Sunday, August 28, 2016

Collaborating on PAX for the Global Read Aloud

One day, I happened to be on Twitter...

Sounds like the perfect beginning to a Hero's Journey archetype, no? Yes, it does!

Because it's my story - although I am no hero. I am an ordinary teacher in an ordinary world, who joins up with three amazing and talented comrades and we work together to solve the problem about how to collaborate on a teaching resource for a novel we are reading with our classes in the fall.

And the adventure is just beginning!

Before I go on, I must back up. This story has a prologue. I LOVE the Global Read Aloud. It has opened so many doors (ok... Google Hangouts) to other classes from around the world. Over the past 5 years, I have enjoyed reading novels with my class and then taking our discussions online to reflect, discuss, and create with classes in far away places such as New York and Australia. Here is another blog post I wrote on the topic. To learn more about the Global Read Aloud and sign your class up, go here. This will be my 6th year participating in the GRA and I am looking forward to reading PAX by Sara Pennypacker with my 6th grade class in October.

Now, back to the beginning of my story...

One day, I happened to be on Twitter and I was hearing amazing things about HyperDocs (created by Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis). They looked so innovative and interesting and I really wanted to make one. And then I saw a tweet from Heather McMarshall. She was looking to start a collaborative novel HyperDoc and was looking for suggestions about which book to choose. So, I took a risk; I answered her back! And to my delight, she agreed to make a novel HyperDoc with me for PAX. We needed a couple more teachers to work with us and she found just the right people: Nicole Beardsley and Kimberlie McDonald.

Remember, I am the ordinary teacher here. I had never made a Hyperdoc. And it turned out, I couldn't have asked for better teachers to learn from. I look forward to sharing more about the process of collaborating on this project in subsequent posts. Also, it is our intention to use this PAXHD to connect our classes together when the project starts in October.

So why am I sharing my experience on my blog? Because I took a risk, reached out, and Heather, Nicole, and Kimberlie reached back through Twitter. I hope that maybe if I share the process of collaborating on this project with these amazing teachers that someone else may be inspired to take a risk in their own teaching. Working with teachers I have never met in real life and using Twitter as our main communication tool has been an eye-opening experience for me. We are certainly BETTER TOGETHER when we work together to plan learning experiences for students!

For more inspiration on collaborating on a shared Hyperdocs, check out this blog post by Karly Moura. To view the collaborative novel Hyperdoc for PAX, go to

The Art of Selfies

This week was the first week of school and I wanted to do something new and exciting to learn about my students. So I found a Hyperdoc created by Heather Marshall called The Art of Selfies. I had to edit it because I found some of the content to be inappropriate for my 6th graders. It is important to ALWAYS preview another person's work, links, videos, etc. BEFORE showing it to your class! You never know!

For this lesson, I went over my Responsible Use Policy before handing kids a Chromebook. This was going to be their first time using devices in my class, so I spent about 20 minutes going over my expectations and answering questions. Which naturally led us to talking about images people post online. I asked them how many of them take selfies, and we were on our way to starting the Hyperdoc.

The students worked in partners to view the resources in the Hyperdoc, posted thoughts and ideas on a collaborative padlet, answer garden, and Google Form. The students also inserted their own selfie and a short bio into our shared Google Slide Deck so our classmates could get to know each other better.

The lesson I taught using the modified Art of the Selfie hyperdoc is embedded below.