Indiana Reading Journal Volume 44 Issue 1 - Page 39

Uploaded content become “slides” where group conversations can occur within a single page. VoiceThread’s privacy policy allows content to be hosted publicly, shared with selected people, or remained private to outside viewers. Teachers can facilitate instruction within the slides and moderate comments before they are shared within the presentation. Students can comment within the web-based tool or download the VoiceThread app to participate asynchronously with any Internet connection. Free account registration is available to use with students, or teachers can opt to purchase a low cost yearly subscription (see ed.voicethread), which offers additional security settings and individual student accounts.

To this end, VoiceThread provides an avenue for meeting 21st Century digital literacy skills for creative and innovative thinking through technology, offering a more personal and participatory learning experience for students. I encourage you to view the introductory video to using VoiceThread in education at to better familiarize yourself with the possibilities of this online tool.

VoiceThread for HOTS

In this section, I offer three suggested curriculum uses for VoiceThread, placed within each HOTS level of Bloom’s, and include a discussion of each use within the Indiana Academic Standards (IDOE, 2014) and the Common Cores State Standards (NGA Center & CCSSO, 2010b).

#1: Close reading of text.

HOTS level of Bloom’s: Analyzingexamining relationships, using text evidence to make inferences and support generalizations.

The act of reading deeply and responding using text is a skill that must explicitly be taught and practiced. Within new K-12 standards, students must engage in close reading of complex text and refer to the text explicitly for answers as evident in CCSS Anchor Reading Standards ([Standards 1 & 10]; NGA & CCSSO, 2010a) and Indiana Academic Standards for Reading Literature and Nonfiction ([Standards 1 and 2]; IDOE, 2014). Text dependent questions, as the name suggests, are centered in the text, not leading, and must engage students in authentic and genuine conversation (Aspen Institute, 2012). Fisher & Frey (2012) include five types of text dependent questions appropriate for close reading (p. 4-6):

1. General Understandings—questions relating to the gist of a given passage

2. Key Details—questions relating to who, what, when, where, why, how much, or how many

3. Vocabulary and Text Structure—questions about author’s choice of words and phrases as well as text structure; questions connecting literal and inferred meanings and examining various shades of meaning

4. Inferences—questions using the text to make evidence-based guesses; questions which connect details and analyze

5. Opinions, Arguments, and Intertextual Connections—questions build from previous text dependent questions; questions which generate discussion and allow for personal connections.

Curriculum use description.

To use VoiceThread for a close reading of text, teachers can first upload a grade-level complex text, such as the poem “Afternoon on a Hill” by Edna St. Vincent, listed as a Common Core text exemplar for grades 2-3 (Appendix B, NGA Center & CCSS, 2010a, p. 43). By uploading the poem three times (creating three slides), teachers can guide students through multiple readings of this text to engage students in a close read (see Figure 3). As a final slide to the presentation, a supplemental text, video clip, or image can be added to enrich the close read and support intertextual connections as noted above. Table 2 presents suggested teaching points and potential questions aligned to the types of text dependent questions for engaging students in close reading of this exemplar text. Within this Bloom’s level of analyzing, students are making inferences and citing evidence from the text to support claims.