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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Annual Report on Maine Literacy and Technology Pilot

It is that time of year again and we are publishing our annual Maine Literacy and Technology Pilot report.  I am sharing part 1 here because - as you will notice - the level of meta-cognition required for students within this 21st century framework.  Collaboration requires a level of self-awareness and self-direction.  This begs the question - are we teaching meta-cognition as explicitly as we should?


Annual Report on Maine Literacy and Technology Pilot - Committee - Part 1

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Annual Report on Maine Literacy and Technology Pilot - Committee - Part 1

This year, 2010-2011, our committee consisted of Jake Bogar, Science Teacher, Mount Blue High School; Alison Prescott, first grade teacher at Winthrop Elementary School; Hatti De Raps, Alternative Education Teacher, Mount Blue High School; and Bill Giasson, 3rd grade Teacher, Winthrop Elementary School.

To many of you, this may sound like an odd combination - given the grade levels and content areas.  However, one of the essential elements we discovered last year through our EDU 593 class, was the existent of common characteristics in the collaborative process - spanning grade levels and contents.

We began EDU 593 -  Guided Inquiry in the 21st Century Classroom: Technology and Literacy - in the Spring of 2010. 
The course built on the literacy knowledge and skills developed in EDU 590 and EDU 591, Advanced Strategies and Applied Research forContent Literacy Mentors, Part 1 and 2.  Current research identifies core literacy strategies as universal cognitive strategies used for problem solving in today’s world.  Specifically this course will help teachers develop and transition this knowledge within the context of guided inquiry and technology and will provide a focus on the 21st century standards (AASL, 2009):
·      Inquire, think critically and gain knowledge,
·      Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge,
·      Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society
·      Pursue personal and aesthetic growth
We had 14 participants from grades 1-12 - from varying content areas.  Schools represented were: Rumford Elementary, Winthrop Elementary, and Mt. Blue High School. 

Guided inquiry of and in itself demands collaboration - between the expert other and the novice (Vygotzky).  However, within the context of technology and what we now know about the importance of social interaction, we soon identified students' and teachers' ability to - "share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society" - as the top priority as well as the area where many teachers need the most assistance; staff development and practice.

We began with the rubric found in Carol Kuthlthau's text, Guided Inquiry; Learning in the 21st 
 Century (one primary text for the course).

 While many were novices to the Learning How to Learn and Information Literacy, teachers quickly got a handle on these two categories - the foundations had been established in EDU 590 and 591.  However, the areas that gave us all cause to re-think and re-look, were clustered under Social Skills.  Examining collaboration through the lens of technology, we decided to start by defining those areas we needed to encompass.  Following are our notes - brainstorming.

Using Guided Inquiry to foster collaboration in the classroom with technology in order to provide a framework for students to understand information through a globally aware and culturally literate lens.


  1. Research & Gather information
  2. Empathy / Frame of reference
  3. Making connections (Gardner)
  4. Cause and effect
  5. Cultural Awareness
  6. Understanding the role of Technology
  7. Participant Responsibilities
  8. Effective communication

Collaboration Rubric:

  1. Contribute
    1. Research & Gather Information
    2. Share Information
    3. Be Punctual
  2. Take Responsibility
    1. Fulfill Team Role's Duties
    2. Participate in Science Conference
    3. Share Equally
  3. Value Others' Viewpoints
    1. Listen to Other Teammates
    2. Cooperate with Teammates
    3. Make Fair Decisions

Cultural Literacy Rubric:

  1. Awareness of culture
  2. Awareness of history and its impact
  3. Perspective taking - history
  4. Stereotyping and bias
  5. Tolerance
  6. Language proficiency

Globalization Rubric:

  1. Awareness of technology’s impact on interconnections between nations/ individuals, global economy
  2. Understanding of the interconnected-ness of the global economy
  3. Understanding of the impact of global economy on political decision-making
  4. Understanding the impact of decisions made by national, international organizations on societies, environment, economies
  5. Understanding of the impact of culture on political relationships
  6. Understanding of the impact of ideology, culture on decisions related to technology and access
  7. Participation in the global society


Guided Inquiry - definition here
Collaborative Reasoning - not consensus,...
Can we create core common language and a core language --> Use in the rubric
“Collaborative reasoning discussions are intended to create a forum for children to listen to one another think out loud as they learn to engage in reasoned argumentation.”
Look at Costa’s work

Sunday, June 19, 2011

7 ways to go from on-task to engaged

The following article is courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief.  It is excellent. As you read it, you might think about how the elements of meta-cognition are being suggested as a way to engage students. 
Your students appear on-task as they busily copy notes from the screen. But are they engaged? Director of professional development Bryan Harris shares strategies for keeping students both on-task and interested in his guest Inservice blog post. Read on to find out how his tips can help you battle "pretend-attend" in your classroom. Read the full post. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Re-Visiting Metacognition!

I am posting these two articles, because to me, they represent the dilemma I find myself in right now.  As I travel to different states and countries, I keep bumping into teachers who respond to the mention of metacognition as - "We did that already.  You know, when it was popular."

I am distressed by these comments, because I view research and teaching as a cumulative process - we sift, combine, and recreate our information through a new lens every time we learn something new!  So--I never reach the, yeah, been there done that = got it frame of mind.

In my opinion, these two articles focus on metacognition by having students identify what they think about their own opinions and others - and then - articulate their opinions or thoughts on the topics.  It requires a high level of what I think or know and how does this information compare to others ---leading to what do I do with this? Ask? Clarify? Add?

The first article is shared courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief:

  • Teacher: Twitter boosts participation in classroom discussions
    Los Angeles history teacher Enrique Legaspi has incorporated Twitter into lessons to increase classroom participation among his eighth-grade students. They use their smartphones or class computers to tweet responses to questions in class, enabling more students to contribute to the discussion. "I get feedback on the spot. Not only that, all the students can see what they're sharing," Legaspi said. "This is powerful." CNN (6/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story 
  • The second is shared through e-school news.

Ten ideas for interactive teaching

While lecturing tends to be the easiest form of instruction, studies show that students absorb the least amount of information that way.
Interactive teaching methods are an effective way to connect with a generation of students used to consistent stimulation—and education professor Kevin Yee has some advice for how teachers can make their lessons more interactive.
Studies show students absorb more information when not in a straight-lecture lesson

Please - Let us know what you think.  Post a comment.

Webinar Archived

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Link Between Technology Integration and Reading Comprehension- Lessons in a First Grade Classroom

Please join us for this ground breaking webinar !

Alison's latest research makes us rethink what many of us thought we knew about reading! 

For those of us in the U.S., this will also have some important implications for the Common Core.  - Regardless of grade level!!

 Alison Prescott joins us again this year to share her research and share a no nonsense plan on technology in a first grade classroom.

The webinar will begin with a step by step outline of how to implement teach students the basic of technology while applying it to their learning.  This is a simple no nonsense plan - accessible to all teachers.  Applications she will discuss are free.

Next, Alison will briefly share the research from her thesis that establishes the link between use of these specific technology applications and increased reading comprehension.

Finally, there will be a question and answer period.

Hope to see you there:)

Topic:  The Link Between Technology Integration and Reading  
            Comprehension- Lessons in a First Grade Classroom

Presenter: Alison Prescott 
Date: June 9, 2011

Time: 3:00-4:00 p.m.

The URL for Thursday’s meeting:

Phone bridge numbers: 1-866-910-4857 / Password 985399.

Further instructions on joining the meeting are available in PDF format at

Friday, June 3, 2011

Literacy Across the Curriculum

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The recording of yesterdays webinar, Literacy Across the Curriculum by Lisa,  is ready and online -

Thanks for an excellent presentation and materials posted on line:)  

Great response from teachers:)