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Edublogs Awards -- Supporting AJUSD

The nominations process has closed, and we are excited to see a few of our AJUSD blogs represented on the Edublogs Awards shortlist.

Please support our AJUSD blogging community. You can vote once a day, and if you are in our AJUSD district, please vote from your home computer (our school computers will have the same IP address, so it will only get one count a day). The voting will end on December 14th.

Here's who you can support in our AJUSD blogging community:
Here's how you vote:

To vote, click on this link, then use the drop down menu to choose the category, then select who you are voting for. You'll need to go back through the process to vote for the next category.

Final remarks

All of our blogs are new, so we are honored to be represented amongst other amazing educators and learners.
  • How do educational awards raise awareness for 21st century learning?
  • How can you support educators and learners who inspire you?
  • How can you thank Edublogs for raising awareness for how blogging and web 2.0 tools/networks can promote learning?

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Close Read Complex Text, and Annotate with Tech--Part 1

Students need to be taught how to read complex texts. One of the strategies for learning how is close reading. It slows the reader down to notice and ponder more. It also connects meaning and builds systems of thought.

Text complexity with close reading

Complex text requires a close reading. So what makes a text complex? There are three "ingredients" to text complexity:


It's important to understand text complexity to build students' literacy skills. As they become more skilled, they will read more complex text on their own.

Introduction to close reading

Here's an overview of close reading:




What does close reading look like in the classroom?

Here are some examples of close reading at different grade levels and content areas (or components of it such as annotation):
9th-10th grade -- Thinking Notes: A Strategy to Encourage Close Reading by the Teaching Channel 10th grade, Close Reading with nonfiction6th grade, Teaching Annotation4th grade, Close Reading3rd grade l…

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Over the past year, our teachers periodically collect data with their teams on the types of questions/tasks they ask students. One teacher records teacher questions and the other records student responses on a shared Google Doc; then teams sort through their own data, plotting teacher questions by Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, and student responses to those questions/tasks with Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK). The 2012-2013 data showed we were not very different from other districts; therefore, our teamsset their own goals for higher-order thinking and depth of knowledge.

The data so far for the 2013-2014 school year shows questions asked of students are up and down the Bloom's ladder, equally distributed (with a little less in the c…

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Close reading is a strategy for reading complex text. In Part 1, the focus is how to do a close reading. The focus in Part 2 is how to annotate with iPads. The focal points of this post are the teacher steps in close reading; how to create text dependent questions for informational text in 6th-12th grades; annotating in Diigo; and creating writing activities to go with close reading.
Below are the teacher's steps for creating a close reading lesson. However, the student steps are in the poster shown on the right:

Teacher Step 1: Choose the text

Choose a short and difficult text to do a close reading on. It should be at the frustration reading level.

Some examples to choose from for informational text are short speeches (or excerpts from a speech); research; paragraphs or chapters from biographies, memoirs, or historical accounts to name a few.

Teacher Step 2: Planning

Plan and do what you expect your students to do.
Decide if they will annotate on a paper copy, with sticky notes, o…