California Educator

December/January 2022

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students can exchange writing with peers, record feedback, and then insert the recording right in a Google Doc. By using the Voice Comments app in Google Docs, you can leave auditory feedback almost quicker than you can type (saving you time as a teacher). • Reflection: Have students record their own read- ing to improve their fluency. I'd have my students read a short passage on Monday while recording on the iPod, then listen to it with a fluency rubric in hand. They would then set a goal using the rubric during a peer conference, committing to practice the passage for the week with the goal in mind. On Friday, they would record their reading again, listen to it with the rubric in hand, and reflect on their growth. Best part? I could send the recording to their parents by text or email. 2. Google Slides. Google Slides ( enable educators to watch students engage in active learning while providing them with on-the-spot feedback. Teachers can use Google Slides to not only host their virtual reading lessons but also record notes and embed photos from the sessions, allowing the slide deck to also serve as a record of past learning and as a reflection tool for the reading student. Some of my current favorite digital tools for reading instruction are Epic's digital library (free for educa- tors), Flipgrid's easy-to-use short video recordings (for feedback, fluency practice, reader 's theater, etc.), and Zoom's annotation tools that allow for immediate interactions (game playing, problem-solving, interac- tive writing, etc.). Teachers can also purposefully weave in social and emotional learning, including a slide in every reading lesson that teaches students how to manage their feelings, regulate their emotions, and build life skills. SEL not only supports students but also allows them to access grade-level reading content by being pre- pared to learn and navigate challenging endeavors. See examples at 3. Pixar Shorts. Pixar Shorts ( are brief, wordless movies. They serve as perfect high-interest comprehension activities that promote a wild amount of participation. In a span of about 15 minutes, you can have students utilizing multiple comprehension strategies like making inferences and predictions, discussing story elements, thinking critically about character feelings, or looking at the cause-and-effect relationships throughout. These movies rely heavily on our ability to interpret and make sense of the visual information we are given. When we combine new information with our prior background knowledge, we are actively making inferences. This is such an important comprehen- sion skill to learn as students begin to tackle more complex texts, but it is not an easy skill to teach. As students watch these films, they are making countless inferences to interpret the visual clues provided by the director. Pixar Shorts can be used during in-person teaching as well as remote learning. You can press pause and ask students a wide vari- ety of comprehension questions. These questions may flow naturally for an experienced teacher who has used this tool before, but you can always prepare a lesson ahead of time by predetermining stop- ping points with purposeful questions. Mary Phillips and Christina Webster contributed to this report. This story originally appeared on With Google Slides, teachers can weave in social-emotional learning with a slide in every reading lesson that teaches students how to manage feelings, regulate emotions, and build life skills. Pixar Shorts serve as high-interest comprehension activities that promote great student participation. 51 D E C E M B E R 2 0 21 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 T

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