Friday, December 12, 2014

Making Connections - A Literacy Comprehension Strategy? Or is it more?

Connecting Literacy, Technology and Innovation, and Curriculum Redesign 

KG - Gr. 12

As teachers we are constantly challenged with the task of making connections; whether that means integrating the curricular outcomes with best instructional practices, or linking new learning to our current practices. Similarly, our students need to also make connections in order for new learning to occur. We all know that in literacy, “Making Connections” is a comprehension strategy but how do we join literacy with technology and innovation to accomplish what is new in Alberta’s Cross-Curricular Competencies without feeling like we need to don our favourite super-hero cape?

What if we could take a  book study and turn it into an innovative teaching tool that applies many of the 10 cross-curricular competencies at any grade level in any subject?

As teachers we often use our smartboards to show students pictures and maps of locations in the books or text that we read aloud to students, or assign students to read. This is an important part of building background knowledge prior to reading, as we are trying to assist students in making connections. Making connections can generally be grouped into the three categories of "text to text", "text to self" or "text to the world".  and are two websites that might just change your teaching practice regardless of your content area or grade level. 

On, you will find many books that have been published and turned into texts filled with maps, videos, music and background information that helps to bring difficult books alive. Check out this snapshot of the popular book The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Each section of the 324 page book is annotated with pictures, maps, videos and music to facilitate making connections for the reader. You can also create your own annotated version of books and submit them to BookDrum to be shared by others.

On, you will find an innovative High School English teacher who began linking literacy with Google Earth. Check out this snapshot of the same book The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Here the book is linked to Google Earth and students can virtually fly around the world to connect to the text to the world quite literally.

If you are interested in creating your own Google Lit Trip or learning more about them, please check out these short videos.
What is a Google Lit Trip (1:32)
How to Make a Storyboard (2:54)
How to Create a Google Lit Trip - Part 1 (7:51)
How to Create a Google Lit Trip - Part 2 (9:29)

I hope these websites might act as a springboard for ideas about annotating texts that you are using with your students. If you would like to discuss any of these ideas or would like assistance to implement them in your classroom, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend.

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