Slice of Life: Tech Gone Askew and a Padlet Haiku

Every Tuesday writers share a Slice of Life with Two Writing Teachers. Please join in if you are so inclined. It is a wonderful community of writers, readers and teachers.   You can read more slices here. 

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hI’d been wanting to use Padlet to garner responses from read aloud for a long time. Today, thinking I knew what I was doing, I put this question out to the class on Padlet:

Why do you think the story is called A Long Walk to Water?

A simple question that was intended to get first thoughts out. Ideas that could be revised as we read on. Sounds good in theory. And if you look at the end result below, it seems to have gotten close to what I had in mind. Some very surface thinking, some thinking that edges toward more, but most importantly all thoughts can be grown.


The thing you don’t see here is the way the data got on the page. I set the students up, inputing the question in front of them. They were to go to their devices in partnerships and respond. Sounds good in theory.  Then reality happened.

Who’s moving my comment?

How did my comment get so skinny?

Stop writing on top of my comment!

Where did my comment go?

This is a live site. It happens in “real time.” Which means, when students input on multiple devices, at the same time, they are kind of doing this blindly. They can’t see exactly where the other student’s comment is going, so they bump into each other.


After most had gotten a chance to get their thoughts down, I calmed them down (me too) and promised we’d look at the response tomorrow.

Ah, best laid plans…not exactly what I had in mind.

Post mortem – I figured this was my fault. So I spent some time googling around, looking for things like “managing Padlet” or “multiple users on Padlet” and couldn’t  seem to find anything that spoke to my experience. In fact, the “real time” response is cited as the big plus. Perhaps students (and I) will get the hang of this. Perhaps our devices register “real time” slightly slower than “real.”

If nothing else, the end result was was interesting and something to build on. One student immediately set up her own personal Padlet for her book club. Which is pretty cool and exactly what I was hoping they’d do in the long run, transfer to their own work.  For now though I think I’ll stagger their responses, rather than having all comment simultaneously!

Ideas run amok

Bumping into each other

Digital mayhem

Pluses and minuses to this type of learning. I think we can all use this some of the time but not all of the time!

Please share any  experiences you might have had with Padlet. I’m all ears!

Thank you to  TaraAnnaDanaStacey,  Betsy  and Beth  our hosts at Two Writing Teachers for nurturing this writing community.



Digital Literacy Journey: Messy and Organic

Margaret Simon, of Reflections on The Techehas started this wonderful Sunday link up on how we are using technology to enhance literacy in our classrooms. Read all the posts that link up with her on Sundays and learn!

My digital literacy journey in the classroom has been messy and interesting. It has been less than perfect and has taken more time than anticipated. While I’d like to be the master of all knowledge and be able to direct students to the best apps to enhance their learning, but I can’t. So I give them time to try things out. They are the testers and the teachers.

We test things out mostly outside reading and writing blocks, during Genius Hour time, tech team (at recess), and after school. Technology takes experimentation and time. Once things seem to be doable and  applicable for reading or writing we’ll take the tech there.

I give students the time (Genius Hour is once a week) and the trust to explore. I might introduce them to an app or a site and ask them if they would like to play with it to see what they can make of it. Sometimes we run into roadblocks, like we did with Animoto and Smores. Both are fantastic tools but the lack of bandwidth at school stopped us cold, so we set it aside while the district works on upgrades.

Students  welcome the opportunity to learn and teach technology. They are passionate about it and pursue it as choice. What students find and share becomes reason for them to come in off the yard at recess and after school to experiment on their own time.

Stopmotion and Paper 53 (a sketch pad/story boarding tool) were discovered by “T” and “M” through the Animation Chef’s website. Students loved their short animations and found these apps help them compose and tell story.

Our current dilemma is writing about reading on the blog. Blogging about reading is one way students discuss their books. It allows for comments and feedback. Clarifications have been made and concerns about spoiling the story have been cited. Both allow for us to grow as a community of readers and writers.

Organic and messy in nature we are working together  to increase our digital literacy.

Next Steps..  I’m looking to introduce  Padlet  for our read aloud discussion. Students can post their comments or questions immediately after read aloud. If we get good at this, what’s to stop us from using this as a tool for posting questions on the books they are reading in clubs. The other way I’m thinking about using Padlet is to enhance our argument writing. Currently students are working on whether zoos are good or bad. I’ve linked a web page to this Padlet. They can read and comment and even copy quotes for their essays. Perhaps share their own links to support their positions.

Thanks to all who linked up today. I got some great ideas. I’m looking forward to using Thinglink with students for our Colonial work coming up in May (thank you Tara for those virtual tours and the connection to Thinglink) and Soundcloud to add to their blog posts on poetry (thanks to Kevin and Linda for being great mentors).

Thank you Margaret for this link up and all for adding so much to my digital literacy.