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Greg McVerry

Questions About the "Case Study" #edu506

When enough students ask you for clarification you realize that your assignment description needs improvement. This is happening with the "case study" assignment in #edu506. I

3 min read

When enough students ask you for clarification you realize that your assignment description needs improvement.

This is happening with the "case study" assignment in . I put case study in quotes because the assignment does not reflect our shared definition of a case study. My original error was calling a thing the wrong thing.

Instead of a case study where you are given a situation to consider, compare, or solve, students in will do a collaborative essay.

Why A Collaborative Essay

  • Research based methods for improving writing
  • Prepare you to teach through inquiry in elementary classrooms
  • Increase social presence in an online classroom

Research Based Writing Instruction

While it is based on research among older students the lesson of Writing Next ring true in elementary school (just as the best teaching in pre-school works in college).

The meta-analysis, a type of research that synthesizes multiple empirical studies, found eleven strategies that improve writing. Among the recommendations: collaborative essays and using the writing process.

The assignment, where you are writing two different essays ask you to consider to questions:

  • Should we focus on content knowledge or comprehension strategy instruction?
  • Should we level books in our classroom libraries and curriculum?

By working together on this essay you will gain practice and create evidence of growth around the ability to integrate multiple sources, use sources from class and optionally supplement these with your research, and present a well organized argument.

You will submit an essay around 450-500 words for each inquiry questions.

Prepare You Teach Through Inquiry

When teachers assign oprojects they often neglect students on the process of completing the inquiry process. As future elementary teachers you need to know how to teach through inquiry and how to teach argumentative writing. This assignment builds in opportunities to practice both. You will develop a plan to complete the assignment. Create a rubric to assess your writing, and finally reflect on the process. These are the same steps you will need to use as a teacher.

Develop a Plan

In terms of developing a plan and a schedule start at the due date 2020-03-17 and work backwards. Look at the tasks to be completed and choose a date for each. Develop a communication plan (face to face, phone Blackboard) and agree on a workflow (will you use Google docs, Office, etc).

Make a rubric

Then make the rubric. Look at the writing standards for fifth grade, specifically those focused on knowledge integration and argumentation. Choose 3-4 skills and develop them into criteria. Set what you think would be goal on each criterion.

Reflect on Process

You also need to create opportunities for students to reflect on their learning in order for learning to occur. Reflecting on writing and the inquiry process helps you grow.

Increase Social Presence

As we have discussed success in online classes takes your cognitive presence and social presence. I want us to use the group studies to focus on our social presence. Online learning does not mean learning alone. Stay in contact with each other, agree on a plan, and stick to the goals.

Greg McVerry

Trying to Define Digital #literacies on wikipedia

I am trying to fix the digital literacy article on Wikipedia. Here is the current definition: Digital literacy refers to an individual's ability to find,

4 min read

I am trying to fix the digital literacy article on Wikipedia. Here is the current definition:

Digital literacy refers to an individual's ability to find, evaluate, and compose clear information through writing and other mediums on various digital platforms. Digital literacy is evaluated by an individual's grammar, composition, typing skills and ability to produce writings, images, audio and designs using technology. While digital literacy initially focused on digital skills and stand-alone computers, the advent of the Internet and use of social media, has caused some of its focus to shift to mobile devices. Digital literacy does not replace traditional forms of literacy, instead building upon the skills that form the foundation of traditional forms of literacy.[1]

Digital literacy built on the expanding role of social science research in the field of literacy[2] as well on concepts of visual literacy [3], computer literacy [4], and information literacy, [5]

Overall digital literacy shares many defining principles with other fields that use modifiers in front of literacy to define ways of being and domain specific knowledge. The term has grown in popularity in education and higher education settings and can be found used in International and national standards [6]. Similar to other expanding definitions of literacy that recognize cultural and historical ways of making meaning [7] digital literacy does not replace traditional forms of literacy, instead building upon the skills that form the foundation of traditional forms of literacy.[1]

I have issues with this mainly as it draws only from information processing models of research yet in the second paragraph discussed the social sciences used. Specifically the current dfn is only relying on an informational retrieval model.

I know of few scholars who still use an IR perspective for digital literacy...and I studied at the New Literacies Research Lab...probably the most cognitive approaches to digital literacy. Don, studied under Jean Chall and we studied under him.You can't get much more old school than that.

Online reading comprehension was a cognitive approach whereas most other literacy researchers used much stronger socio-cultural approaches. Thus to define digital literacy from an IR perspective makes little sense.

The only citation to defining the term is Henry Jenkins book on Participatory culture. I love the text but it is not the go to guide for defining digital literacies. It is tangentially connected.

The discussion of mobile devices as a shift in the definition does not fit in a dfn nor is the claim supported.

Much of our ideas in the third paragraph remain, and it is too confusing and still needs work. I will agree with the other editors there.

Here was our edit:

Digital literacy, also known as digital literacies[1], refers to the shared cultural practices of encoding and decoding meaning on the world[2] through multiple modalities produced or transferred using information digitally recorded and stored . Digital literacies encompass a bricolage of skills, attitudes, and dispositions as participants negotiate meaning and identity[3] in a networked society [4]and may include, but is not limited to, an individual's grammar, composition, writings, images, audio, video, podcasting, remixing and designs using technology.

Digital literacy, first coined in 1997 by Paul Gilster [5] built on the expanding role of anthropological research in the field of literacy[6] as well on concepts of visual literacy [7], computer literacy [8], and information literacy, [9]

Overall digital literacy shares many defining principles with other fields that use modifiers in front of literacy to define ways of being and domain specific knowledge. The term has grown in popularity in education and higher education settings and can be found used in International and national standards [10]. Similar to other expanding definitions of literacy that recognize cultural and historical ways of making meaning [11] digital literacy does not replace traditional forms of literacy, instead building upon the skills that form the foundation of traditional forms of literacy.[12]

I feel this is better cited and combines both cognitive and socio-cultural perspectives on reading. I lead with a sociocultural perspective as it reflects the current state of literature and where the work of digital literacies happens. In terms of citations I added Belshaw (wrote the book on Digital Literacy). Lanksher and Knobel (new literacies anyone), and Gillchrist (coined the term)

Other editors felt my revision is too confusing. Maybe I did use too much jargon and flowery metaphors (bricolage) yet I do not think the constant reversion of my edits is the best approach. Wikipedia works better when we revise rather than reject edit.

Greg McVerry

Questioning Techniques

Resources From around the web on using #questions in the classroom The Chalkboard Splash: This TPT requires that students respond to a prompt and then find any

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Resources From around the web on using in the classroom

The Chalkboard Splash:

This TPT requires that students respond to a prompt and then find any open spot on the chalkboard or whiteboard where they can record their responses. In order to make this activity run smoothly, where students aren't needing to wait for each other, students should be asked to try to limit their answers to 15 words or less. See the next two activities for examples of how you might use this activity.

The "Pause, Star, Rank":

This technique works well at the conclusions of lessons or units that have packed in quite a bit of information or concepts.  It allows students to pause and review all the things that they have learned by reading over their notes and reflecting on what the essential concepts are.

Here are the steps for Pause, Star, Rank:

1) Pause: Review any notes that you've taken during this unit.

2) Star: Place a star on the concepts that you believe were the most important for understanding the unit.

3) Rank: Number your top three concepts and be ready to explain why they are your top three.

Once students have been given a suitable amount of time to star their concepts, alert them that the time for placing stars on important concepts is coming to a close, and then ask students to rank their top three starred concepts. After students have been given a suitable amount of time to rank the concepts, they should then get into pairs or small groups in order to share their top three concepts and explain their rationales for selecting their top three. You can cap off this activity with a chalkboard splash where students summarize their number one concept (using fewer than 15 words) and write the number one concept anywhere on the chalkboard or whiteboard. This can then be a springboard for a mini-review led by those concepts that students selected as the most important.

The A-Z Sentence Summary:

This technique provides a quick and easy way to have students wrap up what they've learned. At the end of your lesson, pass out one A through Z magnet or die-cut to each of the students in your class. Ask students to wrap up what they've learned in one sentence using the letter they've been assigned as the first letter of the sentence. Then, call out the letters in alphabetical order. When each letter is called, the student who was assigned that letter should read their sentence out loud for the class to hear. Duplicate letters for classes with more than 26 students. We also use this activity as a chalkboard splash, where students attach their magnets to the chalkboard or whiteboard and write their sentence. As a wrap-up we'll often ask students to work with their table groups to come up with categories for the summary sentences.

Using activities that require total participation not only is more interesting for students than a traditional teacher-directed lesson would be, but it also puts the responsibility on students to actively focus on what they are learning, and repackage it in a way that demonstrates deep understandings.

Response: Ways to Cultivate 'Whole-Class Engagement'

The purpose of a Socratic Seminar is to achieve a deeper understanding about the ideas and values in a text. In the Seminar, participants systematically question and examine issues and principles related to a particular content, and articulate different points-of-view.Socratic Seminar

  1. Ask students to seek out the evidence:
    • What kind of evidence did you find?
    • What makes you think that...?
  2. Ask students to explain:
    • How would you explain this?
    • What were some of the causes that led to...?
  3. >Ask questions that relate concepts, ideas, and opinions:
    • How does that compare to...?
    • What did other people discover or say about ...?
  4. Ask questions that encourage your students to predict:
    • What will you do next?
    • What will happen if you...?
    • What could you do to prevent that ?
  5. Ask students questions that encourage them to describe:
    • What did you do?
    • What happened?
    • What did you observe happening?

Practicing Effective Questioning

Providing daily opportunities for questioning builds confidence in students’ ability to craft their own questions. During question breaks in our literature and history units, for example, students can write down questions they have, and can also do so during verbal or digital discussions with peersEstablishing a Culture of Questioning

Depth of Knowledge Chart

Level 1. Recall and Reproduction: Tasks at this level require recall of facts or rote application of simple procedures. The task does not require any cognitive effort beyond remembering the right response or formula. Copying, computing, defining, and recognizing are typical Level 1 tasks.

Level 2. Skills and Concepts: At this level, a student must make some decisions about his or her approach. Tasks with more than one mental step, such as comparing, organizing, summarizing, predicting, and estimating, are usually Level 2.

Level 3. Strategic Thinking: At this level of complexity, students must use planning and evidence, and thinking is more abstract. A task with multiple valid responses, where students must justify their choices, would be Level 3. Examples include solving non-routine problems, designing an experiment, or analyzing characteristics of a genre.

Level 4. Extended Thinking: Level 4 tasks require the most complex cognitive effort. Students synthesize information from multiple sources, often over an extended period of time, or transfer knowledge from one domain to solve problems in another. Designing a survey and interpreting the results, analyzing multiple texts by to extract themes, or writing an original myth in an ancient style would all be examples of Level 4.

Using Webb’s Depth of Knowledge to Increase Rigor

Indeed, keep having kids read text, and definitely engage them in discussions of those texts, but form your questions — not on the basis of standards or skills lists — but on the basis of the texts themselves. Your questions should lead kids to think deeply about a text and to come away with a coherent and lasting memory of its content and aesthetic qualities.

Reading should be about that; not about answering particular kinds of questions, even if the questions vaguely resemble the ones on your state assessment test.

Where Questioning Fits in Comprehension Instruction: Skills and Strategies

A traditional teacher-led question-and-answer ap-proach that is widely used is recitation, or the Initi-ate-Response-Evaluate (I-R-E) model of questioning (Mehan, 1979). Although this model can be an effec-tive way to check for factual knowledge or recall, it typically does not encourage higher-order thinking.

Questions that ask for more evidence:

How do you know that? What data is that claim based on?

Questions that ask for clarification: Can you put that another way? What do you mean by that?

Linking or extension questions: Is there any con-nection between what you’ve just said and __? How does your comment fit with ___ earlier comment?

Hypothetical questions: What might have happened if ___?

Cause and effect questions: What is likely to be the effect of___?

Summary and synthesis questions: What are the one or two most important ideas that emerged from this discussion? What remains unresolved or conten-tious about this topic?

An example of teacher questioning that supports thinking and discussion is the K-W-L strategy, which helps students learn from expository text in any co n-tent area (Ogle, 1986). Using this strategy, the teach-er models for students how to create a three-column chart, labeling the first column K, the middle column W, and the third column L.

Question the Author (QtA) is a reading comprehen-sion strategy that actively engages students with a text by asking them to pose questions of the author while they are reading, rather than after they read. In forming their questions, students become engaged in the reading and solidify their understanding of the text. QtA teaches students to critique the author’s writing, challenge the author, recognize the author’s perspec-tive, and understand why the author made choices.

The National Reading Panel (2000) examined 203 studies of reading comprehension instruction and found the strongest scientifically-based evidence was for asking readers to generate questions while read-ing. Self-questioning was the most effective strategy— asking readers to generate questions while reading improves reading comprehension.

Guided reciprocal peer questioning (King, 1990, 1991) is a strategy in which students question one another about the content they are learning, using higher-order, open-ended question stems that then become the focus of a structured, small-group discussion. Fol-lowing a mini-lecture or an assigned reading, the teacher provides a set of generic questions stems and asks students to use the stems to generate questions about the content of the lecture or the reading.

Reciprocal teaching (Palincsar & Brown, 1984) is an interactive teaching strategy that supports students in improving reading comprehension. It uses four strate-gies that the teacher needs to model over a number of sessions and that demonstrate how an expert reader uses comprehension strategies to understand a text: Predicting what the reading is about

Clarifying words and phrases that were not un-derstood during reading Generating questions about the text

Summarizing what was read

Deeper Learning through Questioning

Greg McVerry

Growing reading list for #edu407 Looking for blog post/article recommendations #elachat #3rdchat #4thchat #5thchat

Theories of Meaning Making Woodard, R., & Kline, S. (2016). Lessons From Sociocultural Writing Research for Implementing the Common Core State Standards. Reading Teacher, 70(2), 207–216. Hoffman, J.

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Theories of Meaning Making

Woodard, R., & Kline, S. (2016). Lessons From Sociocultural Writing Research for Implementing the Common Core State Standards. Reading Teacher70(2), 207–216.

Hoffman, J. V., Sailors, M., & Aguirre, S. H. (2016). Thinking Globally in Literacy Instruction: Making a Difference in the World. Reading Teacher70(2), 143–148.

Moje, E. (2010) What is Disciplinary Literacy?

Literacy Research Association. Critical Race Theory.

Instructional Routines

Ciampa, K. (2016). Implementing a Digital Reading and Writing Workshop Model for Content Literacy Instruction in an Urban Elementary (K-8) School. Reading Teacher70(3), 295–306.

McClure, E. L., & King Fullerton, S. (2017). Instructional Interactions: Supporting Students’ Reading Development Through Interactive Read-Alouds of Informational Texts. Reading Teacher71(1), 51–59.

Hebert, F. (2013). Text Complexity Playlist

Scholastic. What is Guided Reading? (Beyond a Commercial Cash Cow).

Hoffman, J. V. (2017). What If “Just Right” Is Just Wrong? The Unintended Consequences of Leveling Readers. Reading Teacher71(3), 265–273.

Phonics and Spelling

Montelongo, J. A., Hernández, A. C., Herter, R. J., & Cuello, J. (2011). Using Congnates to Scaffold Context Clue Strategies for Latino ELs. Reading Teacher64(6), 429–434.

Bear, D. R., & Templeton, S. (1998). Explorations in developmental spelling: Foundations for learning and teaching phonics, spelling.. Reading Teacher52(3), 222. Retrieved from

Alderman, G. L., & Green, S. K. (2011). Fostering Lifelong Spellers Through Meaningful Experiences. Reading Teacher64(8), 599–605.


Academic Vocabulary

Gallagher, M. A., & Anderson, B. E. (2016). Get All “Jazzed Up” for Vocabulary Instruction: Strategies That Engage. Reading Teacher70(3), 273–282.

Picot, C. J. (2017). Using Academic Word Lists to Support Disciplinary Literacy Development. Reading Teacher71(2), 215–220.

Flynt, E. S., & Brozo, W. G. (2008). Developing Academic Language: Got Words? Reading Teacher61(6), 500–502.


McKee, L., & Carr, G. (2016). Supporting Beginning Readers in Reading to Learn: A Comprehension Strategy. Reading Teacher70(3), 359–363.

Cappello, M., & Lafferty, K. E. (2015). The Roles of Photography for Developing Literacy Across the Disciplines. Reading Teacher69(3), 287–295.

Roehling, J. V., Hebert, M., Nelson, J. R., & Bohaty, J. J. (2017). Text Structure Strategies for Improving Expository Reading Comprehension. Reading Teacher71(1), 71–82.

Wright, T. S., & Gotwals, A. W. (2017). Supporting Disciplinary Talk From the Start of School: Teaching Students to Think and Talk Like Scientists. Reading Teacher71(2), 189–197.

Hamilton, B. Supprting Young Readers Developing Reading Club Conversation Skills


Writing instruction

Roth, K., & Dabrowski, J. (2014). Extending Interactive Writing Into Grades 2-5. Reading Teacher68(1), 33–44.

Moser, S. (2017). Using Mentor Texts to Reach Reluctant Readers and Writers. Reading Teacher71(3), 371–372.

Zawilinksi, L. Hot Blogging.

Assessment Strategy

Philippakos, Z. A. (2017). Giving Feedback: Preparing Students for Peer Review and Self-Evaluation. Reading Teacher71(1), 13–22.

Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2015). Checking for Understanding Digitally During Content Area Learning. Reading Teacher69(3), 281–286. 

Wixson, K. K., & Valencia, S. W. (2011). Assessment in RTI: What Teachers and Specialists Need to Know. Reading Teacher64(6), 466–469.


Creating a Home and Community Culture


Louie, B., & Davis-Welton, K. (2016). Family Literacy Project. Reading Teacher69(6), 597–606.

Protacio, M. S., & Edwards, P. A. (2015). Restructuring Sharing Time for English Learners and Their Parents. Reading Teacher68(6), 413–421.

Jensen, D. A. (2006). Using newsletters to create home-school connections. Reading Teacher60(2), 186–190.

Cognitive, Cultural, and Developmental Differentation

Stahl, K. A. D. (2016). Response to Intervention. Reading Teacher69(6), 659–663.

Teaching with Nonfiction

Duke, N. (2016). Using Informational Text to Build Literacy and Content Knowledge, Nell Duke, University of Michigan

Kersten, S. (2017). Becoming Nonfiction Authors: Engaging in Science Inquiry. Reading Teacher71(1), 33–41.

Young, T. A., & Miner, A. B. (2015). Guiding Inquiry With Biography Breaks and the C3 Framework. Reading Teacher69(3), 311–319.


Teaching with Novels

Ripp, P. Ideas for How to Do Better Book Clubs in Middle School

Larson, L. (2008) Electronic Reading Workshop

Cummins, S., & Quiroa, R. E. (2012). Teaching for Writing Expository Responses to Narrative Texts. Reading Teacher65(6), 381–386.

Teaching with Poetry

Ferguson, K. (2017). A Poetry Coffee House: Creating a Cool Community of Writers. Reading Teacher71(2), 209–213.

Timmermans, K. M., & Johnson, A. (2017). Introducing and Sustaining Close Reading and Writing Through Poetry. Reading Teacher71(3), 357–362.

Ciardiello, A. V. (2010). “Talking Walls”: Presenting a Case for Social Justice Poetry in Literacy Education. Reading Teacher63(6), 464–473.


Greg McVerry

Microcast Topics for #edu405 and #edu307 with @peggysemingson

Peggy, What do you think of this list? It may look daunting but if we have a loose script for each on standard format be a

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What do you think of this list? It may look daunting but if we have a loose script for each on standard format be a wonderful investment of our time. If you would like to join us for 5-10 minute audo microcasts thinking these topics:

  • oral language develoment'
  • stages of reading
  • theories of meaning making
  • predictors of reading success
  • phonological awareness
  • phonemic awareness
  • phonics-cvc words, onets rimes,
  • phonics-consonant blends
  • phonics-consonant digraphs
  • phonics-vowel dipthongs
  • phonics-r-controlled blog
  • spelling- syllables and affixes
  • spelling- derivational meanings
  • comprehension-background knowledge
  • comprehension-dialogical reading
  • comprehension-text based analysis
  • comprehension- text based discussion
  • Strategies for Book Clubs
  • Interactive Read alouds, guided reading, literature circles
  • Academic vocabulary
  • Teaching with nonfiction
  • Teaching with Novels
  • Assessment Strategies
  • Favorite Classroom routines


Greg McVerry

Working on #edu 407 Devloping Readers for @scsu

I am teaching a new class for ther first time. I am also teaching the class online. Have some planning to do I am thinking

1 min read

I am teaching a new class for ther first time. I am also teaching the class online. Have some planning to do I am thinking this for topics:

  • Theories of Meaning Making
  • Phonics and Spelling
  • Academic Vocabulary
  • Comprehension
  • Writing instruction
  • Assessment Strategy
  • Creating a Home and Community Culture
  • Cognitive, Cultural, and Developmental Differentation
  • Teaching with nonfiction
  • Teaching with Novels
  • Teaching with Short Stories

I am not going to include a unit on new literacies but embed digital test and tools across all the units

I want to do a microcast with a real classroom teacher for each of the units

We will read two novels as a class: Bucking the Sarge and Handbook for Boys

I think I will continue with WordPress but maybe pilot Google Classroom. I may try as well. Not sure

Other tasks to be defined later tonight and tommorow.

Greg McVerry

Minutes in Seats is a Bad Measure of Attendance for K12 Online Learning

 You may not be following the ECOT, Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow, debacle but the largest charter school in Ohio, a K12 online organization, was ordered to

3 min read

 You may not be following the ECOT, Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow, debacle but the largest charter school in Ohio, a K12 online organization, was ordered to payback $60 million dollars for students who paid that did not attend.

The State of Ohio contends that ECOT did not document student learning in a meaningful way to demonstrate students showed up. They may be right. The Online charter sector is the embarrassment of the Charter world. Performance, using standardized scores, is abysmal. 

ECOT is being ordered to pay $60 million dollars for students who enrolled but never showed up. They should reimburse the state for any fraud, but minutes in seats is a bad measure of attendance for a K12 online school.

I know people want the perfect metaphor for the brick and mortar. Forty-five minute periods for six hours a day....But the point of online learning is new metaphors.

The point of online learing is "not" be in attendance. Flexibility of learning and not fixed placement in front of a screen should be the goal.

Robust Online Learning Takes Rigorous Offline Work

In many online classes people gather to share and talk about what they learn while the bulk of the work gets done in the four corners of the text they were assigned. 

When you equate online learning to minutes logged in you banish students to live behind an adaptive testing platforms where they get spoon fed short passages followed by brief multple choice exams. Their teachers have few touch points.

Struggling Readers Using Digital Tools

Equating attendance with minutes logged in also forces kids into e-reading platforms. We know student comprehension takes a hit when students scroll rather than turn pages. Why dictate how students must read?

Having all the features of ebooks may not serve the students who enroll in K12 online charter schools.

What to Do?

  • Have Three Daily Check Ins-K12 Online students should have 2-3 check ins with their "homeroom" teacher to talk about what they worked on.
  • Use Scrumboards-Someone needs to train the remote workforce of the future. This could be the story of K12 online rather than the abysmal failure and fraud filling the papers. Use agile practices such as scrum boards that list, to-do, doing, and done. Powerful analytics and industry practice.
  • Teach Time Management- Steal another industry practice from the tech world and have students use the Pomodoro Method. Here you work in twenty minute spurts. Assuming k12 students spontaneously develop the self-regulatory practices for online learn is crazy talk.
  • Group Projects-Increase the amount of collaborative projects and supply students with platforms that encourage them to work together. Tracking when students meet provides strong metrics.
  • Group Chats and Discussions- Time doesn't equate learning. Knew AI tools emerge that allow for semantic analysis of student discussions and posted threads. We can use these tools to track knowledge gains.

I believe in K12 online learning. For many parents and home school advocates it could provide an  avenue for choice. I also believe k12 online schools can play an essential role in helping to diversify Silicon Valley.

However some motives and measures keep getting in the way. It is time we do right by the students enrolled in these schools. 

Greg McVerry

Counting Things and Making Things That Count and #AERA15 reflection

@emamjohnson trust me. I like counting things and making things that count. Runs deep in the DNA #AERA15 — Greg McVerry (@jgmac1106) April 18, 2015 Had a

6 min read

Had a wonderful conversation with Emily Johnson about assessment at AERA. I am glad to see Twitter pick up at AERA and want to engage in academic discourse. Twitter at AERA looks more like a broadcast channel and not a backchannel.

I did not want to come off as someone who has a fear of numbers. I like counting things. Even if I do (try)a qualititative study I will end up counting codes. I will then want to tweak the learning space to see if I can cause a statistical difference in those codes. 

The conversation began with Emily sharing out a slide from Daniel Willingham. I agree  with Willingham that content knowledge = comprehension. I also agree with he and  Robert Pondiscio that reading assessment makes very little sense after basic decoding skills

There are some universal comprehension skills that can and should be taught. Yet the effect sizes of these lessons wane as readers develop greater proficiency. They also rarely transfer to other texts. Michael Fagella-Luby likes to point out that these strategy instruction is critical to special education students. He is right, but strategy instruction should not be the crux of our reading programs.

I spent my doctoral career designinging reading assessemtns. I had to design and validate seven different measures for my dissertation alone. I don't hate testing. I just think some things essential to schools can't be assessed.

We know reading motivation is a strong predictor of comprehension. Yet the word only appears once in the Common Core State Standards? Why? It is hard to measure.

Even more important is the love of the word. I want the students I teach to have a passion for playing with prose. I want them to have a library of reactionary gifs they can post on topics that matter to them.

I am not sure this is an outcome that can be measured.

My other issue is what happens when you take Willingham's and Pondiscio's position to its ultimate logical conclusion? If content knowledge matters most than someone has to decide what knowledge. No government agency should be in the business of deciding a universal canon of knowledge. We already ignore the counter narrative of People of Color in our schools. We suppress stories of the oppressed. We already ignore the diverse multiliteracies of today's youth. Having a government decide what we need to know is no democracy I want to live in.

I agree here with James Paul Gee that students have islands of knowledge. A very young child maybe able to understand a complex text about Minecraft or about baseball. This is regardless of lexile level but governed by discourses.

Here Emily and I disagreed a little (I think. It is very easy to misconstrue positions and intentions on Twitter). I just do not think the assessment regime schools have lived under since NCLB passage (or since Nation At Risk has been published) have been good for schools. If NAEP scores have been so steady in the era of accountability based reform why are we still wasting billions, possibly trillions, on the same path? Isn't replication the first step in ed research? Don't we have enough evidence that testing does little for schools? Could those billions being used on the bad math of VAM and teacher evaluation be better spent?

So how could we do reading assessment?

What if teachers had a competency based approach to comprehension assessment? I see it somewhat in schools. They have taken the CCSS grade level expectations and made report cards, but schools get these wrong. They often have a four point scale ending in 4, exceeding grade level. My issue, since CCSS are end of the year expectations what are you doing for the child who meets or exceeds this expectation on their report card half way through the year? What about the child who finished last year with meeting the GLE based competency? Why did you move on to the next year? Based on the assessment data we are wasting their time.

These are just some quick thoughts, but I was thinking about , reading comprehension, and the common core. A digital badge is a visual representation of the data behind the image. What if a teacher picked a series of GLE from the CSS and created a learning pathway that could be represented by a badge? The CCSS were never meant to be taught in isolation anyway. 

Teachers could then require the student to reflect on their growth along this pathway. The teacher could also collect and analyze evidence of student growth by tagging evidence in work products or student dialogue and text moves during the work process.

Then the students could be assessed on the vocabulary that matters in the discipline. They could complete concept maps pre and post to measure knowledge growth. These two assessments I am sure would go a long way in predicting how students would comprehend a text in any given disicipline. 

In terms of the harder things to measure: passion, engagement, etc., I do not think they can be counted but they could be cultivated. If you figure out how just let me know.

Greg McVerry

Attempting to Remix Academic Writing #dmlcommons #walkmyworld #teachtheweb

I steal from Alan Levine quite often. I am most prod of hauling away a backstage blog from an open course he co-facilitated as part of #YouShow15.

2 min read

I steal from Alan Levine quite often.

I am most prod of hauling away a backstage blog from an open course he co-facilitated as part of . Then yesterday during folks started asking me about the role of having a back stage blog.

So I wanted to show an example.

Once again stole from cogdog. He posted a final report from . I loved the work, even if it is a horrible slideshow article aka BleacherReport. What I loved the most, Alan's work was 95% derivative and 100% original. He told a story using the words of others.

As the final event for we had to curate our work. This was my example and this is the story of how it came to be and what I need to do as i revise

The Pre-Writing

Over the last year I have been trying to teach myself (translation: bug people smarter than me and Google a lot) CSS. I knew I wanted to try the single page website and play with sections. I also wanted the content to be a remix. So I started by pre-planning. I always start planning on paper. I am old school like that.

I then drafted my first attempt. I used Thimble. I am addicted to thimble.This was my draft.

The Revision

My first attempt is awful. I collected all my makes but my design leads to cognitive dissonance rather than aiding in comprehension. So I started to plan my revisions.

The design changes:

  • I need to match the colors section so they make sense. This is an important cue to the reader
  • I need to match the font sizes and be logical about my header levels
  • I forgot to nest some content inside a div within the section. I used an inline display and something like a table thingy to center content.

The content changes:

  • The content is a little jarring. Needs more logical sense
  • Walkmyworld was about identity. Yet I focused on synthesis.Explain this
  • I need to add a theoretical definitions of synthesis

Greg McVerry

(re)Discovering my Personal Statement #DMLCommons Pathways

Since #dmlcommons is doing the pathways series simultaneously with DBR I thought I would share soemthing I found while pretending I was going to organize

5 min read

Since is doing the pathways series simultaneously with DBR I thought I would share soemthing I found while pretending I was going to organize my file.

This was my original personal statement when I applied to my doctorate program (had to apply a second time but that is another story).

Technology has reshaped literacy by creating new means of communication, new strategies for learning, and new definitions of collaboration. The changes taking place to literacy as a result of a whole host of new and emerging technologies have redefined my view of the world and shaped the contributions I aim to make to the field of education.

            By and large, today’s students turn to the Internet as their primary source of information, yet very few educators and researchers view the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as a reading issue.  Even fewer recognize there are unique skills and strategies required to maximize the use of the Internet.  I am seeking an advanced degree to better understand how technology reshapes literacy processes and to empower other educators by distributing this knowledge widely for the purpose of affecting change.

            I describe myself as perpetually inquisitive, the kind of person who seeks to explore deep and meaningful questions that will move the field forward in tangible and concrete ways.  The goals I seek to accomplish as a researcher are threefold. First, I seek to affect fundamental change in the k-12 curriculum by advocating for the inclusion of new literacies instruction as a means for students to acquire 21st century skills.  I will provide evidence to demonstrate the positive benefits of doing so. Second, I will contribute to practical and theoretical development of research on new literacies by providing research-based evidence that demonstrates the positive effects new literacies instruction has on achievement.  Third, I seek to contribute toward the development of new models of professional development for technology integration and to work to increase the collaboration between state educational schools and at risk public schools. These three goals will help guarantee that students who are most in need of instruction on the new literacies of reading comprehension have the opportunity to take part in well-designed instructional activities.

         Since entering the 6th year certificate program I have delved into the legions of literature exploring both offline and online comprehension.  During this time, I have built the background knowledge I need to make connections between research and practice. I have put these skills into practice by completing my first manuscript for publication.  My article entitled “Forums and Functions of Threaded Discussions” will be included in the new literacies themed issue of the New England Reading Association Journal.

            The use of ICT’s in the active construction of meaning not only requires new literacies, but also demands more complex traditional literacies. As a doctoral student I will develop models for professional development that have a lasting impact.  I seek to become a vehicle for change in schools, not only help teachers to better understand what new literacies are, but also to spark new ideas for ways to help students acquire these essential strategies. I will use new technologies such as wikis, Webpages, and threaded discussions to build a community of educators dedicated to growth and change.

            I have been recognized for my efforts to integrate technology within my curriculum and was awarded Connecticut Educator’s Computer Association technology integration award. I will continue this work by conducting professional development seminars, similar to my recent presentation at the First Annual Essential Literacy conference, that use ICT’s in order to develop on going dialogue, reflection, and community as the cornerstone for teacher training.

            When I complete my doctoral degree, I will dedicate myself to building new pathways between educational institutions and at-risk public schools. I believe that teacher education programs would benefit from  an apprenticeship approach, such as the ones  applied to hospital residency programs. In my opinion, doctoral students should spend time in schools serving as curricular and educational specialists. This model of community service would open up avenues for research while providing schools with an invaluable service. I also believe states, as part of the accreditation process, should require greater cooperation between the research community and at-risk schools. At-risk communities face so many needs. As a university professor, I would advocate for the supervision of doctoral and graduate students in service as educational specialists within these priority schools. As a professor I would advocate for research conducted collaboratively with school administrators.  This would help  build an atmosphere of positive change while developing a design research-based curricula  and application of best practices. Such an endeavor between k-12 schools and universities would lend credence to the field of education as a noble effort that takes the entire global village.

            Technology has changed literacy, and transformed how students learn.   It has changed my goals as an educator. As a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut I will make contributions to better understanding the theory and practice of new literacies instruction and the use of ICT’s to build a new model for professional development.  I will work to build bridges between the research community and at-risk schools making a lasting difference in the field of education.


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