Friday, July 17, 2015

Digital Reading: Authenticity, Intention, & Connectedness (#cyberPD week 2)

"The work of young readers must be based on the things 'real readers' do (p.26)."            ------Sibberson & Bass 
This is our second week for #cyberPD.  I am co-hosting with Laura Komos and Michelle Nero.  Educators from a variety of places are reading and talking virtually about Digital Reading: What's Essential by Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass.  This second week our focus is on chapters 3-5  If you'd like to join us stop by our #cyberPD Google Community.  

To Teach Readers:  Read
It's hard to pull apart authenticity, intention, and connectedness in our workshop.  It seems for one of these characteristics to be present, we really must have the others.  As I've reflected on the chapters of authenticity, intention and connectedness, I've been thinking about the way this event, #cyberPD, allows us to work in many of these ways.  This event has been taking place each July since 2011.  It's difficult to articulate the way my learning is deepened because of the resources we collect, the responding we do to one another, and the way we interact.  Other readers notice things I didn't always notice.  Other readers see things in ways I haven't always considered.  The #cyberPD event challenges us to work much as we would want our readers to work in our classroom:

  • authenticity:  Participants chose to join this book talk and to learn with the community.  The depth of our participation is really up to us.  The way we take in information, choose to respond, and interact is also up to us.  We have choice.   
  • intention:  Participants have been intentional about their purpose for reading.  Each of us know our role as educators and the way these new ideas will fit into our worlds.  Many of us have added additional resources we have discovered to support the key ideas as we intentionally dig deeper around the topic.  Adding the Google Community has opened up new possibilities for response in a variety of formats.  
  • connectedness:  I get more out of #cyberPD book talks than books I read independently.  The connectedness is what makes this experience powerful.  The community conversation deepens my understanding and makes me consider ideas from new perspectives.  As part of a group I feel I know more.  Everyone's expertise shapes my thinking and builds my understanding.  
Moving Toward Digital Workshops
Bill and Franki remind us, "Being readers ourselves is the best tool we have to keep our classroom workshops authentic (p. 30)."  When I think about #cyberPD I always consider what this means for students.  What opportunities do I have as a digital reader that students should also have as they build their reading lives?  Digital tools offer new possibilities to young literacy learners.  I've found in my classroom there is much more interaction with our reading.  I remember the days of really trying to get students to do more with their thinking before, during, and after their reading.  Now it seems that extending our thinking beyond text is more natural with all the of the digital tools available to respond and connect with others.  

The very first year of #cyberPD we read Patrick Allen's, Conferring:  The Keystone of Reader's Workshop.  Patrick's quote still rings in my ears, "If someone walked into our classroom, who would he or she say owned it?"  It seems that student ownership is key to a strong reading workshop where students seamlessly move between print and digital texts.  If students truly own their learning, opportunities will continually grow around digital reading, learning, and connecting.  Would someone walking into our classroom see all students engaged in learning?  Would they see students working on a variety of literacy opportunities?  Would they see different texts out around the room?  Would they see students talking purposefully together?  Would they see readers responding in a variety of ways?  Would they see students experiencing these same opportunities we've had as we've worked together in our #cyberPD group?  

Created by Cathy Mere.   Reflections of Digital Reading:  What's Essential by Bill Bass & Franki Sibberson.
I've really been wanting to learn to use sketch noting as a way to respond.  I had told myself I would do each response in this event in a sketch note.  However, it has been much harder than I imagined.  To get this one to look at all like I had hoped I had to move between three different apps:  Paper 53Inflow and Phonto.  Anyone have a sketch note app they love?

Franki and Bill remind us, "Authenticity is evident when I look around the room and see kids using various tools that meet their needs at the moment (p. 26)."  Keeping in mind the importance of time, choice, and response in our workshops will support opportunities for students to work with authenticity, intention, and connectedness.  There's an interplay between our routines, structures, resources, use of digital tools in our lessons, and the way students talk in our workshops that create opportunities for new experiences.  As Franki and Bill remind us, digital tools expand our options and open our classrooms to new possibilities for young literacy learners.

Previous Posts That Illustrate Essential Components



More #cyberPD Information
Please stop by the Google Community to read reflections of participants and find important links.  If you'd like to join, it's never too late:
  • Week of July 6th:  Read Chapter 1 - 2, digital response by 7/9
  • Week of July 13th:  Read Chapters 3-5, digital response by 7/16
  • Week of July 23rd:  Read Chapters 6 - 7, digital response by 7/23 
  • Final Twitter Chat with authors Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass:  Tuesday, July 28th at 8 p.m. EST
***Educators in Hilliard City Schools (please read here) will be discussing the assigned chapters each week on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberPD.  These chats will take place each Thursday at 10 a.m. EST.  If you do not teach in the district, you are still welcome to join these weekly conversations. 


  1. Cathy, I love that you're trying a new way to respond! I guess like they say in the book, not one way only works. I'm going to give corkulous a try this week. Someday we need to talk digital responses with 1st and 2nd graders!

  2. Hi Cathy,

    I love the way you organized your past posts into the three big topics of the text! This was such a great idea and gave me even more to think about by vising them.

    I love your attempt at sketch noting. This would be very new to me as well and I admire your tenacity at sticking with it, even though you have to hope between three apps! I hope to explore more and will let you know what applications I find!


  3. I wasn't as articulate, Cathy, but I too believe it was hard to separate the three. They should be intertwined as we plan, one cannot work without including the other. Like Stephanie, I like the way you organized with your visual notes, and I appreciate your personal connections to previous posts. Patrick Ness' book and advice is one I continued to recommend to my colleagues, and of course the books by Peter Johnston and Donalyn Miller. Thanks for your response.

  4. Agreed - the three areas of focus are connected, and all three are equally important. I love the way you sketched your thoughts visually - putting digital tools to use in such a meaningful way.

  5. Good morning Cathy! I love how you applied Franki and Bill's three learning tenets-- authenticity, intentionality, and connectedness-- to our PD community. I agree with you, I learn way more when I read a book with others. I also think it's interesting to think about the difference between talking and writing about a book. I loved our Twitter Chat last week and have been thinking about those ideas ever since. That authentic connectedness (yeah, they really do intertwine) was so rich! I went out that afternoon and bought an iPhone!

    If you find an app that lets you sketch and take notes, please let us know. I am a visual learner and often draw pictures, charts, etc. in my notes and annotations. I show that to kids and lots of them latch onto it too. This week I'm going to try Padlet for my notetaking device! And maybe I will figure out Voxer!

    Thanks again for your leadership in organizing Cyber PD!

  6. You are completely right about #cyberPD being authentic, intentional and an integral part of being connected. #CyberPD makes it possible for us to learn in new and exciting ways. #CyberPD stretches us to see how to create new learning experiences in classrooms.