottfried, 1985). To promote students motivation
to engage in literacy activities, teachers should use instructional strategies that spark students
interest. Initial curiosity can then serve as a hook to create long-term, personal interest (Kamil,
et al., 2008). Todays students often engage better with their electronics than they do with paper
and pencil. Technology can provide this hook for students if teachers use it in cooperation with
On-line collaboration opportunities allow students to work with others who have the same
interests or abilities in their classroom or around the world. State and national policy leaders call
for a greater emphasis on teaching students in K-12 schools about teaming and collaboration to

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increase and deepen learning, and to prepare students to be collaborative team members in work
environments that are increasingly dependent on virtual, online collaborations (Williams, 2009).
Docurated provides 101 Free (or Free-to-Try) Online Collaborative Learning Tools for Teachers
and Educators.
Student Publishing engages students with all learning styles by emphasizing completion of work
and producing a quality product and emphasizes that writing is a social process an exchange of
ideas between authors and readers, not just a performance for the teachers (Olthause, n.d.).
Through student publishing, students (1) learn from and motivate each other, (2) increase their
proofreading and validation skills, and (3) lead peers to deeper levels of thinking through
opportunities for rich discussions and peer mentoring (KtO, 2014). Resources include: is a collaborative storytelling tool. Students use collections of art as

inspiration to write stories. Once the art is chosen, students build their story by dragging
and dropping pictures and creating a story to match. Teachers are able to easily create
student accounts and assignments for students. Storybird is an engaging site that allows
students to focus more on the content of their writing rather than drawing pictures.
Student pairs can take turns adding pages to a common book. Publishing: Hard copy,
paperback, and pdf at cost. Online free. is a free website that offers teachers and students an on-line environment for
creative writing, book clubs, on-line pen pals and science notebooks. The digital
portfolio allows students to demonstrate learning growth through pictures, video, writing,
and more.
Utilizing these tools allows the students to meet the expectations of ISTE Standards 2 and 4
(Communication and collaboration and Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making).
There is a distinct connection between HOTS and engaged learning. As students become more
active in the learning process, they are required to use HOTS to solve problems at the levels seen
The Engaged Learning Look-Fors can be found below:

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Students report what they have learned only

Students collaborate to report what they have learned with possible options
Students solve a teacher-directed problem
Students collaborate to solve a teacher-directed problem with possible options
Students collaborate to define the task, the process, and/or the solution
Students collaborate to define the task, the process, and/or the solution;
collaboration extends beyond the classroom

Although we want students to be engaged in learning, time constraints will limit the activities at
a level 6. Teachers can look at present activities and attempt to increase by one or two levels
based on topic and student abilities.
Authentic Connections
I feel sorry for teachers who are required to spell out precise learning objectives long before
a class begins so that they can measure their own effectiveness. I feel sorry for their students,
too. Education dominated by preconceived images of what must be learned can hardly be
educational. Authentic teaching and learning requires a live encounter with the unexpected. An
element of suspense and surprise, an evocation of that which we did not know until it happened.
If these elements are not present, we may be training or indoctrinating students, but we are not
educating them. In any arena of action-rearing children, counseling people, repairing machines,
writing books-right action depends on yielding our images of particular outcomes to the organic
realities of ourselves, the other, and the adventure of action itself.
Parker Palmer
from 'The Active Life'
Authentic contextual bridges provide the foundation for students to connect what they are
learning in class to the real world. Reeves, et al. (2002) identified ten characteristics of authentic
learning that can be adapted in any subject or grade level. Their work states that authentic: (1)
have real world relevance, (2) are ill-defined, requiring students to define the tasks and sub-tasks
needed to complete the activity. (3) comprise complex tasks to be investigated by students over
a sustained period of time, (4) provide the opportunity for students to examine the task from
different perspectives, using a variety of resources, (5) provide the opportunity to collaborate, (6)
provide the opportunity to reflect, (7) can be integrated and applied across different subject areas
and lead beyond domain specific outcomes, (8) are seamlessly integrated with assessment, (9)
create polished products valuable in their own right rather than as preparation for something else
and (10) allow competing solutions and diversity of outcome.
As a digital age learning best practice, creating authentic contextual bridges can be easily
accomplished by integrating Literacy; health literacy; and environmental literacy. Encasing these
themes within a well-conceived and standards-aligned performance task can elevate the rigor and
relevance associated with any content area (Moersch, 2011).
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills ( has developed a vision for student
success in the new global economy and advocates for schools to promote an understanding of
academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into
core subjects:

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Global Awareness
Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy
Civic Literacy
Health Literacy
Environmental Literacy
Some examples utilizing these themes can be found below.
Choose my plate provides educators with lesson plans for all grade levels. The elementary
collection integrates nutrition education into Math, Science, English Language Arts, and Health.
There are four lesson plans for high school students designed to help students in grades 9-12
learn how to build a healthy diet using SuperTracker, an on-line tool to create a personalized
nutrition and physical activity plan, track foods and physical activities and get tips and support to
make healthier choices and plan ahead.
Africa's Struggle With AIDS is a lesson designed to help students understand the enormity of the
impact of AIDS on the population of Africa, by comparing its effect there with its effect on the
population of the world in general, and especially on that of the United States.
270 to Win is an interactive Electoral College map for 2016 and a history of Presidential
elections in the United States. Since electoral votes are generally allocated on an "all or none"
basis by state, the election of a U.S President is about winning the popular vote in enough states
to achieve 270 electoral votes, a majority of the 538 that are available.
The Council for Economic Education provides a variety of standards-based classroom resources
for all levels.
eCybermission is a web-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics competition
for 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grade teams. Teams propose a solution to a real problem in their
community and compete for State, Regional and National Awards.
These activities will require students to use higher order thinking skills to accomplish the tasks
and their authenticity will increase engagement. Because they are utilizing technology to
accomplish the goals, students will be more motivated to participate.
All of these activities can incorporate reading, writing, listening, and speaking as part of
assessments and activities and meet all expectations of the ISTE Standards.
The Authentic Connections Look-Fors can be found below:

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1. The learning experience is missing or too vague to determine relevance

2. The learning experience provides no real world application, or represents a group of
connected activities
3. The learning experience provides limited real world relevance
4. The learning experience provides extensive real world relevance
5. The learning experience provides real world relevance and opportunity for students to
apply their learning to a real world situation
6. The learning experience is directly relevant to students and involves creating a product
that has a purpose beyond the classroom that directly impacts the students
By making the learning authentic and relevant to students, teachers can increase the likelihood
that students will retain the knowledge through grade levels and across subjects. Again, a level 6
is fabulous but increasing activities by even one level can make the learning more powerful for
Technology Tools
Teaching in the Internet age means we must teach tomorrows skills today.
Jennifer Fleming
No one can refute that it is critical for students to learn word processing but we do a grave
disservice to them if that is the extent of their learning of technology tools. Educators must think
beyond the PowerPoint for students to demonstrate their knowledge of a topic as this tool is a
means for recalling information. Childrens success or failure in life "hinge[s] on the [student's]
grasp of new technologies. Beyond simple decoding and keyboarding, the educational uses of
new communication technologies has yet to be framed as a set of literacy skills. But the public is
often reminded that computers are powerful tools and it is implied that with their use, personal
power can accrue." (Tyner, 1998, p. 3).
Word Clouds offer a way for students to visually analyze frequent words in a passage. They can
be used as an activating strategy to help students determine a new topic, compare two passages
(e.g. the inauguration speeches of two presidents) or to discover overused words in student
writing samples. In 108 Ways to Use Word Clouds in the Classroom Michael Gorman (2012)
offers suggestions to employ word clouds in a variety of disciplines.
Graphic organizers guide learners thinking as they build upon a visual map or diagram. Graphic
organizers are effective visual learning strategies for students and can be harnessed across the
curriculum to enhance learning of subject matter content. They are used to facilitate students
learning by helping them identify areas of focus within a broad topic, such as a novel or article

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and they help the learner make connections and structure thinking in writing projects. Vermilion
Parish Schools in Louisiana provides a comprehensive list of interactive graphic organizers.
Podcasting is an amalgamate of iPod and Broadcasting. A podcast is an audio story created
to share ideas, presentations, or music. Students can use podcasts to interview each other, tell
stories, create newscasts, hold debates, or run radio shows. It is easy to create and view a
podcast with a computer, internet connection and a recording device. Twenty five free tools are
available here.
Each of these tools requires students to use their higher order thinking skills to participate as they
allow students to create a product or analyze an item. By incorporating an authentic assessment,
student engagement in the process will increase.
Utilizing these tools allows the students to meet the expectations of ISTE Standards 2, 4 and 6
(Communication and collaboration, Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making and
Technology operations and concepts).
The Technology Tools Look-Fors can be found below:
1. Digital and/or environmental resources are (1) not available, (2) not used, or (3) not
directly connected to the learning
2. Students use of digital and/or environmental resources appears to be an add-on or is not
needed for task completion
3. Teacher leads whole group learning with digital and/or environmental resources
4. Students use teacher-directed digital and/or environmental resources to accomplish
learning outcomes
5. Students use self-selected digital and/or environmental resources to accomplish learning
6. Students use self-selected digital resources to accomplish learning outcomes beyond
conventional strategies
The beauty of the HEAT Framework is the connection between all four areas. The overlap of the
concepts strengthens the case for application in the classroom. The HEAT Framework is a
component of LoTi (Levels of Teaching Innovation). A complete copy of the HEAT Framework
can be found at this link.
The official website for the LoTi Connection is More
information can be requested from Dr. Chris Moersch, President & CEO or LeeChel Moersch, Chief Operating Officer .

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About the Author: Dr. Evelyn Wassel is the Data Quality Coordinator at Schuylkill IU29 in
MarLin, PA. She received her Bachelors Degree from Clarion University and Masters in
Biology Education from DeSales University. She earned her Doctorate in Education Leadership
and K-12 Principals Certification at Widener University and has been working with
administrators and teachers for the past 9 years as a literacy mentor and technology coach and
mentor. Dr. Wassels passion is creating equal opportunities for all students success in
education and believes that increasing literacy skills will help bridge the opportunity gap
between groups.
Twitter: @wasse

Gorman, M. (2012). 108 Ways to Use Word Clouds in the ClassroomWord Clouds in
Education Series: Part 2. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from .
Gottfried, A. W. (1985). Measures of socioeconomic status in child development research: Data
and recommendations. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 31(1), 8592.
Jackson, R., & Zmuda, A. (2014, September). Four (Secret) Keys to Student Engagement.
Educational Leadership, 18-24.

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Kamil, M. L., Borman, G. D., Dole, J., Kral, C. C., Salinger, T., and Torgesen, J. (2008).
Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices: A Practice Guide
(NCEE #2008-4027). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional
Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from
KtO, 2014 Engaging Students online course.
Moersch, C. (2011). Digital Age Best Practices: Teaching and Learning Refocused. Retrieved
December 20, 2014 from .
National Council of Teachers of English [NCTE]. (2007). NCTE Position Statement: The NCTE
definition of 21st century literacies. Retrieved from
Olthause, J. (n.d.) 15 Ways to Publish Student Writing. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from
StandardsS 2007 International Society for Technology in Education.
Tyner, K. (1998). Literacy in a Digital World: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Information
(Lawrence Erlbaum Associates).
Williams (2009). The Impact of Collaborative, Scaffolded Learning in K-12 Schools: A MetaAnalysis. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from

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