Check out the new Heinemann Podcast with Sonja, Cornelius Minor, and Sara Ahmed as they sit down and talk with Heinemann General Manager, Vicki Boyd, about racism in education and what we can do.
We’re having a great conversation on our Facebook Book Club about the many uses for Padlet in our classrooms! Join us!
If you’ve never tried using Padlet, then you’re like me! I’m excited to learn how to use it so I can try making some Padlets with links to flipped lessons and digital texts. In our conversation on Facebook, our group has come up with many great uses for Padlet in the classroom including:
Come join the discussion! Padlet is totally new to me, and this chat has really helped! This is my first Padlet ever: https://padlet.com/djohansen1/yyapxe2ota0l I’m trying to figure it out, and it’s really fun!
It was a great weekend at ILA! Thank you to all who came to our presentation about flipped learning! We have posted a bunch of flipped resources here on our blog. They are under the heading “Flipped Learning Book” at the top of the page. Email us or tweet us if you have any questions. Our email is LitLearnAct7@gmail.com and our Twitter handle is @LitLearnAct.
Also, please join our Facebook Group! We talk about flipped learning, technology we’re using in the classroom, teaching interpretation, digital texts, close reading, and most importantly, bringing joy to the language arts classroom!
When I first started flipping lessons in writing workshop, I worried about the amount of direct instruction I was creating. I was worried because that’s not my primary teaching style in the classroom. I like to have a balance of direct instruction and inquiry-based instruction in my writing workshop. I want my students to explore language and punctuation. I was worried that I might not be able to create inquiry-based flipped lessons. But I was wrong.
Two of my favorite inquiry-based professional development books for how to teach writing are Wondrous Words by Katie Wood Ray and The Power of Grammar by Mary Ehrenworth. Both authors encourage students to examine the work of writers in order to investigate and discuss their writing moves. Ray and Ehrenworth encourage students to come up with their own names for the moves that writers make such as “Fragments that Create Heart-Pounding Suspense” or “Endings that Circle Back to the Beginning.” This way, students can take ownership of the writing strategies and try them out in their own writing.
I was excited to discover that I can make flipped lessons that support this inquiry-based learning approach. I began creating lessons that did not use a direction-instruction method for teaching, and I found that students loved this type of flipped lesson.
For example, let’s say I wanted to create a writing workshop flipped lesson about writing leads in a fiction unit. I might take a sentence such as the first line of the book, Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo and use it in my flipped lesson:
“My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog. This is what happened:”
In my flipped lesson, I would use an inquiry-based teaching method like Ray and Ehrenworth recommend. I would encourage my students to examine this sentence and jot down the writing moves that they’re noticing DiCamillo made when writing this sentence. I would use an inquiry-based teaching prompt such as “What do you notice?” to help students get started. This would open the lesson up to students noticing many things about DiCamillo’s sentence.
After students had the chance to jot down what they notice, I would ask them to think about DiCamillo’s sentence only in terms of leads. I would encourage students to jot down this type of lead in their writing workshop notebook and name this type of story beginning. Some students might call it an “Introductory” lead or a “How did it all Begin?” lead. Finally in my flipped lesson, I would ask my students to try to write a lead like DiCamillo’s. This way they can put their own spin on this type of beginning.
So here are my 5 steps to creating an inquiry-based flipped lesson:
What I love about flipped learning is that the possibilities are endless. Students can have an inquiry-based learning experience at school, at home, anywhere. Technology helps make this happen.
Let me know if you have ideas about inquiry-based flipped learning with technology. I’m finding that it’s all about the questions you ask. With the right questions and encouragement, anything is possible.
Dana Johansen teaches fifth grade in Connecticut. As her dear friend and colleague Melissa says, “For teachers, June is like Friday night, July is like Saturday, and August is like Sunday.” Dana is soaking up the July days with #bookaday reading and teaching writing to middle school students. Dana’s newest book, Flip Your Writing Workshop, co-authored with Sonja Cherry-Paul, was released in April, and Dana is looking forward to #ILA2016 where she is going to present on flipped learning. She believes in bringing literacy learning to life in any way that she can. Dana uses digital texts, flipped lessons, and all things Google to differentiate, be time efficient, and increase her students’ autonomy in the workshop. She has taught elementary and middle school for fifteen years. Dana is a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University where she studies blended learning in reading and writing workshop.
When we work with educators who want to begin flipping lessons in their writing workshops, we regularly address major misconceptions about flipped learning. For example, we’ve been asked, “Isn’t flipped learning about students watching videos while teachers escape from doing any work?” We want teachers, administrators, parents, and students to know this is absolutely false!
Flipped learning isn’t about teaching less; it’s about students doing more!
Recently, Dana tweeted the following: “I don’t flip lessons so that I can teach less. I flip lessons so that my students can do more!” Flipped learning is not a replacement for the work that happens in the classroom during writing workshop. Teachers are irreplaceable. We play a critical role in helping students to develop as writers. Students need face-to-face interactions with teachers who listen to their struggles, celebrate their accomplishments, model new strategies, demonstrate powerful writing moves with mentor texts, and a plethora of other essential teaching that enables students to flourish as writers. Our students need us. We are their cheerleader, confidant, and counsel. Flipped lessons enhance the workshop by making it possible for students to move confidently through the writing process with support from their teacher at every turn.
Flipped learning isn’t about students watching videos; it’s about students accessing instruction.
Even though most of us could not function on a daily basis without assistance from technology, a negative association is at times made when we see students in front of computers, particularly in the classroom. The image of this can evoke fear. Fear that our students aren’t really learning; that they’re just passive viewers. Another misconception about flipped learning, because it involves students using technology, is that it results in watered-down instruction. Flipped learning isn’t about students watching videos; it’s about students accessing instruction. This instruction has been deliberately and carefully designed to help students excel academically. Delivering this instruction via technology acknowledges and honors the way many of our students enjoy learning. Technology is an indelible part of our students’ lives and therefore, should be part of the classroom. When students access flipped lessons they are not passive learners; they are working with a specific purpose in mind and are held accountable for the instruction provided in these lessons. Writer’s notebooks, exit/entrance tickets, and writing conferences are some of the ways students can demonstrate what they’ve learned and the steps they plan to take next.
ILA2016 is rapidly approaching! Dana and I are excited to learn from and alongside so many dedicated educators across the country and beyond. We are also excited to have the opportunity to discuss our thoughts about flipped learning and to converse with a global circle of educators who have ideas and questions about flipped learning, too.
Wow! The summer is starting, and I have 3 main goals for rejuvenating and relaxing:
1- Get outside and do some good walking with my yellow lab.
2- Try some new, healthy smoothie recipes.
3- Try to keep up with the #Bookaday challenge. So far, I’m on day 12 of the #Bookaday challenge and I hope to continue for 60 days.
I’m not going to lie- so far there have been some rough days, but I’m hanging in there and am feeling good! If you haven’t heard about the #Bookaday challenge, the goal is to read a book each day. You can start the challenge at anytime and end at anytime. Simply set a goal and read! You can read a picture book, chapter book, professional development book, anything! The purpose of the challenge is to simply set aside some time for reading. How glorious! Thank you, Donalyn Miller and The Nerdy Book Club, for inspiring the #Bookaday challenge!
What I love about this challenge is that with each day that I read, I am gaining book talks for Sept., mentor texts for minilessons, and professional development advice. I am growing stronger as a teacher (and reader!)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Three cheers for Megan Shull’s new book, Bounce!!! This book feels like a combination of Wendy Mass’s 11 Birthdays and Megan Shull’s The Swap, and it is the perfect blend for readers who love these books. I teach middle school and my students LOVE The Swap. That is why they are counting down the days till Bounce is released. Having just finished reading Bounce, I know they will LOVE it too!
Megan Shull’s distinct writing style and voice shines through in Bounce, and readers will immediately feel like they are back with the voice and style they loved so much in The Swap. Bounce has new characters but the same heartfelt messages and themes from The Swap. While reading Bounce, I laughed, I cried, and I rejoiced. Without giving anything away about the plot, I’ll say that one of my favorite parts of Bounce was meeting such a diverse group of characters. I know that my students will have many discussions about all the characters and how they affected the main character, Frannie.
I am so thankful that Megan Shull writes books that have strong messages, good feels, and diverse characters. As a teacher, I’m always looking for books that will connect with readers. Megan Shull’s books do that. They’re simply magic! If you don’t already have The Swap in your library, it’s a must-have. It will fly off the shelf. In September, get copies of Bounce, too, because they will also be flying off your shelves. I’ve already pre-ordered copies of Bounce– I can’t wait for them to be delivered in Sept. My students will be eagerly waiting for that box, and they’ll love reading Bounce!
Join the #Bookaday challenge! For more information about the #Bookaday challenge, read Donalyn Miller’s blog post here.
You can tweet about your #Bookaday reads with Sonja and me by using the #Bookaday hashatag and our Twitter handle @LitLearnAct. Or visit us on our Facebook Group to talk about about reading, #bookaday, flipped learning, digging deeper into texts, and close reading! We love it! https://www.facebook.com/groups/770735289739767/
Just saw this Skippy Peanut Butter commercial and thought, “I can use that digital text to teach idioms! Yesssss!” I’m going to add it to my figurative language digital bin. Perfect! Thought I’d share it quickly here. Enjoy!