The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 1 - Page 15

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Recently, I started a class blog that corresponds with a text that my class is reading. I am already seeing a difference in students’ writing. Students are aware of my expectations with their blog entries: quality writing, not quantity writing. With the class blog, my students are excited to write and share their blog entries with others. Many of my students’ blog entries show thoughtfulness and often demonstrate correct use with spelling and punctuation.

I have also noticed that my students respond favorably to the different modalities afforded with 21st century multimodal texts. For example, creating Wordles as a class has been an excellent way to visually present students’ summaries of a shared text. Likewise, Flocabulary and Grammaropolis have auditory and visual elements that enable me to teach concepts within all curricular areas, while maintaining my students’ interest levels and engagement during instruction.

Briefly describe specific examples of how you have used 21st century multimodal texts over the last three years.

Over the last three years, my use of 21st century multimodal texts has increased tremendously. Three years ago, I started using Edmodo with my class of second graders. It was my first time to teach second grade, and I was uncertain of my students’ ability to use multimodal applications. I am pleased to say that this was a very positive experience because my students were able to use Edmodo very well. During this first year of use, students used Edmodo mostly to send social messages to me and their classmates. These early messages were very succinct, such as a simple greeting. Later, I began using Edmodo as a way to conduct class polls and post links for my students to access both in school and away from school. Posted links provided my students with access to supplemental content associated with textbooks, as well as games and activities that provided extra practice for various content areas.

I have also used the iPad frequently, particularly with my struggling readers, to access 21st century multimodal texts. For example, Scholastic Storia books have interactive elements embedded that have enhanced my instruction with reading skills, such as phonics. In this same manner, my campus has a subscription to Reading A-Z, which enables me to print books for reading instruction. I often use the overhead projector to share stories with the class multimodally. I have also designed learning experiences where my students have created multimedia presentations, such as PowerPoints.

Recently, I have begun using a blog on our classroom Weebly website to correspond with a text we are reading as a class, Charlotte’s Web. In the past, my students would handwrite responses to this text in their reader’s response journals. Recently, I have tweaked this learning experience to incorporate multimodal aspects in an effort to improve my students’ writing. I found that when my students realized that their writing was published for others to read, they had a stronger sense of ownership and took pride with their writing.

Through the blog, I also wanted to create a community of critical readers who enjoyed a text together using multiple modes of 21st century literacy practices. Each day after we read a chapter as a class, I facilitated a group discussion with my students about the reading. My students were then given a topic to write about related to the reading and discussion, and each student composed a blog entry.

" Recently, I have

begun using a

blog on our

classroom Weebly website to correspond with a text we are reading as a class, Charlotte’s Web."