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Common Core requires publishing. Technology makes that happen

Posted by on July 30, 2013

common coreThere are a variety of overarching themes in Common Core–’integrate technology into classroom inquiry’, ‘encourage collaboration and sharing in student work’, ‘use technology to prepare students for college and career’. Each of these could take weeks to wrap into classwork, but there’s one organic tool that accomplishes all three of these while fulfilling a fourth recurring Common Core standard required at all grade levels: Publish student work. Look at this (credit: NGA Center and CCSSO:

  • Kindergarten: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.6 With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
  • First grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
  • Second grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
  • Third grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.6 With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
  • Fourth grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing
  • Fifth grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing
  • Sixth grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing
  • Seventh grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing
  • Eighth grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing
This vertical planning is typical of Common Core where grade-level standards are built from core constructs and scaffolded off prior years.
What may not be obvious is that accomplishing these goals often requires little beyond what is already being done, just tweaked in a slightly different way. Use ‘publishing’ as an example. Instead of creating a printed word processed document, Common Core asks students to use presentations that share student work with a wider audience, enabling everyone to learn from everyone else. Yes, teachers must master these new tools, but once learned, they’re applied at all levels. Projects take no longer to produce than traditional projects, yet fulfill a handful of Common Core standards including publishing, collaborative work, feedback among classmates, sharing, keyboarding practice.
Here are exemplars of ‘publishing’ that can be used across grade levels.
  • Create a story in an online storymaker like Storybird. This accomplishes the same Common Core writing standards pen-and-paper would, while fulfilling the ‘publish’ mandate, reaching a greater audience, and sharing the students knowledge. Storybird (and a number of other online sites) also provides opportunities for feedback on student work via comments attached to stories.
  • If teachers are using MS Office (or other word processing programs like Open Office), save as a PDF and upload to an online site like Scribd (http://www.scribd.com/). Make the channel private so only class members can view (or public if that’s your preference). Once uploaded, students can reflect on classmates’ work and offer constructive feedback. Scribd documents are also embeddable into student blogs, websites, wikis.
  • Share slideshows made in the ever-popular PowerPoint via Issuu (http://issuu.com/explore) or produce presentations entirely and collaboratively online with Kizoa.
  • Instead of a physical poster, create one in Glogster or Prezi. These two online tools can include all the elements a project requires (pictures, text, headings, layout, color, attention to detail), can be self-taught (encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning), and take no more time than a traditional approach.
  • Instead of writing a report that only the teacher reads, students can collect data in a magazine format using Flipbook or Evernote (or Glogster or Prezi). The finished product can include links to additional information for students who want to dig deeper, data that links back to the original source, as well as audio and video selections. And, work can be done collaboratively.
  • After students have created the traditional play, film it and upload to YouTube, Vimeo, or SchoolTube (using a private class channel). This way, their knowledge and work can be shared with family, friends, even other schools researching the same topic.
  • For students who have already done a YouTube video, make a website that can educate upcoming classes on the selected topic. This is a great addition to student portfolios without the pesky trouble of CD’s and flash drives.
  • Use an online talking avatar like Voki to introduce the project. Have students collaborate in the creation of Voki characters to discuss a book, a moment in history, or a tricky mathematical concept. Then, publish by uploading the grouping to blogs or websites.
  • Create an Infographic using Visual.ly, Easelly, or another infographics creator to show student understanding of Common Core standards related to research, reading, writing. This can replace the typical class research paper that’s read by the teacher, no one else, and then stuck on a shelf.

Overall, anything online has the added benefit of encouraging student collaboration and feedback. Sites like Storybird, Scribd, and others will store student work on their server and provide the opportunity for students to comment on the creations of classmates. That’s hard to match in a physical, pencil-and-paper world.

I’ve only touched the tip of the publishing iceberg. What are your favorite methods?



Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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