Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Beginnings of a Plan of Action ~ #CyberPD Part 2

Today is Part 2 of our #CyberPd event. We will be discussing chapters 3 and 4 of Who Owns the Learning by Alan November. I am hosting the discussion here today so if you have a blog post or ideas to share, please add them to the comment section below. Throughout the day, I will be updating this post with a list of links to the other posts that people have shared. So be sure to check back and see what others have shared. The comment sections of each blog have been filled with wonderful conversations that you won't want to miss. #CypberPD is also a great way to find others to follow on Twitter and follow more of the conversation there. You can follow me at @jillfisch. You can leave your Twitter name along with the link to your post in the comment section so others can follow you, too.

The chapters today dealt with having students act as scribes or researchers in your classroom in order to benefit the learning processes of all of the students in the classroom. The example of a scribe was having a student take notes from the lesson of the day and post them for the rest of the class (or others) to access. Having a student act as a scribe may be a bit of a stretch in the primary grades but reading the chapter did cause me to think about how I could adapt this to my situation. The chapter on students as researchers was not as much of a stretch and gave me lots to think about. So for this post, instead of focusing on my questions, I am going to focus on the beginning of my plan of action for the upcoming school year.

Beginnings of a Plan of Action
  • Students as Researchers - I love the idea of having a student sit at a computer to immediately look up answers to questions that come up during the day. I will probably modify that to have iPads placed strategically around the room so that students can grab one to fact check or look up information quickly and easily. At the beginning of the year, they will need a lot of support with this but as the year progresses, they will become more independent.
  • Teachable Moments - I don't think I will do a series of lessons on checking the reliability of a site but I will use those teachable moments that come up as the students are acting as researchers to teach some of the more basic ideas of site reliability and validity.
  • Students as Scribes - This one had me stumped for a while and I am still not sure if I will use this "chore" in first grade or not. We kind of do this now when students write posts for their Kidblogs about what we have learned in class but it is not set up in a formal way. I could also go back to the idea of having "guest posts" on our classroom blog so that it is a more systematic way for students to share and explain what we have learned in class. I stopped this once each student had their own blog but there could be value in starting it back up again. (It would certainly draw more parent attention to the classroom blog.) I am still thinking about this one.
  • Students as Tutorial Designers - I definitely plan to continue to do this with my students. It is very beneficial to other students, to parents and to me (as an informal assessment of what a child knows and can do). I am beginning to play with some apps (in addition to ShowMe) that might provide more options to the tutorial creators. I am also toying with the idea of housing them somewhere other than each child's Kidblog but I am not sure whether I will do this or not. Having them on the Kidblogs has been working very well for us so I am not sure that I want to add another "place" for the students to have to visit. As we all know, many times, less is more.
I am excited to read the last chapters and add more to this plan of action. I am sure that it will continue to change and grow over the summer as I continue to think about all of this and then it will change even more as I begin to work with my new group of students.

I am looking forward to reading your ideas from this section of the book. The conversations have been so thoughtful and productive so far.

Our #cyberpd event consists of multiple parts:

July 3rd: Chapters 1 and 2 - Hosted by Cathy Mere at Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community
Today: Chapters 3 and 4 - Hosted here at My Primary Passion

July 17th: Chapters 5 and 6 - Hosted by Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate
Date to be determined: Final chat about the book on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberpd

 You can participate in several ways:
  • You can write a blog post with your thoughts about the section we are reading for the week and add the link to your blog in the comments of the host blog.
  • You can add your thoughts directly in the comments of the host blog.
  • You can share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberpd.
  • You can come up with another way to share you ideas. We would love to see a new, creative way to join the conversation.
We hope that you will join us as we read, reflect and share our ideas about this book.

If you are interested in past #cyberpd discussions, here are some links for you:
2011 #cyberPD:  Conferring:  The Keystone of Reader's Workshop
2012 #cyberPD:  Opening Minds
2013 #cyberPD: Who Owns the Learning (posts from the event so far)

The posts for this week (these will be updated throughout the week):
 Co-host, Cathy Mere, at Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community shares her thoughts on the answer to the question of Who Owns the Learning in her post Growing the Learning #cyberpd.  The subtitle of her blog gives us a clue about her thinking.

At The "Rudd"er, Amy Rudd, shows us what it looks like to be a connected learner. She includes lots of links and makes many outside connections to our reading. Stop by and take a look at her post,  Further Down the Trail Cyber PD #2.

Katherine Sokolowski, at Read, Write, Reflect  joins the conversation this week and shares her thoughts on how she plans to make some changes in her classroom this fall. See her ideas in her post, Who Owns the Learning #CyberPD.

Over at Catching Readers Before They Fall, Pat Johnson, shares how her thinking has changed as a result of reading the blog posts shared in last week's #cyberpd event. Her thoughts can be found in her post,  Continuing the conversation about Who Owns the Learning?

Like Amy Rudd, Tony Keefer also synthesized his learning by combining ideas from two sources (Energize and Who Owns the Learning) to create some great ideas to try with his students. You can see his thinking in his post, #cyberpd: Who Owns the Learning (Part 2) on his blog, atychiphobia 2.0.

Maria Caplin, at Teaching in the 21st Century, shares her thoughts about "learning (that) happens anytime, anywhere" - something that we, as adults, are comfortable with, in her post, Who Owns the Learning? Ch. 3-4 #CyberPD.

In her post, #CyberPD--Who Owns the Learning, Ch. 3-4, Mary Lee, shares a couple of her "flops" when trying out new ideas involving technology in her class along with her ideas for how to make these "flops" better next year. Check out her post on the blog, A Year of Reading.

LitProfSuz reminds us that while the actual tasks we ask students to do may not be a radical change, the shift of control over the learning environment is. Check out her post, Shift of Control, on her blog, In the Heart of a Teacher is a Student.

On her blog, Ms. Victor Reads, Erika Victor, shares how she decided to join the #cyberpd discussion after reading Mary Lee's first blog post about it - the power of #cyberpd is in the connections and discussions. Check out her post, Cyber PD Chapters 3 and 4.

Stop by co-host, Laura Komos' blog, Ruminate and Invigorate, for a nice chat about today's reading. While I have never met Laura in person, I love "hearing" her written voice ooze throughout her post. You will feel like she is sitting right there with you as you read her post, Who Owns the Learning? #cyberPD Part 2.

Linda Dilger joins the conversation today by sharing some of the challenges she will face as she begins to try new things this fall. She has a great attitude about it all as you can see in her post, Who Owns the Learning? by Alan November on her blog, Room 5.

On her blog, Teacher Dance, Linda Baie, shares her thoughts about how to help students take on the roles of scribe and researcher at her school. See her thoughts on the post, Exciting Chapters in Cyber PD.

Rose Cappelli, pulls some wonderful quotes from this week's reading to use a "jumping off point" for her thinking. In her post, Continuing the Journey, on her blog, Mentor Texts with Lynne and Rose, you will see how she uses these quotes to extend her thinking.

Over at Literacy Learning Zone, Michelle Nero, synthesizes her individual thinking along with many of her online resources and mentors. Read her post, #cyberPD Part 2: Who Owns the Learning, to see an example of a "21st century learning specialist" in action.

Anna Sexton, at Technology Tips, reminds us to "let go of the control" and move "beyond just grading the work".  You can read more in her post, Who Owns the Learning Book Study #2.

Taking a beach break to share her thoughts is Barb Keister, at Reading Teachers/ Teachers Reading. Barb shares her experiences with having a teacher scribe during a recent professional development opportunity. Check out what she noticed in her post, CyberPD Week 2 - Who Owns the Learning.

Jamie Riley shares her ideas for how to incorporate critical research skills into the library/media center. Check out her post, #cyberpd-Who Owns the Learning, Ch 3-4 on her blog, Rethinking Media Centers.

On her blog, Wondering Through 2012 and Beyond, Barbara Phillips, makes the connection between wondering and owning the learning. I wonder if you will see the connection, too, when you read her post, Who Owns the Learning? #CyberPD - Part Two.

Rola Tibshirani, at Learning in Progress, shares how she shifts control of the learning to her upper elementary French Immersion students. Take a look at her post, Who Owns the Learning Chapters 3 & 4 to learn more.

Julie Balen is playing with new tech tools and sharing her thoughts about them in her post, #Cyberpd 2013: Chapter 3. Be sure to visit her blog, Write at the Edge, to see how she is trying out her new learning.

Over at Primary Perspective, Deb Frazier, shares her thinking about having students act as scribes in her first grade classroom.  She shares how her thinking shifted as she read and how she has a new perspective on the idea now.  Stop by and check it out.

Lesa Haney shares her learning and a collection of online resources in an online flyer that she created at, called Who Owns the Learning.  Another great tool to take a look at and great ideas of resources to use for each learning role .


  1. Hi Jill,
    Thanks for hosting this event!
    Here is my post for this round of discussion:
    My twitter handle: @aruddteacher100

    To your post:
    I love how you are already organizing your plan of action! I am also happy that you shared the idea of guest blogger on the class blog to fulfill the role of scribe. There are some ideas I connected with in my post via Darren Kuropatwa at Wesley Fryer's website about the role of student scribe...hope you check this out!
    Thanks again Jill!

    1. Amy,

      Thanks for sharing the link to Wesley Fryer's website. It has so many resources and ideas.


  2. Hi Jill!

    I'm jumping into the discussion this week - it was so interesting last week I had to go buy the book.
    My blog is here:
    My twitter id is: @katsok

    Regarding your post - I love how you are already thinking in terms of how this book can work for you. My brain is whirling right now, but I feel good as I process what will work for my students. Look forward to seeing your thinking at the end of the book!

    1. Katherine,

      My brain is whirling, too. So much to learn and process.


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks Jill for giving us an authentic primary teacher response to the book. I love how you are reading it through the eyes of your own classroom. Your students are lucky to have such a reflective teacher. My comments are posted at

  5. Jill,
    I like how you are framing your action plan, good stuff for me to think about more.
    Here is the link to my post

  6. Thanks Jill for hosting this week. It has been so interesting reading the posts but the comments are where I have learned so much about putting the ideas into practice. I am excited about "breaking down the walls." Here is my link:

    Your title today is perfect! It is so exciting to see how you will be extending the book into your classroom. Already have plans congrats!

    1. Maria,

      I agree - reading all of the posts and comments are the best part of participating in #cyberpd.

  7. Thanks for hosting, Jill! Here is my post for chapters 3-4:

    I'll be back to read your post and the others in the roundup (plus some from last week that I missed) later today!

    1. Wow! A plan of action. I'll try for that next week! :-)

      I love watching you primary folks process the Digital Farm and tweak it to fit your kiddoes!

    2. Mary Lee,

      I love watching you upper elementary folks - that way I know what students will be able to do in the future. It is very inspiring.

  8. Thank you again for a wonderful summer discussion. My post for chapters 3-4 are here:

    Looking forward to reading everyone's!

  9. I love learning with all of you! I love your action plan, Jill.
    Here you can find my brand new blog with my second public post ever-
    Thanks for leading this!

  10. As I was reading, I was also thinking about what the jobs would look like in the primary classroom. You have a great start on an action plan to make it happen!

    Thanks for hosting this week, Jill! Here's my link...

    1. Laura,

      It will be nice to watch you move from primary to upper and have you be able to wear both hats in our future discussions.


  11. Not at all sure if I've got this, but...I think my comments for this week's reading are here:

    Thanks everyone for sharing your thinking!

    1. Linda D.,

      You've got it. Thanks for joining us!

  12. Since I work with all ages at my school, but my background is middle school ages, I loved hearing all that you are doing and plan for the future in your primary classroom. It's great to hear that each student has their own blog! I wonder if you've noticed good improvement in writing and reading abilities since you started? Here's my link, about adapting the ideas in chapters 3 & 4 to the individual learning processes at my school. Thanks for hosting and sharing!

    1. Linda,

      I have been able to watch the growth in reading and writing in the students blogs - especially in the length of the comments that they leave for each other. The best place to see growth is in the student tutorials on ShowMe. The kids love to go back and listen to how they thought through things at the beginning of the year and compare it to the end of the year.


    2. Thanks for the response, Jill. I am so interested in the ShowMe tutorials. Will learn more & then share with colleagues.

  13. Hi Jill-
    Thanks for hosting! Here is the link to my comments for this week:


  14. Hi Jill,

    Whew - lots of thinking and learning happening here! Can't wait to read through all the posts this week. Here is my voice:

    1. Regarding your plan of action: Jill, I love your outlook when adapting ideas to the primary grades. I questioned how much of this could be done with our little ones, but you have no fear! I was most concerned about the students as researchers, but you have put it into perspective: Allow the students to be curious and research and then in those teachable moments talk about validity. I also love your idea of the "guest posts" to share your students' learning! Yes, yes, yes, continue on with it. I'm wondering if you could involve parents and the community to write guest posts too - more experts to tap into and expand the learning!

      Thanks for sharing your ideas, Jill!

    2. Michelle,

      I must admit that I do have some fear - not really about trying new things but just about trying to figure what to try or how to spend our time. I always worry about spending our time in the best way possible since it always feels like we have so little of it.


  15. I am enjoying all the comments and of course the great read! I look forward to continuing the journey. @ksamf01 Anna Sexton

  16. Jill,
    I was also trying to wrap my head around how to use a student scribe in a primary classroom. While we don't do a lot of note-taking, there may be opportunities for a scribe to captures our ideas or jot down most important notes. Need to think on this some more this summer! Also loved your idea of IPads around the room for spontaneous research - great idea!

    Here are my initial thoughts on today's chapters:

    Thanks for hosting today!

    1. Barb,

      I am sure that we will all continue to mull all of this over for a long time. So much to think about.


  17. HI Jill,
    I, too, was thinking about teaching my youngest students when I read these chapters. I enjoyed reading your plan of action for the year. I liked your idea of guest posts on the class blog. I'm thinking of doing the same kind of thing with a library Twitter account. Here is the link to my post for this week:
    Thanks so much!
    Jamie @jamieleighriley

    1. Jamie,

      A library Twitter account is a great idea. I am toying with the idea of creating a class Twitter account. Right now I am just mulling over the purpose of having one and how we would use it differently than a class blog or individual Kidblogs. Maybe it doesn't have to be a big purpose -- maybe students can use it to tweet out their tutorials, blog posts and questions. Hmm... I feel my next blog post coming on already. :)


  18. Jill,
    You and I wrestled with many of the same ideas in these two chapters. Like you, I think using our class website for students to share their learning would be a great way to attract parents. I too felt the connection between the researcher and wonder. I have tried to rethink where to house student digital work, and have thought often about the possibilities of Weebly. You are right that Kidblog works well for us. Maybe I should just start there.

    Thanks for hosting.


    1. Cathy,

      I am still thinking about the best ways to use each tool - class blog, Kidblog, Twitter, etc. and how to avoid oversharing with our audience. I am trying to decide if we should have different audiences for different purposes. I do, as an adult. Hmm...Writing these comments is creating the start of my next blog post. :)

  19. Thank you for hosting #cyberPD this week, Jill. I appreciate all of the ideas you shared and how you will incorporate them into your classroom.

    Here is my post

  20. I apologize for being a day late. I am just coming back from a wonderful week spent with family, but wanted to share what I have been working on. As I have been reading Chapters 3 and 4, I have been thinking about how I might share this information with the teachers I work with. I wanted to compile some resources, but didn't want to overwhelm my colleagues. I have started a board that I plan to share with teachers after Alan November visits our district in the fall. It is still very much a work in progress but I would love your feedback.

  21. Lesa,

    Thanks for sharing another great tool with us! Another great idea!


  22. Hi Jill! You are following the blog for MHE's Primary Innovation Studio, and through a mistake that I made, the one you are on is incorrect. Please follow Thank you for your support, i am enjoying your blog as well! Mary Lisa Blevins

  23. Jill,
    Thank you for hosting the event. I'm so sorry I've been so slow stopping by to comment. (Sitting in a coffee shop right now for internet so I can get caught up.) I always enjoy your thoughts on how new ideas will work in your primary classroom. I think you make an excellent point about "teachable moments." If we are aware of the parts that might be challenging, if we listen for new windows of understanding, if we collaborate as a learning community, we can catch those powerful teachable moments that move our learning community forward in giant steps.

    I wasn't sure what I thought about the book being so focused on jobs, but if I look beyond that at the bigger message I see ways I can work to help build a community in which we not only own our own learning, but we also have ownership in supporting the learning of others. I see many of these roles as being important parts of learning within our community --- not necessarily jobs, but things we can consider to share our learning with others.

    Much to ponder,