Digital Corkboard: A Game-Changer for Readers

IMG_4239We all love it when our students use post-its as they read. It is a powerful way for readers to make connections about the characters or topics. We also depend on it to determine which reading skills our students are using, confusing, or missing. But, getting the kids to keep up with their post-its is always a challenge. Additionally, when post-its are tucked away throughout a book, students don’t always notice patterns, overarching themes, or character development. Don’t get me wrong. I use post-its so much we run out of them around March. However, using what I call “digital corkboards” has been a game-changer for my readers.

I wrote a post a few months back about using Popplet to stop and jot when reading. Since then, Popplet has crashed a lot so my students and I discovered other digital corkboards that serve the same purpose with different features. I make it a point for them to choose the app they prefer. Of all the apps though, Corkulous is our favorite BY FAR.

Corkulous has a large selection of tools such as multi-colored stickies, index cards, arrows, and checklist tabs. You can view the entire board or zoom in to parts of the board. You can even create a corkboard inside another corkboard. Imagine all the ways your students can express themselves as readers now! Not only that, all the books read for the year could be organized together by author, genre, or series.

I have never seen such active readers before than in my current reading workshop. When they finish a book, seeing their Corkulous board is like reliving a book through the eyes of that child. I cannot say enough about Corkulous and this idea of digital corkboards in place of stickies. The best way to explain how these digital corkboards are being used is to show you. Click on the circles to enlarge each photo. As you look through these images, see if you can find where my students have:

  • organized post-its by chapters
  • organized ideas by characters
  • imported sketches from the Drawing Pad app
  • imported a picture of an “old-fashioned” sticky note (written during a conference)
  • collected unknown words
  • annotated a poem and imported it from Explain Everything or Skitch
  • jotted a main idea with supporting details
  • made a board with their Kindergarten book buddies!!

…and much more!

If you only have 1 or 2 iPads, I can see digital corkboards being used for your interactive read-alouds. Or, maybe book clubs use it when they meet (just stagger the meeting times). I sure hope you give this a shot! I think you’ll be amazed. If you’re interested in trying other digital corkboards, just type “Post-it boards” or “Bulletin boards” in the App Store, you should find many more options. Post away! :)

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UPDATE!! (2/17/14) I just learned that Corkulous has an awesome sharing feature through Dropbox. There is a button on the top left that says Collections. You can add a Dropbox folder to the collection and all of the Corkulous boards in that folder will show up on your iPad. I can do a Class Folder or make a folder for each student. What does this mean for us? This means so much!
– If you have just a few iPads, kids can use access Corkulous from any iPad
– Students can view your mentor digital corkboards on their own iPads
– Book clubs can read a board together on their iPads (see below for details)
– I can sit at my own iPad and formatively assess all my students without going to their individual iPads.

*Book club TIP: It appears that Dropbox doesn’t automatically save updates and you may need to manually do it. The last person to modify will be what Dropbox will save. This means it is not in real-time so be careful!

I’m excited to see where this new-found feature will take us!

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