Monday, May 18, 2015

Great Presentation on Literacies, Their State and Their Impact - from Keynoter, Buffy Hamilton

CU Boulder Symposium Keynote: Literacies for Every Season of Their Lives April 2015 from Buffy Hamilton (Slide player may take a few seconds to load)

Wow! What a great Slideshare Keynote from teacher-librarian, Buffy Hamilton! I am just one of many librarians and teachers in her PLN who have been following, learning, and practicing in our libraries from all her innovative posts on technology, literacy, books and reading.   Buffy Hamilton has been blogging for over twelve years and is the voice of The Unquiet Librarian.  I have been avidly following Buffy since she was a high school librarian and teacher at Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia.  Buffy spent time as the Learning Strategist for the Cleveland Public Library in Cleveland, Ohio.  Now, she continues moving and shaking at Norcross High in the Gwinnett County Public School District where she models and blogs to the world of educators, students, parents, and librarians her passion for literacy and learning in all of its forms. There is so much to be excited about in this SlideShare, Literacies for Every Season of their Lives.  Buffy and an English teacher collaborate to enhance student learning and literacy step by step through a presearch and (re)search process, refining inquiry through questions, information source evaluation, writing, and collaborative work (individual, small group or large group.) This Slideshare encompasses great ideas, documents, and photos illustrating the curiosity of her students, how they scaffold their information literacy skills, and their reflection on their skills and learning--how they become their own information filters.  

Buffy Hamilton’s work is important for all of us. She uses many models of inquiry and learning in education (Stripling, Kuhlthau, Pappas and Teppe, UBD, etc.).  Buffy’s teaching and learning translates into collaborative knowledge building for her students. Her collaboration and work is easily tailored for K-12--hence the title, Literacies for Every Season of their Lives.  Hamilton’s methods of teaching and learning in the classroom and library empower students for learning, college readiness, and life. Students are excited and rewarded through the many literacies explored in their projects! Take the time to revel in this timely post and Buffy’s Links of Interest under the SlideShare post.

BJ Neary

Retired Teacher Librarian

ISTE Literacy Network

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Recent ISTE Webinar - Twitter in the K 12 Classroom: A Collaborative Tool for Learning

ISTE's Literacy PLN's Michele Haiken, Ed. D.,  a member of the group's Leadership Committee, recently gave a webinar for ISTE on the use of Twitter in the classroom. Below are some of the slides that appeared in the webinar. To obtain a full recording of the session (free for ISTE members) go to:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Number 3 - Spring 2015
The Journal of ISTE's
LITERACY Professional Learning Network
Click on Cover (above) to Open


  1. Up Front
    By Mark Gura -
    Page 4 
  2. Storytelling, Discussion, & Analysis: Twitter As a Classroom Tool for Middle School Students
    By Michele L. Haiken, Ed.D. – Page 5
  3. Video First: Presenting Content as Video before Presenting It as Text = Literacy Learning Results
    By Dr. Rose Reissman – Page 13
  4. Literacy in 3d  
    By Robert Quinn – Page 20
  5. Technology Transforms a Literacy Coach’s Debriefing Session
    By Susan Sabella! – Page 24
  6. A New, Dynamic Literacy Framework to Accelerate Literacy Learning
    By Lynnea West –
    Page 32
  7. Persuasive Writing, Technology, and Animal Rescue
    By Amanda Xavier –
    Page 37
  8. Turning Up the HEAT on Literacy:  Making Connections with the CCSS and ISTE Standards
    by Evelyn Wassel, Ed.D. – Page 43
Direct Links (Read, Print, DOWNLOAD, Share):

Google Drive:


Our Students Respond to School Law Issues with Presentations and Podcasts; Yours Can, Too!

Guest Post By Angelo Carideo and Dr. Rose Reissman

Middle school students must develop persuasive writing skills. They need to be able to take a side on an issue and explain and support their position with at least two details from a print or online text. 

These are important, meaningful Common Core Literacy and Social Studies goals. However, achieving them can seem elusive.  Further, you’d like to captivate and inspire your students. You’d like to involve them in small and large group discussions, ones in which they have the chance to exchange views with one another and not just answer your teacher questions

We’ve accomplished this with our students through an easy to do project.  A project that makes them eager to do research,  to trade views on a topic and that fosters  genuine personal interest in what their peer partners have to contribute.   

Our project has students create products that effectively represent their written and spoken efforts in a contemporary context as digital learners and creators.

Actually, they create not one, but two technology-based literacy products, things that teachers can use to document students’ research, persuasive, argumentative and conversational skills. These are products that can be easily and proudly shared with parents, ratings officers, and administration.

 By the way, we work with students in a Brooklyn middle school and are well aware of how overwhelmed with instructional mandates teachers can be. Many have at least 125 students (or more) to teach and grade, and consequently would wonder how much time they’d have to devote to a project like this, no matter how worthwhile and rigorous the resulting learning might be. Does a 6 to 8 period maximum sound reasonable? 

Projects are inherently engaging and kids thoroughly enjoy working on them. They also result in important skills-learning as students create learning products. To make this happen, though, teachers need to select effective project content themes.

We select themes that put our students in the role of informed, active citizens of their world.  The following is a step by step description of how one of our projects unfolds and how colleagues can easily adopt our approach and similarly engage their own students. This description centers on real local news stories we presented to our students. However, locating other, similar stories for other areas of the country is an easy matter. Thus, there is much room for colleagues to adapt what we’ve done with topics that will resonate well in their specific schools and groups of students. We did this project with 6th grade students, but it can work at various grade levels and across a multitude of student population types.

Case Story #1: Lifting the Student Cell Phone Use Ban
Our students read the following story, which is still available online:

“Department of Education lifts ban on cell phones in New York City Schools”


Take the topic of School Law or more specifically, school law cases concerning infractions of city and state law by students or staff.  Engage students in considering specific issues which resonate locally, statewide, nationally and internationally.  Have them read about a local student school law case in print or online and then react it.

In New York City in the first months of 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina decided to change the NYC school law banning student cell phone use in all city schools.  They strongly suggested, although individual school principals still could make a joint decision with teachers, parents and administrators, that students needed to have access to their cell phones at times during the school day so that they could call their parents and their parents could be in touch with them. 

At Middle School /IS 62-Ditmas-in Kensington , Brooklyn, NYC, the sixth graders in our ethnically diverse class (including Jamaican, Dominican, Uzbek, and Bengali students, plus native born Brooklynites) were very “into” this issue, since many of them carried cell phones in their back packs.  According to the ongoing school regulations of Principal, Kevorkian, they could not use their cell phones during class or lunch, and had to keep them turned off in their back packs.  If the phones were discovered being used in class or lunch or hallways, they were confiscated for the day by the Dean and returned later to be taken home at the end of the school day.

The students were excited about the Mayor and School’s Chancellor created opportunity for their school to revise its ban on students carrying and using cell phones during the school day.  They listened intently to the news and carefully read for details and arguments in favor of lifting the NYC public school system citywide cell phone ban.

 STEP 2:  The students each wrote their personal reactions to the news.  These were framed as persuasive paragraphs with the purpose of getting a peer or adult reader to agree with the point of view presented.  The students worked in small groups of three to four, sharing their key persuasive reactions to school law news.  PowerPoint turned out to be an effective resource to support this activity.

The students used the software’s “Callouts” feature to insert dialogue bubbles of various shapes carrying portions of their writing.  This process dignifies each student voice, giving it enhanced presence and stature.  The students also included photos of themselves in their slides, as well as searching for and importing images they felt enhanced their positions. Music chosen by the students to accompany their text and images can be imported as well, by the way.

STEP 3:  While the slide presentations involve group work and writing persuasive paragraphs, they do not have to be the only product produced from this school law and literacy skills unit. The basic student persuasive arguments can also become the written supports for conducting an open public forum about a controversial school law topic; one that will be recorded and posted as a podcast. This conversation can involve students first sharing their reactions to the topic and then reacting to one another’s commentary, allowing the student to learn and appropriately use statements such as these:  “Building on what ____ said,”  “In response to _____ I must respectfully disagree  because _______,”  ”Another point not yet mentioned _____” and “I also agree with what ____ said .”  As each student takes the floor, he or she is urged to speak loudly and slowly, enunciating every word.  The students are alerted to the fact that their discussion will be recorded for a podcast.  They also sample some past school podcasts from their website and the archives as preparation. 

Step 4:  A student host or emcee of the Podcast is chosen and asked to prepare a short introduction to contextualize the student research into the topic.  A student sound engineer is also chosen who will handle the audio recording (we use Audacity, a free, downloadable software).  The assembled students are cautioned about shifting in their seats or tapping pencils; things can ruin the quality of the sound recording.   They are shown how to lean in to the mike and how to pitch their comments so that the recording levels are acceptable.   The sight of the recording in progress is one that can raise the spirits of any teacher, particularly one focused on inculcating students into the ways of a discussant community, in which students share views and listen to peers attentively. 

Case Story #2: The Department of Education Changes Student Suspension Policy

Our students read the following story, which is still available online:

“Less suspensions, more insubordination in NYC's schools”

In New York City’s public schools, up to Spring 2015, students were subject  to two types of suspension from school punishments: 1)  In-school Principal Suspension: for student actions like hitting another student or harassing a teacher or  fighting or being disrespectful of authority on an ongoing basis.  This suspension, which could run from 2 days to a week, would take place within the student’s home school.  The student would travel those days with a class other than his own, but would still receive the homework assignments from his /her class for the week.  During lunch, the student would remain in the Dean’s or Assistant Principal’s office and not be able to eat with peers or have the same scheduled outdoor recess. 

2) Students who  committed  grave infractions of the school’s behavior or disciplinary code, such as stealing, fighting with other students so that blood was drawn, hitting a teacher, or other adult staff member, inappropriate touching, cyber bullying, bringing or using a weapon to school, and  bringing or using narcotics, alcohol or other controlled substances into school, were subject to a different type of suspension  These types of infractions,  once reviewed by school administrators and confirmed by sufficient evidence,  would result in a Superintendent’s Suspension.  This suspension, which could run from a week, to a month, to even a year would not be served in the student’s school.  It would be served in a specially designated school for a population of students across the district who were suspended for these high level infractions. While records of the Principal’s Suspension would be kept only during the time period the student attended the school in which it was given, the Superintendent’s Suspension became part of the student’s permanent school record.  It would follow with him or her to high school, and likely would bar the student for consideration for admission to some desirable high school programs that require application.  In Spring 2015 the Chancellor of  New York City Public schools proposed that the suspension process should be changed so that it would be more difficult to issue suspensions and schools would lessen their number of both Principal’s and Superintendent’s  suspensions.

We made news coverage of this change in suspension policy a focus for discussion with our students. Our students were, at first, asked to define suspension as part of a paragraph, based on their current and previous experiences in school. Next, they listened to the Dean and Guidance Counselor, who shared with them the actual definitions of violations of the school behavior code which would lead to either of these suspensions.  Using word processing and PowerPoint they created presentations with vignettes of such discipline infractions or comments from the Deans or teachers or Assistant Principals or the Principal about it.

Students in Newcomer /ESL Classes were asked to compare and contrast some of the punishments given in their home countries; places like Uzbekistan, Russia, and Mexico.   In Uzbekistan students who misbehaved ran laps or held up tables for several hours.  Our students talked of punishments for students who were disrespectful or got into fights; they were hit with long rods until red or purple bruises formed. They described schools at which a student who committed a severe behavior infraction would be expelled and unable to return. They also told of teachers in Bangladesh or Yemen who prefaced their hitting of the students with the comments- “I am your second parent, so I can hit you as your parent will at home.”  Students for the most part did not mention any parental support in objecting to their punishments or any meetings with principal or teachers before enduring the punishments.  Ironically, many of these same ESL international students professed a love of schools in their native country which had “rules” and “taught character.”  Some even said they would like their own children to go to school systems like those of their native counties.

Our podcast project required 2 periods which were used as recording sessions. These were held as student forums in which students aired their views and positions and responded to one another. These took place after 4 previous periods during which the students prepared themselves through research, writing, and discussion.

Our experience with this project was very positive, as was that of our students. We feel certain that fellow busy Technology, ELA, SS or other content teachers would find this to be a practical and satisfying project to engage their students in, as well. This content theme is one that is m while one of great relevance, is offered to students far too rarely. However, because of its relevance, students quickly embrace it, take ownership of their learning experience, and create products of high quality that in turn, have the potential to affect their peers, engaging them in researching and reacting to issues of law that hit home, as well.

The technologies used: word processing, PowerPoint-based slide presentation, and digital audio, while simple, are ones used very commonly in the workplace.  The research, discussions, and individual opinions and arguments on the topics studied are the stuff informed citizenship is made of. 

Literacy, informed citizenship, technology use, this is very much a project for today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders and contributors to society.

What Our Students Did and Learned
The students worked in small groups to produce a PowerPoint-based slide presentation featuring their research and persuasive reactions to the CELL Phone use issue.  They enjoyed working in their small .groups.  This truly engaged all of them in a citizenship and school law issue being hotly debated in the newspapers; but more importantly in their own school building with the Dean Ms. Rigger and Principal Kevorkian available for commentary, as well as their teachers eager to debate the issue.  These title 1 students, many from ESL families and facing economic/acculturation challenges, truly relished working on these presentations having them displayed at a school wide expo.
These student presentations involved the students reading print and online texts (some with videos embedded) concerning school law issues. Thus they were engaged in reading for detail, ideas, and point of view as required by the Common Core Standards.
Additionally, the students discussed their reactions to news articles that presented the issues and wrote a short, persuasive paragraph defending their point of view, using details from the print, online or visual sources. This had them address Common Core required writing of persuasive arguments and speaking and listening.
Further, the students worked in small groups on slide presentations drawing on their writings and in-class discussions for source material. Photos and videos may be imported. Importing photos and videos, too, they addressed Common Core required writing, using graphic illustrations and videos to enhance their message. They also addressed Common Core speaking and listening, by working in their collaborative small groups.
Finally, students voiced their reactions to these cases through a student directed podcast.  Thus, they a broad range of aspects of required speaking and listening skills through a single project that had them focus on values, law, and citizenship. 

About the Author: Angelo Carideo is an award winning Social Studies educator with recognition from Chase Learning, Pennsylvania Social Studies Council and Representative Brad Lander.  He co-founded Ditmas Network News with David Liotta and collaborates with Mr.Liotta on the Science Engineering Program.  He collaborates with Dr. Reissman Writing Institute on The School Law Citizens Now program. 

About the Author: Dr. Rose Reissman is a veteran English Language Arts educator who founded the Writing Institute Program currently based in Ditmas IS 62.  Under the leadership of Barry Kevorkian, Principal, 18 educators collaborate with Dr. Reissman to produce literacy projects.  Mr. Downes (Head Advisor), Ms. Xavier (ELA Editor), and Dr. Reissman are faculty advisors for the Ditmas Bulldog Buzz, a student newspaper that reports on local neighborhood, New York State and International News as it affects the students’ lives as citizens of the world.





Saturday, February 21, 2015

Launching a 21st Century School Newspaper and Fostering School Community for Life, Liberty, and LITERACY

Guest Post by Dr. Rose Reissman, Literacy Coordinator - Ditmas IS 62 (Brooklyn, New York)

This past fall 2014 our Title 1, Brooklyn middle school, Ditmas IS 62, a school that has a state of the art Science and Engineering program plus its own regularly produced television news show, decided to launch a classic school publishing entity: a school newspaper. 

Initially, as I sat with the head teacher advisor for this new effort, we both wondered how such a classic  school activity, one closely associated with print, a medium truly before our students’ time,  would work. Would our high tech student reporters and their digitally oriented audience take ownership of it?

Would this just be a top down, teacher-pushed, exercise in necessary reportorial and argumentative skills? Would we expectedly just get participation from a handful of compliant students involved in it for their own sense of accomplishment?  In a school with a very strong television newscast program, so popular in fact that participating students are recognized by peers in the hallways for their television news roles, would a print newspaper have any school wide impact?

As we sat with an initial team of 8 students, kids who identified themselves as writers and came forward to work on the project, we had them talk about things in the school which concerned them and on which they wanted to report. Energies and enthusiasm among the team began to build.  One of them stated “running” the discussion and announced she would be willing to serve as the editor in chief.  She started taking notes of the discussion and collecting team contacts.  She had each member of the swiftly coalescing team begin to visualize the look and features of “their” school newspaper. 

The head advisor and I simply set out copies of the NY Times, NY Daily News , and NY Post as anchor newspaper texts.  By the end of the first session, many of the students sitting around the table had come up with their own “beats” and initial story ideas.  We ended with a challenge about the “flag” or the title of our newsletter.

By the second meeting the students were basically “running” their news team on their own with the head advisor and I  simply facilitating and keeping the excited students focused.  They discussed a flag for their newspaper and went around the table to take a vote as a team on its selection.  Their selected flag was not one we advisors would have suggested. But that was fine, they “owned “ their paper, after all. 

Led by a newly formed team of a seventh and an eighth grade co-editors, the team solidified their “beats,” committed to potential stories to report on, and several departed from the room in search of interviews or leads.  Others sat down by laptops to research issues before writing their reactions to events.  Using the style and format of the local print adult newspapers as an anchor, they identified a potential lead story for our school – the visit of the author, Veronica Chambers - a former student at the school in the 1980’s. Our young newspaper staff hoped she would share her success as a writer and communicate her positive memories of Ditmas as a nurturing environment for her authorial talents. Two of our reporters “covered” the visit and brainstormed their own interview questions. Other team members reported on a partnership with a  Bear Creek, Pennsylvania Charter School.  They used their notes from a trip to visit and selected photos for the story. 

As do reporters at an actual newspaper, the students identified ongoing student happenings and issues within the school as points of interest.  Among these were: Student Council, vending machine snacks, classroom campaigns to raise awareness of the need to adopt rescue dogs, specialized high school tests, and the controversial weight of standardized test scores.  One of the reporters who is also a talented songwriter and driven vocal performer (at the elderly age of 12) decided that the newspaper’s launch should be promoted on the school’s DNN Ditmas News Network Television show.   Students identified beloved and key school staff such as Rudy Lewis, Head of the school safety team and Gerard Sargent, the head of the Flatbush Development Corporation. He recorded a jingle backed by two of the students who editors and dancers as community figures to report on.  The students who had passionate interest in dance, art, and international life (some were Bangali or Pakistani) wrote special features reflecting their expertise. The paper launched with a joyous team celebration luncheon at a nearby restaurant.

By  the second issue, the student news team, coordinated by its two student editors, was off and running, with its advisors stepping back.  The self-designated gossip columnist (calls herself “Pheme”) started turning in gossip columns focusing on wardrobes and school rumors.  A restaurant critic wrote up the restaurant where the launch celebration had been held as well as the Food court the team visited when they were invited to tour the news studios of WCBS 880 and WINS 1010, two important, big-time NYC stations. 

Students who were from International Backgrounds (13%) of the school, and those native born in Brooklyn, reacted to international events such as the Ebola crisis, the bombing of a Pakistani school, the initial suppression of The Interview film, Malala’s winning the Nobel Prize, and Je Suis Charlie as citizens of the United States and citizens born into the religious/ethnic backgrounds of these international news happenings.  Students on their own sought out adult teacher and adult local political leader responses to these issues.  One of the students, a gifted graphic artist who ironically was headed to become a science major, started creating editorial cartoon commentary for the issue focusing graphically on: censorship of the Interview film, Eric Garner police controversy case, the Pakistani School Attack, and Je Suis Charlie. 

The culturally focused, internationally born reporters weighed in from their perspectives as either Muslims or international citizens of the world on the controversy over the depiction of the prophet Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo.  Three reporters gave up their lunch period to interview a class of ESL students on the issue. Student reporters brought in their own story ideas based on school-wide initiatives and curriculum themes such as a comparison of the feature film Selma to the actual historical events of the March.  One of the reporters talked with her grandfather and unearthed a photo of a meeting between him and John Lewis, depicted in the film

The initial team which met on designated after school time, gained new recruits and freelance reporters.  Those directly involved with it were celebrated on the television show and some of the writer/camera crew began contributing to the newspaper, as well.  But was this lovely print publication  (a digital e-version is distributed online, as well) important beyond the students immediately producing it and the student audience it addressed directly?  

Yes, teachers began reading it on their own beyond mention of their names and commended the student reporters on their work and art.  Other students whose work was not featured in the newspaper, asked how they could purchase or get a copy of the printed publication.  Staff joyously looked at their candid photos which, like those in local tabloids, decorated the paper.  Students generated their own ideas for issues and insider columns.  The e-issue of the paper prompted students from Major Johnstown High School in Pennsylvania to offer their own commentary on how cultural jokes would affect them from their more homogenous, rural Pennsylvania perspective.  A visiting author, Jacqueline Woodson, was impressed by the level of their commentary.  Teachers and staff members contacted the student editors with story ideas.  Karina Constantino, the Superintendent of District 20, praised the newspaper at the monthly Council of Education meeting. Praise and financial support came in from the Flatbush Development Council.

While the first issue only covered 7 of the school’s 45 classes (the school has 1300 students- including ESL, Special Needs, Principal Classes, Collaborative Team teaching Classes and regular 6-8 students),  by the second issue 40 % of the school’s classes were either represented in articles or had individual student contributors.  Parent leaders were featured as celebrities and the school’s adult volunteer program was covered by a reporter in the eighth grade who also trained the volunteers in differentiated instruction.

Yes, all well and lovely for school spirit, staff and community.  However, in this time of school accountability to meet PARCC Model Frameworks, to prepare students for college and careers, and to align with the Common Core Standards in ELA and History/SS, how can this newspaper project be justified, even though much of it is done afterschool (with support from the Flatbush Development Corporation) and, in truth, the paper is put together by a limited number of students?  Firstly, the students involved became active, authentic apprentices in the field of journalism as they tackle word limits, do editing, focus on stories, interviews, research, and collaborate in teams. 

True, this newspaper program was fortunate to arrange visit to two major NYC broadcast stations, CBS880 and WINS 1010. However, other middle school newspaper teams can also arrange visits to local news offices in order to connect student skills to the real world of work.  Standardized testing and writing Common Core standards are all about argument writing and reading  as well as writing informative details about topics that are informational.  These are essential components of news reporting, as are Common Core History  topic research, use of secondary/primary sources, identification /use of document quotes and placement of graphics with text content.

Dr. Anthony Bryk’s research as part of the University of Chicago’s Consortium on research predicates school success on collaboration and developing a positive nurturing school environment.  Our newspaper, the Ditmas Bulldog Buzz, is the product of a team of teacher advisor collaborators (SS and ELA) plus a growing team of additional school instructional, guidance, administration, safety office, and support staff working together to facilitate the student’s efforts.  School branding can and is achieved through school vehicles and devices run by and produced by students, teachers, and parents.  The Ditmas Bulldog Buzz both reports on the rigorous multi-content Science, Law, ELA and other content area happenings in the school and authenticates it for the reporter researcher team.  The newspaper fosters a supportive and positive environment in which high expectations for the students are realized through their publication and the reporting process. Strong family and community ties are effected as students cover and become part of teaming with the PTA president, the Parent Coordinator, and the adult tutor trainers.  Students present their product and process to the school community and train teachers and students at other schools. Mr. Barry Kevorkian, the Principal of Ditmas and his team of assistant principals: Ms. Santiago, Ms. Smalley, Ms. Esposito, and Ms. Lynch work collaboratively with the students, staff, and parents to make certain the newspaper “covers” the school activities and community involvement mission. Ultimately the newspaper filled with the images of the spirited faces of Ditmas students, staff, community and outreach beyond the walls of the school, concretizes and “images” the trust and affection that bonds “Ditmas”citizens on all levels as a community. An  essential framework for great schools emerges  in one fell swoop with a school newspaper.  The classic vehicle of the school print news team transforms the 21st century PARCC and CCSS aligned school visions, one student newspaper issue at a time.  This speaks “volumes” of the power of the press to inform and to define a community with links to life, literacy and liberty.

Visit the Ditmas Bulldog Buzz at: 
Dr. Rose Reissman is a veteran English Language Arts educator who founded the Writing Institute Program currently based in Ditmas IS 62.  Under the leadership of Barry Kevorkian, Principal, 18 educators collaborate with Dr. Reissman to produce literacy projects.  Mr. Downes (Head Advisor), Ms. Xavier (ELA Editor), and Dr. Reissman are faculty advisors for the Ditmas Bulldog Buzz, a student newspaper that reports on local neighborhood, New York State and International News as it affects the students’ lives as citizens of the world.

“Classroom Climate, Rigorous Instruction and Curriculum, and Students ‘Interactions in Urban Middle Schools.”  The Elementary School Journal 108.4 (2008): 293-312. Web.

Newmann, F. M. (University of Wisconsin), B. Smith, E. Allensworth, and A.S. Bryk. “Instructional program Coherence: What it is and why it should guide school improvement policy.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 23.4 (2001): 297-321.

Friday, October 17, 2014

ISTE Literacy PLN / Newsletter - Lit TECH Times: Volume 1, Issue 1 - Octorber, 2014

Lit TECH Times: Volume 1, Issue 1- October 2014The Literacy Professional Learning Network (formerly, the Literacy Special Interest Group) is pleased to kick off the 2014/2015 school year with the following announcements:

#ISTELitChat LAUNCH  Beginning Sunday, 10/19/2014, 8PM/EST the ISTE Literacy PLN will moderate a twitter chat on literacy and technology to promote learning. Join us for the conversation using the hashtag #ISTELitchat. All are welcome. We will hold monthly twitter chats with the hashtag #ISTELitChat
addressing trending topics related to literacy and technology moderated by the ISTE Literacy PLN and other noteworthy guest educators. Are you new to twitter?

Check out:

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning's Twitter for Educators Beginner's Guide


Edudemic's Teacher's Guide to Twitter  

LITERACY JOURNAL SUBMISSIONS REQUESTED The PLN is actively looking for articles to include in its next issue of Literacy Special Interest, its own professional journal. The journal publishes articles by literacy teachers and those who support them that are written in an accessible style and that address important issues in Technology Supported Literacy Instruction. This is a great opportunity to get your ideas and your voice published.

Those interested in submitting articles for inclusion in the journal should first submit a summary to, putting the words "Journal Article Summary" in the subject of the email. On receiving feedback from the journal, prospective submitters may complete and submit a full manuscript. We hope to get the upcoming Issue #3 out before the first of the year.


The PLN Leadership Committee is planning additional professional development activities, like a book study. More on this soon.

Would you like to suggest a book study for the PLN to run? Or perhaps help run it? Would you care to help create a Literacy Instruction Webinar with the PLN?

We’d be very interested in your participation in helping the Leadership Committee produce an event.


You’ll find a podcast, along with some text-based info, on the PLN’s Birds of a Feather session held at the ISTE Conference this past June. For this session the PLN partnered with CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) to highlight CAST’s new resource UDIO. UDIO promises to be an important resource to promote and improve Middle School Reading and Writing Skills (with applications for lower and higher grades, as well). Follow this link to the PLN’s blog post detailing the session and providing a link to the session’s Podcast >>>

The podcast features an in-depth interview with Graham Gardner, Research Associate at CAST, who describes UDIO and how teachers can become involved in using it.

Please check the PLN blog ( ) for future podcasts and other special items from the PLN.
The PLN has applied to the ISTE Conference Committee to present a special session at the upcoming ISTE Conference in Philadelphia this coming June.

Hopefully, an upcoming issue of this newsletter will carry information about the session, its time and date, and inviting you to attend.

Connect with the Literacy PLN: +

#ISTELitChat   +    


Literacy Professional Learning NETWORK Leadership Committee:

Mark Gura 
Suzanne Buhner
Michele Haiken, Ed.D.
Sharon Kinsey
Ashley Kemper
BJ Neary
Evelyn Wassel, Ed.D.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Special Podcast Episode: UDIO, a New Literacy Resource from CAST

Graham Gardner, Research Associate at CAST
(Center for Applied Special Technology)
This episode features an interview with Graham Gardner of CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology). At the recent planning and visioning meeting of the Literacy Professional Learning Network at the annual ISTE Conference, Graham made a presentation about UDIO, CAST's new Literacy resource directed at Middle School Reading Instruction. Graham and podcast host, Mark Gura, recorded this in-depth discussion about UDIO shortly after the meeting.
Click the arrow above to listen to this Special Episode 
(player may take several seconds to begin)
Direct link:


Links for UDIO and CAST

Want to get involved with UDIO? Email:

Care to share a comment with Graham or the Literacy PLN about UDIO?
Either use the "Comments" feature of this blog or email the podcast at:
National Center on the Use of Emerging Technologies to Improve Literacy Achievement for Students with Disabilities in Middle School
Article:  All Along
Ed. The Magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education