Grammar and Writing Differentiation

Grammar and Writing Differentiation

Previously posted in May of 2016 on Digital Learning Cohorts – CCSD Ed Tech

For differentiation in the ELA classroom, No Red Ink is a godsend.  Although it has always been available via the noredink.com website, many teachers learned of it through Edmodo as an app. However, it is migrating completely to its website on June 30, 2016.  See the company announcement below.

As you may have heard, NoRedInk will no longer integrate with Edmodo starting June 30, 2016. On that date, we will transition your account to the NoRedInk website. Your data and classes will travel with you, and the site will look and behave just as it always has. The only change is that you will begin logging in at noredink.com rather than through an Edmodo app.

On June 30, we will send instructions to this email address. If you’d like to use a different address, please launch the NoRedInk app and go to your settings page. You can learn more about the change here. Also feel free to reach out with questions.

Thanks for all that you do,
The NoRedInk Team

If you haven’t already been using No Red Ink, now is the time to go to their website and set up an account.   This app offers grammar practice with parts of speech, sentences, commas, parallel structure, MLA citations and more.  This app could take you from 3rd grade through college.

If diagramming sentences did not excite you, try No Red Ink on for size.  It just might surprise you.

Organizing Thoughts Through Voice

Organizing Thoughts Through Voice

Previously posted on April 7, 2016 on Digital Learning Cohorts – CCSD Ed Tech

As an English teacher, I saw my job as teaching people to think well and write well.  The thinking was not nearly as difficult as the writing portion, and after leaving the classroom to coach teachers on how to effectively integrate technology into the classroom, I realize that writing was just a byproduct of what my real job was: to teach people how to communicate effectively.  Writing was just one way to effectively communicate.

With technology becoming ubiquitous in our personal, professional, and now educational lives, we have so many opportunities to communicate; learning how to communicate effectively is becoming more important than ever with the organization of ideas and the quality of speech and text being the main focus.

If organization of ideas is one of the big three factors, why does written text take precedence over spoken word?  Perhaps it has been that way because writing is permanent and digital writing is searchable.  However, things have changed.  Now, video is streaming live through Facebook and it is searchable on YouTube.  Audio is also more prominent and is also searchable.  While writing used to be more permanent, it is now just as temporary as audio and video because most of it is saved digitally.  So then, why are we still focused on writing as the apex of communication?

Organizing ideas for verbal communication such as a speech or a podcast is just as challenging as the written word save the grammatical hangups.  For our more verbal students, organizing thoughts for speech might even be a stepping stone to better writing because the student will process the information in a way that is his strength.  Just as with scaffolding, this could scaffold for a hesitant writer.  Check out this slidedeck by Professor Tamika Taylor with instructions for how to prepare for a speech.

 

That’s where podcasting comes in.  Podcasting is much like a radio broadcast.  There are no images or written text. Everything is recorded in audio form.  Some great examples can be found in iTunes and on StoryCorps.Org  1100+ of which have been shared on NPR.org.  There are free audio apps available on all mobile devices from regular phones, to smartphones, to tablets.  Apple or Android – it doesn’t matter.

Apps and Websites
For Apple users, the Voice Record Pro App is free and powerful.  Among the many features it offers, it allows you to import and export from Google Drive, offers editing, and saves into multiple formats.  The age  label is 4+ which means it is easy enough for kindergarteners to use.

For Chromebook users, Vocaroo.com is a simple, web-based voice recorder that offers a simple record, pause, and stop dashboard.  The recording is saved on Vocaroo’s servers for 2-3 months and then is deleted.  It offers the user a link that can be copied and pasted to share with others.  I love this app for simple checking for understanding especially for the younger children who can speak more easily than write.  I have used this successfully with students as low as first grade.

The world is changing, and the good news is that it now offers us many new ways to interact and assess our students.  Check out podcasting for a new and different experience.