Dr. Troy Hicks & Jeremy Hyler – Literacy Webinar

From Texting to Teaching: Teaching Grammar Beyond the Screen

Tuesday, February 7, 2017  7-8pm EST

RECORDING   SLIDES   RESOURCES

Create.Compose.ConnectGrammar instruction continues to be more important than ever when we look at the digital landscape our students belong to today. Experts Constance Weaver and Jeff Anderson offer us wonderful ways to infuse grammar into our everyday writing lessons. However, as educators, we need to address how students write in digital spaces. We need to teach them to differentiate between the writing they do in their digital spaces and their non-digital spaces. In this interactive session, teachers and educators will learn effective strategies using Google Slides along with social media, that can help students to differentiate between formal and informal writing while learning new grammar skills.

Recommended Reading:

Dr. Troy Hicks, an associate professor at Central Michigan University, teaches pre-service writing methods classes and facilitates professional development on the teaching of writing, writing across the curriculum, and writing with technology. In his research, he collaborates with K-16 teachers and explores how they implement newer literacies in their classrooms.  He also serves as the Director of the Chippewa River Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project at CMU. His publications include The Digital Writing Workshop (Heinemann, 2009) and Because Digital Writing Matters (Jossey-Bass, 2010). Twitter ID:@hickstro

JeremyHylerJeremy Hyler is a 7th/8th grade English teacher at Fulton Middle School in Middleton, Michigan. In addition, he is a co-director for the Chippewa River Writing Project. He co-authored Create, Compose, Connect: Reading, Writing, and Learning with Digital Tools. He is also a contributing author to Assessing Students’ Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely. He is currently working on his second book about teaching grammar in the digital age. Jeremy has presented both statewide and nationally on the importance of integrating technology effectively and with purpose into the language arts classroom. He is always interested in helping teachers find new, productive and meaningful ways to implement technology into their classrooms. Jeremy can be found on Twitter @jeremybballer and his website is jeremyhyler.wikispaces.com.


Dr. Troy Hicks – Literacy Webinar

Revising Digital Writing

Thursday, January 14, 2016  7-9pm EST (optional discussion 8-9pm)
recording    slides    hyperlink paragraph example     web text paragraph

craftingdigitalwritingAs the inputs continue to multiply, how can we help students find, evaluate, and synthesize information from a variety of sources? More importantly, how can we help them craft — and revise — digital writing in effective ways? When revision happens with multimedia, we must think broadly about how text, images, audio, and video can be used to best reach an audience. Based on Hicks’ book Crafting Digital Writing, we will explore a variety of web-based tools and mobile applications to help students combine amplify their voices when revising digital texts.


Recommended Reading: Crafting Digital Writing: Composing Texts Across Media and Genres

Hicks_PortraitDr. Troy Hicks (@hickstro) is an associate professor of English at Central Michigan University and focuses his work on the teaching of writing, literacy and technology, and teacher education and professional development. A former middle school teacher, he collaborates with K–12 colleagues and explores how they implement newer literacies in their classrooms. Hicks directs CMU’s Chippewa River Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project, and he frequently conducts professional development workshops related to writing and technology. Hicks is author of the Heinemann titles Crafting Digital Writing (2013) and The Digital Writing Workshop(2009), as well as a co-author of Because Digital Writing Matters (Jossey-Bass, 2010) and Create, Compose, Connect! (Routledge/Eye on Education, 2014). He blogs at Digital Writing, Digital Teaching. In March 2011, Hicks was honored with CMU’s Provost’s Award for junior faculty who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in research and creative activity. Most importantly, he is the father of six digital natives and is always learning something new about writing and technology from them.

Review of Connected Reading: Teaching Adolescent Readers in a Digital World

Book Reviews Literacy & Technology Notes from the Classroom Oakland Writing Project

As I mentioned in my review of Upstanders by Smokey Daniels and Sara Ahmed, I read a lot of professional books, especially in the summer.  It’s late July as I’m writing this, and I’m on my eighth book of the summer, half of which have been professional books to grow my knowledge as a teacher (stay tuned for a review of Jennifer Serravallo’s The Reading Strategies Book).

Connected ReadingAfter writing the review of Upstanders, I asked Delia DeCourcy, one of Oakland Schools’ literacy consultants, if she had any books she thought I might like to read and review.  She sent over Connected Reading: Teaching Adolescent Readers in a Digital World by Kristen Hawley Turner and Troy Hicks, and I immediately knew this book would be right up my alley. Turner and Hicks begin the book with the “NCTE Policy Research Brief: Reading Instruction for All Students,” which acts as a framework and rationale for teaching students how to be connected readers and is referenced throughout the book.

Because teaching students to be skillful readers of digital texts is new to many teachers, Turner and Hicks carefully ease us into this world of connected reading by writing about their experiences, the experiences we as readers might have had, and how teachers might become more connected readers, for the purpose of knowing what their students will experience, as well as for simply growing their personal learning network (PLN).  The authors include requisite theory for their work, then dig into what many teachers want from a professional book: practical application that can be used in the classroom.  Turner and Hicks do not disappoint: Connected Reading is full of projects, ideas, and actual lesson plans that teachers can easily make their own and implement.  Topics range from digital citizenship to making decisions about how best to search for information to collaborating on texts being read in class.

What may be the best part of this book is that it embodies the very principles that the authors espouse: the book itself (although a print text) is a great example of what connected reading could be even if students do not have digital texts.  Connected Reading is filled with QR codes that take readers to additional content, much of it multimedia, but also connects to the authors’ wiki page, which offers additional resources and ways to connect and extend the conversation.QR Codes

I started reading this book in the last few weeks of school, so I didn’t have much time to integrate its ideas into my practice, but I did notice myself becoming more aware of how students’ reading changed across platforms.   I recall a distinct moment near the end of the year when I must have been giving directions, and I started saying something about how their reading of our last book was going to be different because they would be reading it and annotating digitally, and more important, collaboratively.

noteable pdfFor our last unit, I knew that I wanted to try out some of the ideas from Connected Reading so that come September, I could dive in more completely.  Since my district was not in the position to purchase ebooks, I was given permission to scanin its entirety the informational book we were reading as a class and post it chapter by chapter to Google Classroom, which is a closed system and accessible only to students in my class.  (While I was posting to a closed system, there does seem to be a gray area in terms of copyright. I was using the scanned copy solely for educational purposes and Turner and Hicks even encourage teachers to have students scan or take screenshots of individual pages for annotating and collaborating.)

After scanning a chapter and posting it to Google Classroom as a PDF, students downloaded the chapter onto their Chromebooks using the Chrome extension Notable PDF.  A quick note about Notable: this is one of my favorite and most used Chrome extensions both personally and professionally.  It allows users to highlight, underline, strikethrough, and make comments on PDF documents that can be saved permanently.  It also includes Google Drive integration.  Depending on how a document is downloaded from Google Classroom, all students in a class or a group could be collaborating on the same document or it can be shared between student partners as well.  Similar to the commenting feature in Google Docs, each person’s name shows up when he/she makes a comment so that students can easily see what their classmates are thinking as they read.

As my classes worked through the MAISA informational reading and writing units, we would practice various annotating skills depending on what our purpose was at the time.  Sometimes students read in partnerships, sometimes they read independently, and sometimes we read as a whole class, annotating together and showing our collective thinking.  Because students had such an intimate knowledge of the text through their annotations, their final project was to decide on a topic mentioned in the book they felt could have used more explanation and write their own “insert” chapter about that topic that mimicked the text features of the original book.  Examples of this project can be found here.

As I think about next school year, I will definitely be incorporating Turner and Hicks’ ideas about teaching students to be skillful readers of digital texts with lessons on digital citizenship, setting up a digital reading life, looking into freely available digital copies of texts, and ways to help students navigate this digital information world in which they are already immersed.

Screenshot 2014-09-26 at 12.44.07 PMJianna Taylor (@JiannaTaylor) is an ELA and Title 1 teacher at Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomfield.  She is a member of the AVID Site Team and Continuous School Improvement Team at her school, among other things.  She is also a MiELA Network Summer Institute facilitator and member of the OWP Core Leadership Team.  Jianna earned her bachelor’s degree from Oakland University and her master’s degree from the University of Michigan.  She also writes reviews of children’s books and young adult novels for the magazine Library Media Connection.

Webinar – Mixing Sources, Amplifying Voices: Crafting Writing in an Information Age

Facilitator: Professor Troy Hicks, Central Michigan University
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 7-8pm EST (optional follow up discussion from 8-9pm)
recording     slides    wiki with resources

As the inputs continue to multiply, how can we help students find, evaluate, and synthesize information from a variety of sources? More importantly, how can we help them craft digital writing in effective ways, utilizing the information that they have found to develop multimedia texts? In this webinar, we will explore how purposeful digital writing — with a focus on mode, media, audience, purpose, and situation — can help your students frame their thinking and produce multimedia texts. Examples and resources will be shared, as well as an open Q&A about digital writing tools.

Troy Hicks, an associate professor at Central Michigan University, teaches pre-service writing methods classes and facilitates professional development on the teaching of writing, writing across the curriculum, and writing with technology. In his research, he collaborates with K-16 teachers and explores how they implement newer literacies in their classrooms.  He also serves as the Director of the Chippewa River Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project at CMU. His publications include The Digital Writing Workshop (Heinemann, 2009) and Because Digital Writing Matters (Jossey-Bass, 2010).

Twitter ID: @hickstro