Digilit Sunday is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche as an invitation for educators to share ideas for digital literacy and learning.
Reading Digital Reading: What’s Essential in Grades 3-8 by Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass nudged me into thinking about how to go digital with my beginning of the year surveys, and also how to incorporate questions about how students navigate their way through digital texts in their reading lives, and in order to conduct research.
We began working with Google Classrooms midway through our last school year, and I knew that I had not even begun to scratch the surface of what could be done using this amazing digital tool. I thought I’d begin experimenting with Google Forms for all those first week of the school year surveys which are so essential to gaining insight into how my students think of themselves as readers and writers, what they want their sixth grade year to be like, and what their parents’ hopes and expectations are as well. By the end of that first week, my kids and their parents have dutifully filled out these forms, and then the fun begins for me – reading, evaluating, searching between the lines, and taking notes for planning. I love this work, and it’s important work, but I do NOT love the reams of paper that float across my desk, and get jumbled up in spite of my best efforts.
This year, I want to experiment with another idea from Franki and Bill’s book – a digital portfolio for each student. One of the first items that should go into each student’s portfolio are these surveys, I think. These would be valuable to re-examine at conference and report card time, they are the jumping off points for goal setting after all. So, I took my old paper-and-pencil forms, rewrote them to incorporate digital reading/writing/research goals, and fashioned these:
My idea is to have each student create a “Portfolio Folder”, and, once these surveys have been completed and I have left comments and observations, they will drop these forms into their folders. As we make our way through the year, the folders will become a repository of specific drafts and published pieces, of poems and projects and digital compositions. This would also be a great place for end of the marking period notes for each student, since our school does not have student led parent conferences at the end of each quarter and the comments available for us are so generic as to be useless. Two short notes, one from the student and one from me, would a thoughtful way to sum up the learning and goal meeting accomplished in each quarter.
So, thanks to Franki and Bill, I have the beginnings of a digital portfolio for each student, and “upgraded” reading surveys.