Workshops‎ > ‎Workshop Archive‎ > ‎

Reading, Writing & Research

 21st century technology can truly transform the way we acquire and create new information.   Spend some quality time with a few of the 21st century tools your students can use  to read, write, and research.  Possible topics include Diigo, online literature circles, student blogging, creating and using a Wikispace, Using World Book/Discovery Streaming for Research, Using Google Apps and Google Groups in your classroom, web-based alternatives to using 3x5 research notecards, etc.  Please focus on one or two of these topics - all of this would be a lot in one day!

Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. ~via

Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
a. plan strategies to guide inquiry.
b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
d. process data and report results.

World Book

World Book offers engaging reference resources for students reading below grade level because of language or learning difficulties, with content and tools specifically developed for these students.

The collection includes reference articles, text-to-speech capabilities, learning and life skills activities, research tools, multimedia, and interactive video to draw students into curriculum-related topics and subjects relevant to older students.

Students will benefit from access to this common reference tool and teachers can feel confident that students will find accurate and appropriate information when using World Book Online. Students also receive home access to World Book Online, which is truly awesome.  Home access is simple to use by going to and login using swsd as the username and mustangs as the password.
Add a search widget to your site:
<script type="text/javascript" src="" charset="utf-8"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">worldbook_widget("AD","O1709")</script>

On the second line you can change the widget:
AD - Advanced
ST - Student
KI - Kids
  • My Research
  • Read Aloud
  • Comparisons
  • Atlas
  • Discover


Discovery Streaming

Teachers use Discovery Streaming to provide access to video streaming content for learning purposes. From the student center, students are able to access Assignments, Quizzes and Writing Prompts that the teacher has created for the class.  

Some especially helpful videos are Math Overview & Math Explanation.  Discovery Streaming also offers audio files, pictures, and games in addition to videos.

Educational Video Library

This is the site we use to share YouTube videos with our students.   Here's how:

  1. Find the video on YouTube.  Copy the URL
  2. Go to Ed Video Library - its posted on the bottom of each SWSD school webpage (
  3. Log in using your School Username/Password
  4. Complete the form to submit your video for approval.  Email Shari Dusman, Bryan Tayman or Michelle Krill so that we can approve it ASAP.

Once your video is approved, students will be able to view the video within the Ed Video Library site.  

NOTE:  The approved videos only work within the Ed Video Library.  Students will still not be able to view "embedded" YouTube videos on a wikispace.  

NOTE 2:  If you want a student to watch a YouTube video for a project - your teacher login will override the filter.

Sharing Student Made Videos

We suggest the use of SchoolTube. Here is the link:
Here is why we like it:

  • Students have access to the site, unlike YouTube
  • You can moderate what gets posted to your class "channel"
  • The comments for each video are moderated
  • You can rate videos.

Search Skills

Quick Lesson Idea for Google Research:
  1. Allow students to pick a topic related to class
  2. Open Word Doc/Google Doc - put name and topic on top.  Add a horizontal line.
  3. Use Google to find at least 3,4,5, etc. number of webpages on that topic.  They can copy and paste only 1 (or 2) paragraphs from each site
  4. They must paste link of source for each paragraph
  5. Use highlighter or text color to highlight important facts/details in paragraphs
  6. Add another horizontal line
  7. Students must summarize topic in their own words at bottom

Copyright (esp. Citing Sources)

Site used at HS for Bibliographies:

Primary Resources

Source for Primary Resources:  Library of Congress |  Teaching with Primary Resources
TIP:  Search using Google and!


Capturing reading material using RSS is a great way to use netbooks. Using your existing South Western wikispace, you can feed up-to-date reading material to students for silent reading. In addition, the wikispace discussion tab (How?) or a google form can be used to capture responses to reading.

What is RSS?

RSS Feed Options

Small Group - Favorite Sites

A hotlist of sites for students to use for different topics/subject areas can be very useful. Teachers can use their webpage or South Western wikispace to compile favorite sites that are then easily accessible by students. It is very helpful to include some text so students know what to do when visiting an external site.


Save bookmarks, annotate websites and collaborate with others using Diigo. Teachers can obtain an educator account to create student accounts within a group. Students can store weblinks, image captures, and notes in the Diigo account. In addition, students are able to highlight webpages and leave sticky notes on a webpage for later reference.
Here is an example Diigo Research project from EHMIS:

Diigo V5: Collect and Highlight, Then Remember! from diigobuzz on Vimeo.


Lit Circles

A literature circle is a students' equivalent in the classroom of an adult book club. The aim is to encourage student-choice and a love of reading in young people. The true intent of Literature Circles is "to allow students to practice and develop the skills and strategies of good readers" (DaLie, 2001). ~Wikipedia

The traditional literature circle model is easily adapted for use in an online environment. Students can maintain roles and responsibilities and use the online site for discussion and notetaking. This opens the activity up for extended interaction time, as well as archiving for later retrieval. The teacher can participate or not participate and groups can cross post when that is desired. A variety of online options exist to host literature circles.

  • Everyone has a job
  • Roles, Responsibilities, and Group Dynamics should be clearly defined
Site Options



A blog is a site with a single owner, but can also have multiple contributors. South Western has installed Wordpress (blogging software) in an internal software to facilitate the creation and use of blogs for writing and reflection. A blog consists of posts made by the owner/contributors and visitors to the blog can leave comments. Post can be assigned categories (folders) and/or tags (keywords) for easier sorting and organizing. 

Here are some examples from EHMIS students!


Wikis are collaborative online environments in which users can publish writing as well as add elements to their pages such as images, videos, slide shows, polls, audio, and thousands of other widgets available online. In addition to merely collaborating on publishing documents, users can discuss the pages on the discussion tab forums. Also, all past edits can be tracked and users can revert back to past edits. Within a teacher wiki, students can be given student pages where they can compile individual and/or group research.

South Western has a subscription to private label wikispaces, which means every teacher has a wiki and creating new wikis are as easy as emailing Shari Dusman. The wiki home page is Learn about using wikis here.

Here is an example of a book club wikispace from EHMIS:


"Our goal at Evernote is to give everyone the ability to easily capture any moment, idea, inspiration, or experience whenever they want using whichever device or platform they find most convenient, and then to make all of that information easy to find.

And we’ve done just that. From creating text and ink notes, to snapshots of whiteboards and wine labels, to clips of webpages, Evernote users can capture anything from their real and digital lives and find it all anytime."


Google - Quick Research Idea

  1. Have students pick a topic


Build a classroom community with Edmodo.
  • Edmodo is a social learning network for teachers, students, schools and districts.
  • Edmodo provides free classroom communication for teachers, students and administrators on a secure social network.
  • Edmodo provides teachers and students with a secure and easy way to post classroom materials, share links and videos, and access homework, grades and school notices.
  • Edmodo stores and shares all forms of digital content – blogs, links, pictures, video, documents, presentations, and more.
  • Edmodo is accessible online or using any mobile device, including Android and iPhones.
  • Edmodo has special institutional features for schools and districts that can be accessed for free by administrators.  South Western Edmodo:



Bibliography Tools in new Office 2010!

And track changes /reviews!