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


  1. Thanks Jennifer, So...another Newbe here. A Hyperdocs is sort of like an Interactive Online Unit Plan that you share with other teachers allowing access to that group for sharing ideas and insights along the way?

    1. Hi Stacey,

      It is an interactive, online unit plan. Very similar to a Teaching Guide you might download for a fee (created by other teachers), or literature guides from a publisher. We also have a Teacher's Guide that explains one possible way you could use it. We hope that teachers will modify the Hyperdoc for their use with their own students. The Teacher Guide is linked to slide 67, or you can access it directly at


  2. Thank you Jennifer for creating this phenomenal Hyperdoc. Was this something that was 'clunky', sometimes Google elements cannot be smooth to use? I would love to try this with my collections of books that I have clubs for but want them excited that technology is involved.

  3. Hi Michelle,

    I actually had a very small part in the Hyperdoc. It was a collaborative effort of several great minds! We didn't have any issues with it being "clunky" but we shall see next week! I hope you can use it with your students.