SOL16, Day 6 and DigiLit Sunday: Techniques

It’s day six in the March Slice of Life challenge. The challenge to write daily requires a little inspiration from time to time. Today it came in this tweet and a quick search.

Techniquenoun – a way of carrying out a particular task, especially the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure.

Last summer three colleagues picked up Cynthia Lord’s new book Handful of Stars. Next read, next week?  Sounds like a way a book club might choose a book. But, this book club was a little different. This book was read and “discussed” with colleagues all over the country on a shared Google doc. It was a terrific experience. We did it to write about reading together. We did it to experience what we asked our students to do.
What also came out of this experience was an idea, a possibility. Might students write about reading in this way? Could students in our classrooms connect and read a book together this way?

A few weeks ago I walked up to  H and L  huddled together with their notebooks and a book. They love to work through books side by side. I asked them, “Have you ever gotten to a good part in a book and you’re at home, and you can’t talk? ”

Both started talking about times when this happened. This was it. I asked, “Can I show you something? What if …” and I told them the story of reading Handful of Stars with my friends. Then I showed them how to start a collaboration document.

They began side by side and saw their names pop up on the same document. Squeals of “That’s so cool!”  were noticed by readers around them.  So it started. Readers and writers have found a new way, a new technique to read and write together. Sometimes it happens when they are at home. Sometimes it happens across the room. Sometimes it happens when they’re sitting side by side.

What I’m wondering about is, could it happen with students in other classrooms?

Thanks for the inspiration Margaret! Read more DigiLit Sunday posts here.


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for the March Slice of Life Challenge. Thank you for connecting readers and writers. Read more slices here.




11 thoughts on “SOL16, Day 6 and DigiLit Sunday: Techniques

  1. I can imagine how excited these two would be in this process! BTW I just heard Cynthia Lord speak about Handful of Stars. Such an experience! She made me cry multiple times.

  2. Every day in SOL I am reading about such exciting and innovative things teachers are doing with digital devices to improve their students’ learning experience. It really feels like teachers have evolved from the numbing stage of being glued to a screen, to learning to adapt the current technology to what works best for them.

  3. So of course I LOVED reading your post today because I very much connected to it since I had the great pleasure of being a part of your summer virtual book club!! WOW!!! So fun that now you got it going with students thanks to technology. I am feeling a world of possibilities opened up as I tried kidblog. I am seeing in just days the power and excitement of my classroom of 3rd graders writing and commenting!! But like you, I can see it as a place to also (after March Slices) write about reading books or maybe video games we play or restaurants we go to. So, so many ideas…and it all started when I have the great luck of meeting you in person briefly at the coffee shop and bookstore in NYC. You inspire me and keep me going, my CA friend!!

  4. Julieanne, I think using a collaborative format for documenting thoughts while reading is quite exciting. One of my colleagues is starting one for a book club group on Long Island because we all live distances away from each other. I love your Waterlogue photo of your students engrossed in reading. Warms my reading specialist’s heart.

  5. I love where you have taken our experience from this summer to build in another choice for responding to reading. Thanks for linking up and joining the technique conversation. Are we on to something here?

  6. I can hear those girls squealing, Julieanne. It’s a perfect way to teach, to discover what’s going on, assess the need and offer something that will help. I hope you’ll share if this works with others, too.

  7. Joining this online group to read and discuss A Handful of Stars was an eye-opening experience, but I hadn’t considered having kids use Google docs to keep track of their thinking. I loved connecting with old friends and making new ones while reading a beautiful book. Let’s do it again this summer!

  8. I read your post this morning and I guess I forgot to respond. I love the way you drew the girls in. The world opens up to learning in new ways.

  9. Great post. I have been using KidBlog in this way, but I wonder if Google Docs is more accessible in that it is instant and goes on the same doc instead of a comment.

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