Literacy ShopTalk

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

Think Critically

Written By: Paula Neidlinger
Develop resources which support and connect student-centered learning activities by cultivating students’ diverse learning styles and curiosity.

The Learning Network Blog: 

The Learning Network provides teaching and learning materials and ideas based on New York Times content.  Teachers can use or adapt lessons across subject areas and levels or contribute their own ideas.  Students can respond to  Opinion questions, take  News Quizzes, learn the Word of the Day, try  Test Yourself questions, enter contests, do crosswords, learn about what happened on this day in history, answer 6 Q’s About the News, speculate on “What’s Going On in This Picture?” or read  Poetry Pairings.


Overview: ReadWorks provides over 1,700 non-fiction and literary passages for
grades K-8.  It is a non-profit organization that provides FREE, research-based, and Common Core-aligned reading comprehension curriculum for grades K-8. The ReadWorks curriculum is based on proven research in reading instruction. The curriculum addresses reading comprehension instruction by providing clear and explicit guidance for teachers so that they can effectively develop and hone the reading comprehension skills of their students.
Each lesson page lists the standards that a specific lesson aligns to under the “Standards Alignment” tab. You can also edit your profile page to automatically show the standards alignment for your state and grade.  


5 Easy Ways to Use Newsela

Overview:  Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.  All of the site’s resources are available to anyone- student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, or an adult returning to the classroom after 20 years.   Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.

Overview:  Audio, visual, and interactive components all reinforce the educational objectives identified by teachers at SAS Curriculum Pathways.  SAS
offers interactive learning tools in all core disciplines, mapped to state standards, for grades 6-12.  SAS is also a provider of free apps that thousands of educators, traditional students and life-long learners are using. These apps include:

Overview:  NBC Learn is free in the state of Indiana.  It is also available to MBC schools.  The link above will take you to the free site.  NBC Learn has digitized more than 12,000 stories from the NBC News archives dating back to the 1920s.  The collections are updated with current events every day. The original videos and archival news stories are correlated to state standards and the Common Core, and aligned to more than 25 K-12 and 30 Higher Ed collections. Videos are short — less than six minutes in length.  

To deliver these stories in a safe, collaborative online learning environment, NBC Learn has developed an advanced media player called a Cue Card™. The player supports videos, photographs, newspaper articles, primary source documents, and other media. It is “flippable,” providing bibliographic information, click-able keywords and a citation generator on the back, a full transcript along the side, and additional tabs along the bottom that let users annotate each resource with their own research notes, and to save it to personal play lists. The Cue Card offers a closed captioning option and can easily be shared on the Internet or by email.

The collections of NBC Learn are available through Internet streaming or for via download. They are also accessible as a stand-alone resource or as a Blackboard building block, which allows users to embed videos directly into Blackboard learning management systems.


Get your school connected to Common Sense.  This is a great site, which I recently discovered.  Take the time to thoroughly peruse through the technology and literacy resources available.

“Common Sense Education provides teachers and schools with free research-based classroom tools. Common Sense K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum and interactive games teach students how to make safe, smart, and ethical decisions in the digital world.  The educational rating system, Graphite, helps educators discover, use, and share high-quality digital products that propel student learning.




What is a Curriculet?

“A Curriculet is a digital layer of questions, quizzes and rich media, placed on top of any text. As students read a text, questions, quizzes and annotations (i.e. material that would normally be placed in worksheets) pop out of the text, so students are instructed and assessed as they read… at just the right moment.”

Teacher-created questions and quizzes are tied to Common Core standards and all editable.  You can access the ready-to-teach curriculum by visiting their store.  You can also build your own Curriculets from scratch using any of the texts in the Store or build using your own text.  Additionally, you can extract content from a URL or upload content from a file and they’ll upload it to your Library.  Finally, you can view rich reports on student progress and Common Core mastery, assign readings from books that don’t contain questions, share Curriculets with other teachers, and use theirs.

Flipped Instruction


*  Flipped Learning Network


Evernote ( — An elephant never forgets, and neither does Evernote.  Evernote is the app that keeps all of your ideas and allows you to access them on any device — laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. Type notes, format the text and then save them or share them with a link on social media or by e-mail. The Evernote Web Clipper extension on Google Chrome is a lifesaver; it grabs anything on the web and saves it to your Evernote account to access later.



Socrative ( — Socrative makes formative assessment quick and easy. Students go to your Socrative room with a number (via and you send out an assessment for them. Choose from simple pre-made multiple choice quizzes (it’s just the letters A, B, C, D and E … you tell students what they represent in class), custom-made quizzes with a variety of answer options, or a space race game where teams work together to answer questions. Answers can be e-mailed or downloaded in spreadsheet form.



SymbalooSymbaloo ( — Symbaloo is a bookmarking tool, which  enables students and teachers to organize and share the best of the web.  This is especially a great way for teachers to organize all of their resources in one place.  The tool is very easy to use.  To get started you simply add tiles.  Next, attach the URL address to your website- title it and categorize by color.  These can also be created to use with units of study… the ideas are endless. ===================================================================

DiigoDiigo ( — Diigo makes collecting, curating and commenting on information on the web easy in one place. Users can collect information and ideas in the cloud. They can sort and organize that information. It archives web pages, so even if they’re changed or removed users still have access. Users can annotate their resources using highlighters and sticky notes. Plus, they can be shared and commented on.


  • Gather vocabulary lists or lists of important facts (i.e. capitals, countries)
  • Create a Quizlet flashcard set quickly and easily
  • Give students the link so they can study it
  • Embed Quizlet sets on class website


You start by creating your own study sets with terms and definitions.

Next, you can add images, copy and paste from another source, or use Quizlet’s built-in auto-define feature to speed up the creating process.

2.  FIND

Over 40 million user-generated flashcard sets (and counting)!

Chances are you’ll find something to study.

Search With Arrow copy


Track your progress with 6 powerful study and game modes!

Flashcards—Review your material, shuffle/randomize, or listen with audio.

Learn—Track your correct/incorrect answers and retest the ones you’ve missed.

SpellerType what you hear in this audio-powered study mode.

Test—Randomly generate tests based on your flashcard set.

Scatter—Race against the clock to drag and match terms/definitions.

Space Race—Type in the answer as terms/definitions scroll across the screen.



Audio is available in 18 languages from English and Spanish to Arabic and Turkish!

Perfect for language study, practicing pronunciation, and learning vocabulary.   ANOTHER GREAT WRITING TOOL:  — Students can copy/paste their work into the Hemingway editor and see:

  • Readability (grade level)
  • Count of paragraphs, sentences, words and characters
  • Sentences that are hard t0 read and VERY hard to read
  • Adverbs, complex words/phrases and passive voice sentences

new prairie hemmingway



Subtext website:

Subtext app:

Things to do within Subtext:

  • Find articles, PDFs and books to add to your library
  • Create a group for your class (and giving the group code to students so they can join)
  • Assign reading to your group
  • Highlight text within the reading
  • Write comments (and reply to them) within the reading
  • Ask a question to the group in the reading

Subtext resources:

Subtext: Your iApp for Digital Close Reading and Guided Reading: This GREAT, thorough guide was created by Mitch Moseby, 1st grade teacher at Noblesville Schools. His e-mail: His Twitter handle: @mitchmosbey

Techie Teachers’ Tricks on Subtext: How it can enrich instruction, tricks to use, tutorials and more!

 Subtext – A Great App for Book Discussions: An overview of what Subtext can do and how to use it in class.

Subtext in the Classroom: A YouTube video that explains how to use Subtext.

Subtext user guide: Created by Subtext. Very thorough.




  1. Kayla Richard says:

    I cannot wait to use common sense site!!! So happy to have found out about it!

  2. Melissa Mayer says:

    Great workshop! Thanks

    • pneid says:

      Melissa- Thank you for attending Digital Teaching. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you again for your support! Enjoy the remaining day of #ICEIndiana.

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