Well, I think we all know by now that technology can either be a blessing or....a major pain! Unfortunately this week I have experienced the latter, my internet connection failed me most of the week and my subscriber was just able to fix it this afternoon! Apparently I need some experience on working ON technology, not just teaching with it :)
One of my favorite tools for integrating technology and literacy is the website Read Write Think. This website allows classroom teachers to utilize pre-made lesson plans and online interactives to teach literacy using a variety of higher level skills including: collaboration, phonics, reading, writing, inquiry & research, digital literacy, and comprehension. The site offers lessons for students K-12 and correlate with standards set for by the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) and the IRA (International Reading Association). The lesson plans are high quality and offer the latest in research and best practices for students in online literacy activities and lessons.
I use Read Write Think on a regular basis in my classroom. One of my students favorite activities is the animal research interactive, where they research an animal, complete the interactive organizer, then complete an powerpoint presentation for the class. I also utilize the comic strip creator and have the students create their own comic strips using new vocabulary words that we are learning for the week. Another great interactive is the Friendly Letter Generator, in 3rd grade we teach letter writing skills, so this is a huge motivator for my students.
There are so many advantages to using Read Write Think, but I think the biggest is the interactive nature of the activities. Students are always eager and motivated to complete their activity and often I find them checking out all of the other activities and wanting to do more. I like how the activities increase in difficulty so that there is something to offer every student depending on their needs. The only drawback that I have found is that students cannot save their work. Sometimes, it is difficult for my 3rd graders to finish a project on here from start to end before the end of our time. So if you plan on using the site keep an open time frame so students do not have to start from scratch the next day!