Tag Archives: Digital Bins

#TCRWP: Reading Institute Day 4

 Accelerating Student Progress with Brooke Geller

Today we shared our tools with the admonition to consider these two questions:  “What is it?”  “How will I use it?”

1) Teaching Main Idea with examples for both explicit and implicit Main Idea  (for work with teachers first)


2.  Post-it Thinking Continuum for Student Self- Assessment

Students can ask the question:  Where does my post-it fit on this continuum? and

How can I improve my post-it?


3.  Strengthening our Post-its

Samples on top layer with suggestions underneath


4. Strategies for Nonfiction Texts with Questions

Teaching strategies specific to NF texts


5.  Strategies to Grow Readers

Specific sentence stems/frames to increase thinking


6. Digital charts for analyzing point of view and what to do when I am confused

Sentence frames


Then we explored Guided Reading Book Introduction in small groups with a teacher, a lifeline and three students.  Before the second round, Brooke did some coaching to encourage engagement (and quality instruction):

  • wait time
  • questioning – name the student last
  • showing text – particular parts
  • displaying vocabulary
  • display powerful images
  • turn and talk early on
 Social Studies Centers

In Social Studies Centers with Kathleen Tolan, we  began by discussing our Big Ideas within our group.  We posted them on the wall and then returned to our Drum roll (see Day 1 for the write around charts).  While circulating the room, and visiting the write arounds, we were trying to match up our “Big Ideas” with the actual pictures from the write arounds.

This meant constant reading and re-reading.  It also required trust and messiness.  There wasn’t a clear cut 1:1 match.  Kathleen reminded us that materials and intellect can challenge each other.

Important Teaching Notes
  • We didn’t have “lectures” on “big ideas” and maybe kids don’t need those either.
  • Revision of Big Ideas can come from the work.
  • Some resources lead to bigger ideas!
  • This is messy!

Big ideas included:

Access to knowledge is empowering.
Gender determines the future of a colonist.
Sanctions don’t necessarily work.
Slaves were traded as resources.
Colonial boundaries changed over time.

Not all Big Ideas matched up to the pictures but the more times that we, as students, revisit both the Drum roll and the Big Ideas, the more that we will revise our Big Ideas and increase both our personal and group learning.  Not matching a picture was not wrong.  However this “re-focusing” on Big Ideas gave us a bit more structure to think about as we began our second round of center work.

We had a page with four quotes for a whole class activity.  When working with quotes, Kathleen said people and dates matter so we googled dates for the  quotes that were missing dates so we could think about”time” implications as we worked on common themes between the quotes.  After discussing a quote in our group, we then did a quick write about what the quote meant.  Kathleen shared a fourth grade student response that was much better than mine due to the figurative language and the comparisons for freedom for slaves that was not a result of “liberty” from the British.  It was a great example that pushed our thinking about the possibilities for student learning.

Questions to ask as we plan social studies Read Alouds:

What reading skills do we want to emphasize?
What writing skills?
What note-taking skills (taught and/or used)?
What are the student learning targets?
What vocabulary should be in the word bank? (Does the order match the content order?)
What visuals should be included?
What partner materials need to be collected, organized, labeled and copied for students?


Closing Workshop:  Teaching Literary Elements Such as Mood, Symbolism, and Theme with Digital Bins  – Dana Johansen and Sonja Cherry -Paul

What are Digital Bins?  They are text sets that include:

        • Websites
        • YouTube.com videos
        • Photographs
        • Music
        • Primary source documents
        • Advertisements, etc

One example shared today was Theme:

“Theme is a thread that runs throughout a text.”

  • Pay attention to details:  characters, objects, colors, setting
  • Note patterns such as repeated images, phrases, emotions
  • Name the threads that tie this all together


Grade 6 Student Work Example for Symbolism


Create Text Sets Around Common Themes for Advanced Readers:

(have students compare across text sets)

  • Growing Up
  • Change
  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Equality

Their presentation was really informative and provided many practical ways to plan for instruction in “understanding the craft of writing embedded and discoverable through reading!  Check out their blog here  and their book as well for tons more information!


Keynote – David Booth

Our friend from Canada, David Booth, knows that there  is  a serious problem surrounding boys reading “girl books.”  He works with students, parents, and schools in order to have them understand that the digital age is here whether we like it or not.   Loved the pictures and stories about his granddaughter as well as the fact that he “poked fun” at himself and his technological capacities!  Great speaker!

What was on your learning list for today?  Did you attend the 7:30 pm #TCRWP Twitter Chat with @clemenkat?
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