Literacy ShopTalk

"Prepare self-directed learners to think critically about the messages received and created by media.”

Media Literacy

Written By: Paula Neidlinger
Foster a student-centered learning culture by creating a global digital learning environment through peer interaction and communication.


todays_meet_logoToday’sMeet ( — Today’sMeet may be the easiest web tool you ever encounter, and it can be used in a variety of situations. Create a chat room with your own Today’sMeet URL ( Distribute the URL to your participants. As they arrive in the room, they enter their display names and they add comments to the room. Comments can be 140 characters or less and can include clickable links. Comments appear instantly. TodaysMeet can be used for in-class backchannels, website link distribution, professional development and more. Check out-  “20 useful ways to use Today’s Meet in schools” post.

PRACTICE:  #9 – class activity

Today’s Chat-     Rotating Story

Today’s focus:  description

Starter sentence:  The incessant barking stopped abruptly. 



How to use Mentimeter…. Mentimeter is Free

Mentimeter is so easy to use that we think it’s best explained by letting you test it yourself.

*  Engaged students get better results and learn more

*  Use Mentimeter as a tool to make your teaching more interactive, both you and your students will benefit from it.


Answer Garden


Answer Garden ( — 

Answer Garden is a digital “Scribble Space.”  It can be used as a brainstorming or feedback tool in the classroom.  It can be embedded directly into a website or blog.  You create an Answer Garden by entering a topic or question.  The next step is to share the garden live or embed within a site.  As students begin posting answers, a word cloud begins to form.  Students are limited to 20 characters.  Results can be exported into tools such as Wordle.

Practice:  Answer the following question and watch the Word Cloud evolve.  What is your favorite digital communication tool?

*  Padlet 

Formerly Wallwisher, this tool enables students to collaborate individually or as a group.  The wall can easily be shown as a live presentation.  Classroom debates and discussions can erupt from simple wall posts.  The teacher has the flexibility as to how the posts will be organized.  Padlet works much faster than the former program, Wallwisher.  Walls can be easily shared as links and embedded into sites and blogs.  All walls can be shared through social media venues as well.

Let’s try it-  Click here and respond to the question posted on Padlet  

OR click above using the writing icon in the lower left-hand side

*  Blogger/ ePortfolios/BloggingBlogger*  Blogger    (— Google’s Blogger is an easy blog platform, as you can literally be registered and blogging in minutes. Blogger is so easy to use, that any teacher new to the digital classroom can be registered for Blogger and blogging in minutes. Blogger is a Hosted Blog: A hosted blog is one whose software is maintained by a company for its users. The advantage of using a hosted service is that you don’t have to worry about installing software, software updates, server maintenance, or bandwidth capacity. Blogger is Google’s free blogging service. It takes just a minute to start a blog through Blogger. Blogger offers a wide selection of colorful themes and templates to choose from. Customizing the layout of your blog is as easy as dragging and dropping elements into place. You can add additional authors to your blogs. If you have a Gmail account you already have a Blogger account. Just sign into your Gmail account and in the top menu select Blogger from the “more” drop-down menu.My students use Blogger as the platform for their ePortfolios/blogs.  Students blog on a weekly basis and update their ePortfolio in all classes.  My student websites are linked through ThingLink on our class website.   Student ePortfolios

 KidblogKidblog ( — Kidblog is a robust student blogging site. Create a class and individual blogs for every student. Then students have their own web space to journal, respond to writing prompts or just express themselves. Commenting on each others’ blogs is half the value of student blogging! Teachers have lots of control of blog privacy (public or private blogs) and comment privacy (public/private comments and previewing incoming comments before they’re seen by students).


Weebly ( — Weebly is a website creation tool. It creates a site for you for free (using its own URLs — and gives you a powerful drag-and-drop user interface. Pages can be quickly created and updated with a variety of content, including embedded content from other sites, images, videos, maps, contact forms and more. If you like what you’ve created and want to buy a .com domain for it, Weebly helps you. It’s simple enough to create a class website and elegant enough to make a serious professional-looking site.

*******Blogging develops the 21st century skills of Global collaboration, authentic learning, and digital literacy.


Find a medium: There are plenty of potential homes for your students’ blogs. Richard Byrne lists several in this post. They range from the basic (KidblogEdublogsBlogger, Weebly) to the complex (self-hosted WordPress).

1.  Book Blog– Use a novel as the basis for on-line discussion and collaboration with classmates, classes, other schools,….etc endless possibilities.

2. Open topic posts are good: Richard Byrne of Free Tech for Teachers recently suggested that students reflect on what they’ve learned that week in a simple blog post. It could be open to all classes or just from your content area.

3.  Digital Citizenship: Public student blogs can open children to the harshness and dangers of the real world, but they offer an authentic, global audience. Students thrive on outside-of-school comments. Link to student blog posts on Twitter with the #comments4kids hashtag to open them to a huge worldwide audience.

4.  Blogging Challenge-  Create your own blogging challenge with other schools.   Teach2blog

Leave a footprint with your words…..

*  Blogging Must Be Authentic:  True blogging should encourage you to explore your own ideas and question the world through your own lens.

*  Blogging Requires an Authentic Audience:  Sharing and expressing ideas globally creates an environment of 21st century digital learning.

 *  Blogging Requires Time:  Blogging is a global connection which envelops the passion for writing and communicating on daily basis.  


Twitter- ( Twitter is a free microblogging service founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone. Tweets are 140-character blurbs of information. Users can include links to other content in their tweets, pictures, and broadcasts can be public or private. For basics on how to use the social network, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter.  

Inside the Classroom: Can Students Really Learn from a “Tweet?”

What could that look like? Some suggestions:

  1. Student, Class, Teacher, or School Hosted Twitter Chats
    — Students or collaborative groups choose 3-5 questions, which will be
    the topic of the chat. The questions should be based on a current
    theme or issue of literary study. Students will be the facilitators
    throughout the event.
  2. Family Twitter Chat Night — As an extension of
    the classroom Tweet-up, a topic is sent home in advance with a set time
    for the chat. Families are encouraged to chat as a family unit. A
    follow-up chat is held the next day in class, as a written reflection of
    the event.
  3. Fictional Twitter Characters — Students create
    fictional twitter accounts of literary characters or historical figures
    as they work through a current problem or issue. This is a great
    activity when teaching characterization, as the characters must react to
    current events based on their character traits in the story, novel, or
    historical event.
  4. Fictional Twitter Character Debate — Students
    produce a Tweet dialogue between two opposing characters about a key
    issue in the story, current event, or future event.
  5. Tweet-story — Begin by tweeting out a story
    starter. Students continue the story in sequence through tweets. This
    activity can be constructed as a group or an individual activity.
  6. Twitter Version of ‘Pass It On’
    Individual students or groups are each assigned one element of the plot
    sequence. They are allowed only the 140 characters to write their
    character description, setting, climax, etc. Students will tweet out
    their descriptions in order based on the plot diagram.
  7. Create a Poll — Students will create their own
    poll to gauge opinion or gather information on current issues related to
    the theme or issue in a story or article.
  8. Curating Presentations — Students participate in
    and curate conversations through tweets during a presentation by other
    students or a guest speaker. Students are prompted in advance as to key
    points based on the issue.
  9. Global Tweeting — Test your genius! In an effort
    to build students’ curiosity, ask students to tweet their “big
    thinking” questions -… what if… how might…. I wonder…… For example:
    What if there were 14 months in a year? This activity will also help
    students begin to build their own PLN.
  10. Twitter Community Connection — Establish a
    partnership with local government or a charitable organization in your
    community. Use Twitter to reach a broader audience, as students discuss
    the latest cultural or educational event in the area.
  11. Debating Social Issues — Poll the class as to
    what current issue they would like to follow; this could also be based
    for the theme or conflict in a story. Students subscribe to relevant
    hash tags and accounts from both perspectives of an issue. Students
    engage in debate by supporting their arguments with evidence.
  12. Writing Book Reviews — Twitter provides a great format for students when writing micro-reviews of books, poems, or current articles.
  13. Engage in Word Games — There are numerous
    activities in which to engage students in vocabulary through Twitter. A
    simple ‘Do Now’ activity is to post a daily or weekly challenge asking
    students to unscramble anagrams, contribute synonyms or antonyms, or
    design and upload a word cloud, which examines multi-aspects of a word.
  14. Summarizing and Writing Concisely — After
    assigning a current article, ask students to summarize the article
    within the 140 character limit. This writing event teaches summarizing
    and writing concisely.
  15. Twitter as an Exit Slip — At the conclusion of
    class, ask students to write a 140-summary of their understanding of the
    day’s objective or pose any questions to be considered in the next



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