I spent  little bit of time tonight playing with Jogtheweb.  Jogtheweb allows you to create tracks, or trails, on the internet.  Tracks lead readers from one sight to the next.  You can set up any type of track you can imagine and I can see this being a great resource for research or web quests.


I set up my first track tonight.  My topic?  Author blogs and websites, of course.  I chose 11 websites/blogs run by middle grade authors and set them up in alphabetical order.  I then posted the track to my class blog, where I hope the kids will take a few minutes to get exposed to the “real” writers out there.  I think it is so important for them to see that writers struggle with writing, post funny pictures, and have lives outside of writing.  Hopefully it inspires them that they can also be “real writers”.  And even better?  It might inspire them to pick up a book that author wrote or recommended!

My Author Track can be found here.

Wordle in the Classrom

Today I used Wordle in the classroom for the first time.  I loved it!  More importantly, the kids loved it!

We have been working on thinking about our reading in reading workshop and today’s mini-lesson was about using our thinking to write a paragraph explaining our thoughts.  We were reading Sandra Cisneros’ “Eleven” (one of my personal favorites) and the kids were going to jot their thoughts while we read.

 However, I decided to Wordle the story first and presented it my class under the document camera.  I explained how Wordle worked and then we talked about the words that seemed most prominent.  My students then used that thinking to make some predictions about the plot of the story and the direction it would take.  It prompted some really great ideas and the visual really kept the kids interested.  I can definitely foresee using this a lot this year!