Common Core in Action: ELA
Finding ways to integrate technology and align instruction to the Common Core Learning Standards can be a challenge. Part of making sure that students are college and career ready goes beyond rigorous class work and should include interaction with 21st century technology.
Let's take a look at two Common Core Anchor Standards in Reading. These anchor standards are written generally for grades K-12, and each has grade-specific standards that address the particular skill sets necessary for each level of students.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Both of these anchor standards lend themselves well to integrating technology into instruction. Teachers can take a traditional English language arts tool -- the graphic organizer -- to the next level by using interactive whiteboards and mobile devices.
Interactive Whiteboard Activities
Whether you are replicating a Frayer Model or creating your own graphic organizer, an interactive whiteboard can be a fantastic tool. A SMARTBoard and Promethean WhiteBoard are two examples of interactive whiteboards perfect for modeling best practices for students or getting kids to demonstrate understanding during whole-class instruction. Teachers can drag and drop images of favorite graphic organizers or draw their own based on how many bubbles, arrows or boxes they need. Write a topic sentence from a nonfiction passage in the middle of your screen, and show students how to jot down supporting details in a web radiating from this main idea. Create a T-chart with your weekly vocabulary word list, and have students come to the board and write a sentence using each word.
If you have access to a set of mobile devices for the whole class (or just a few to create stations), students can build their own graphic organizers using a variety of apps. The benefit of moving from paper to mobile device is that students can customize graphic organizers to demonstrate their thought process. Each can create a graphic organizer that shows how he or she connects ideas. Even if you're giving directions for students on what their final product needs to have (such as one main idea with three supporting details, or a Venn Diagram that compares the theme in two stories), they'll have the agency to create their own graphic organizers that demonstrate their understanding.
Using technology tools like an interactive whiteboard or mobile devices like an iPad can be a powerful way to promote student engagement and allow children to customize their learning experience. In order to push rigor in your classroom, extend this activity with a writing assignment. Students should be able to explain their thought process and the decision making that took place when customizing their graphic organizer. This writing piece can be used to prepare them for sharing their creations with peers. You can also use it as a way to assess their understanding and determine how to tailor your instruction to meet the needs of your students in the future.
Have you used an interactive whiteboard or mobile devices to teach Common Core ELA? Share your experiences!