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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Old with the New

With PARCC looming around the corner, it seems like we are being asked to do more with less. How are we supposed to prepare our students for the complicated technology tasks they will be asked to complete without the proper equipment? This post is about my attempts to prepare my students for a high tech test with limited resources.

Recently, I have become obsessed with an app called Good Reader. The name of this app doesn't lie, the app really does help your students become good readers! I have been using this app to familiarize my students with several components of digital reading.

  1. How to read using a screen
  2. How to zoom in/out
  3. How to turn the pages
  4. How to read articles (columns, directionality, etc.)
  5. How to mark up the text digitally

I started by selecting a text from EBSCOhost. I added the text to my Dropbox. Then, I had students open the file on an iPad in Good Reader. Students read the text carefully, and we discussed the text. Students were able to use the "post-it" feature to record the definitions of new vocabulary words. We previewed the words and recorded the definitions in the app. Then, students were able to access these notes as they read.

With this first text, I wanted to focus primarily on written response. The acronym my district uses is RACE.

Restate the question
Answer the question
Cite the text             
Edit your answer     

I wanted to start with the very basics. While all of this new technology is awesome, we also need to remember the basics. Rome was not built in a day. I wanted to take my students to the very beginning of written response. We are building from the ground up.

I began by having students record the question in their reader's notebooks. (Yes, in the future I hope to do all of this on computers, steps!) Then, my students went back into the text and used Good Reader to highlight or underline where the answer was found. Next, we began constructing our response using the RACE method.

Students then went back into the text and also highlighted/underlined evidence from the text to support their answer. When finished, students had to proofread their answer. All in all, this one question took a very long time. To me it was worth it. Quality over quantity in my book. Slowly, we will continue to transition the whole process to the computer. While I don't have a lot of fancy equipment, one little app on the iPad made a world of difference.

How do you prepare students for PARCC's written response?


  1. I use RACE too! It is so helpful to use an acronym like that. We are working hard on finding evidence in the text before we can reply to a question. How long did you spend on this lesson?


  2. I'm going to use this with my students in 7th grade self contained. it appears that once they master this's a GO!


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