55th Annual IRA – Chicago

Institute Notes – “Using 21st Century Tools to Support Authentic, Challenging Literacy Learning in Grades 3-8” 04/25

Don Leu:  “New Literacies Research Team” – Team Publications for presentation information.

The Shift From Page to Screen – Internet World Stats (Internet Usage Statistics)  In a flattened world Opportunities Expand but Competition Increases – Use teams to define problems, locate information, critically evaluate information, synthesize and solve problems, and communicate problems.
Problem based learning essential.
Effective online information and communication skills required.
Internet literacies have become essential.
In short: fundamental change in the reading curriculum.

The Nature of Online Reading Comprehension – No correlation between state reading assessment and online reading comprehension assessment. Poorer students may use the support of the Internet to actually comprehend better than paper text. Different skills and strategies involved – like search engines, critically evaluating sources, communicating information and reading from electronic sources. Online comprehension not the same as offline comprehension. Online information tends to come in short passages. 10%-20% of the IEP students may be good online readers.

  • Reading to identify important questions.
  • Reading to locate information.
  • Read to critically evaluate information to answer those questions.
  • Read to synthesize information.
  • Read to communicate the answers to others.

Use Martin Luther King as an example/model for inferring/evaluating search page results.

How do changes induced by the Internet provide new opportunities for teaching and learning?
Self generated professional development  – 7th grade ELA homeroom homepage
Helping the Last become the First – teach the weakest reader first with the new tool.
The Nature of Teaching in 1:1 Computing Classrooms – Internet Reciprocal Teaching (IRT), Preliminary Taxonomy of Online Reading Comprehension Skills and Strategies – journal article at website.

IRT: Phase I Teacher-led Basic Skills

  • Teacher-led demonstrations of basic Internet use skill and cooperative learning skills
  • Explicit modeling by teacher
  • Largely whole class instruction
  • Mini-lessons as transition to Phase II

IRT: Phase II Collaborative modeling of online reading strategies

  • Students presented with information problems to solve
  • Work in small groups to solve those problems
  • Exchange strategies as they do so
  • Debrief at the end of the lesson
  • Initially: locating and critically evaluating
  • Later: Synthesis and communicating

IRT: Phase III Inquiry

  • Initially, within the class
  • Then, with others around the world

How can we use collaborative projects??
Internet Morning Message of the Day – find classrooms thru ePals, share a short description of what you are doing through email on Tuesday and Friday.
Oz Projects,. Global Network
Who Defines Reading? Technology or Literacy Issue
Technology standards are separated but should become integrated within subject areas.

Focus on higher order thinking skills
Problem based learning
Higher expectations
Integration of reading/technology skills

From Follow-the-Format to Do-it-Yourself: Authentic, Challenging Online Student Literacy Activities and What It Takes for Teachers to Make Them Work

Technology, Literacy, and Learning: Following the Format
Students respond to teacher questions on blog – Class action blogs – document student learning, (Alphansa Academy in Chicago) Make predictions about what you think will happen based on textual evidence (give quotes)
Students videotaped themselves reading their character monologues. Because students were videotaping, they tended to put more effort into the project.
Develop you own expertise, Don’t add; integrate, the realities of planning, pulling it off.
Online Book Discussion Groups – Online social network on book – Goodreads
Old Time Radio for New Time Podcasts – Listen to old radio broadcasts and then record own scripts (Google Docs) and record as a podcasts (GarageBand).

Peer Discussion of Texts in an Online Environment

Critical Thinking with Expository Text
Passage selection and Cognitive Process – two new areas of NAEP.
Will use essays, speeches, autobiographies and biographies as well as poetry. (45%) Literary Texts/ (55%) Info Text in 8th grade.
Locate/Recall, Integrate/Interpret (50%), Critique/Evaluate (30%) – new cognitive targets in 8th grade.

Create a Culture that Fosters Higher Level Comprehension and Motivation
Select Interesting Texts – should  encourage critical and evaluative thinking. – questioning, logical analysis, inference, evaluation and judgment
SNOPES – help with political accuracy, Ninja Burger – hoax site
Group texts that present alternative and problematic perspectives on the topic.
Group texts that highlight versions and variants of a story or event.

Encourage Strategic Processing – leave a trail of your thinking (leave tracks, turn and talk

Task Selection – Opportunity for Authentic Writing – Open ended – Blog

Talking Matters – Introducing Talking Through Text

  • Accountable Talk Strategies
  • Strategic Reading
  • Written Responses to Text

Internet Reciprocal Teaching

The Internet is this generation’s defining technology for reading.
The Internet requires new literacies – additional online reading comprehension skills.
Internet Reciprocal Teaching – teaching online reading comprehension
IRT – model that moves from direct teacher instruction to student strategy exchange to independent inquiry projects.

Phase 1 – Teacher-led Basic Skills

  • Teacher led demonstrations of basic Internet use skills and cooperative learning strategies
  • Explicit Modeling by teacher
  • Largely whole class instruction
  • Mini lessons as transition to Phase 2

Phase 2 – Collaborative Modeling of Online Reading Strategies

  • Students work in small groups to solve information problem s
  • Exchange strategies as they work
  • Debrief at the end of the lesson
  • Initial focus on location and critical evaluation of information moving to synthesis and communication of information

Phase 3: Independent Selection of Internet Inquiry Project

  • Projects initially within the class or school community
  • Later move to others around the world
  • Finally focus on the ultimate use of the Internet in daily life

Larger definition of New Literacies, emerging from a variety of disciplines as well as the more specific definition of the new literacies of online reading comprehension.

Instruction of adolescent in online reading comprehension skills: question, locate, evaluate, synthesize, communicate

Comprehending Informational Text – See Handout and order book

Let’s Get Engaged With the 4Cs Project! Using 21st Century Skills to Create Extension Projects that Engage Middle School Students – See Supplementary Handout

The 4Cs Project provides a framework for students to extend their learning after reading.
Developed from RAFT writing
Incorporates traditional as well as 21st century skills

Sir Ken Robinson, Educational Leadership 2009 – need for creativity and innovation
Student Role – make decisions regarding
Group Members, The Essential Questions, The project that will best demonstrate the answers.


  • Content – What is the inspiration/topic/prompt for project – can be novel, source/issue related to novel
  • What will you and your audience learn from this project? What is the creator’s purpose – entertain, persuade?
  • Choosing Content – mini lessons on handout

Bitstrips/Pixton (Comic Books), Mad Lib, Movie Pre-production – give students a list of suggestions.

Point Person – keeps track of storyboard, resources, conferring with the teacher, turning in project

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