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Supporting Literacy in Lower Elementary Classrooms*
 
Course Description
    

In this workshop, participants will explore how new technologies can support emerging literacy development in kindergarten through second grade. Participants will investigate tools that can help build phonemic awareness and word recognition. Participants will also explore strategies for integrating reading and writing with meaningful project-based activities, and learn about software tools for publishing student work and creating class books. Participants will develop ideas for a technology-enhanced lesson plan, and collect a number of resources for immediate classroom use.

*This course is appropriate for teachers of  who are currently teaching grades K-3 or have taught grades k-3 previously.

 
Course Syllabus
    

Supporting Literacy Development in Lower Elementary Classrooms

Workshop Overview

In this workshop, participants will explore how new technologies can support emerging literacy development in kindergarten through second grade. Participants will investigate tools that can help build phonemic awareness and word recognition. Participants will also explore strategies for integrating reading and writing with meaningful project-based activities, and learn about software tools for publishing student work and creating class books. Participants will develop ideas for a technology-enhanced lesson plan, and collect a number of resources for immediate classroom use.

Prerequisites

This is an introductory course for teachers, technology specialists, curriculum specialists, professional development specialists, or other school personnel.  Participants are expected to have regular access to computers, and proficiency with email and current web browsers.

Goals

This workshop will enable participants to:

  • Develop a technology-enhanced lesson plan that addresses national and local curriculum standards;

  • Learn how technology can support emergent, beginning, and transition readers;

  • Learn how technology can support the writing process;

  • Develop a personal collection of web-based resources for curricular use; and

  • Develop strategies for the ongoing assessment of students’ literacy development.

Assessment and Workshop Requirements

This workshop is divided into six one-week sessions, each of which includes readings, an activity, and an online discussion among workshop participants. The time for completing each session is estimated to be between four and five hours. Participants are expected to be engaged in course activities for approximately 30 hours during this workshop.

Participants will be assessed on their completion of a Final Project and their participation in the workshop’s online discussion forum.

Final Project

As a final product, participants will develop a sample technology-enhanced lesson plan for their classroom using the Template for Planning a Technology-Enhanced Lesson.

Discussion Participation

Participants will be evaluated on the frequency and quality of their discussion board participation.  Participants are required to post a minimum of two substantial postings each session, including one that begins a new thread and one that responds to an existing thread.  Postings that begin new threads will be reviewed based on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited, and overall quality.  Postings that respond to other participants will be evaluated on relevance, degree to which they extend the discussion, and tone.

Session Overviews

Session One: Supporting Literacy

In this session, participants will explore several web-based resources focused on literacy. As an activity for this session, participants will explore and evaluate web sites and think about what types of information and resources they can incorporate into their classroom practices.  They will keep track of the resources they explore and they will critically evaluate one of the websites using an evaluation guide provided in the session.

Session Two: Using the Internet to Build Emergent Reading Skills

In this session, participants will learn about some ways that teachers can use the internet to help emergent readers and writers, and they will explore several web sites with fun activities to build phonemic awareness and word recognition skills. Participants will explore web sites that contain free, interactive phonemic awareness activities that teachers can use in the classroom. They will explore these sites and think about how they could use them to help students build their phonemic awareness.

Session Three: Building the Literacy Skills of All Learners with Software and Assistive Technologies

In this session, participants will explore some assistive technologies and software programs that can help teachers address the unique needs of every student. Most of these programs were designed to help students with disabilities but these technologies can be used to build the literacy skills of all emergent readers and writers. As an activity for this session, participants will visit links from The Assistive Technology Training Online Project (ATTO), which provides information on AT applications that help students with disabilities learn in elementary classrooms. Many of these technologies would benefit beginning readers and writers as well as students with disabilities. Using the menu on the left-hand side of the page, participants will look through some of the various technologies designed to help build literacy skills. Then they will reflect upon how they might be able to use these technologies with students in their schools or districts.

Session Four: Planning for Technology Integration in Your Literacy Program

In this session, participants will learn about how they can use technology to enhance teaching and learning in their literacy curriculum. They will also begin bouncing ideas off each other to begin planning their own technology-enhanced lessons. As an activity for this session, participants will examine a sample lesson plan that takes advantage of available technologies and they will begin to plan their own technology-enhanced lesson.

Session Five: Publishing Student Work

In this session, participants will explore online venues for publishing student work, and discuss strategies for sharing students’ work with peers, families, and local or Internet communities. As an activity for this session, participants will read step 6 of the Sample Lesson Plan and write down publishing ideas on their Template for Planning a Technology-Enhanced Project. Finally, participants will explore some web sites where students can publish their work.

Session Six: Assessment Strategies

In this session, participants will discuss assessment strategies for technology-enhanced literacy projects. Participants will also complete drafts of our lesson plans and share them with other participants for feedback. Participants will complete a rough draft of their lesson plan and post it in the online discussion area. They will also review and comment on the ideas presented by at least one of their fellow participants in the course. Participants will also share the assessment strategies they plan to use for the technology-enhanced literacy lesson that they developed in this workshop.