Enhance Reading Workshop with Popplet
Popplet is one of my favorite apps to use now for Reading Workshop. Available online at popplet.com AND as an app for IPads. It takes very little time to set it up for the kids and it took no time for my students to catch on.
We’re teaching a Character Unit and here are some of our 5th grade team’s teaching points:
- Readers know characters can be complicated and are always on the look out for information about them! Readers can learn about characters from actions, dialogue and inner thinking. “When he says…, It makes me think…”
- Readers learn more about what kind of person a character is by observing how the character interacts with others‐‐what kind of friend is this person? Is he a leader? A follower? Is he competitive? Is he a rebel? “By the way he …., it makes me think he is a…”
- Readers learn from the choices a character makes. “When he decided to…it made me think that he is…”
Do you teach your students to stop and jot when they read? Try it with Popplet! The point of teaching students to use post-its is to help readers have a deeper understanding of characters and how they change or grow in the text. I would then have the students examine their post-its to notice concepts such as patterns or themes. These have always been difficult lessons and students spend a large amount of time sorting their post-its. In the photos below, notice how my readers have organized their thinking by character and use our sentence stems to clearly explain their thinking.
SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION (GUIDED READING/STRATEGY GROUPS)
Popplet has a feature where you can create group Popplets by inviting collaborators. The students will need an email address but do not need to access their email account. I simply created generic email addresses (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) and never reveal the password to the students. The email account is only needed on Popplet because collaborating with others require internet access.
In my small groups, we are reading together in order to either achieve independence of a specific reading level or practice reading skills that we all struggle with regardless of our reading level. Currently, we are in guided reading groups based on our reading levels. My students and I collaborate on Popplet as we read through a book together. Collaborating on Popplet is also great because each popple added to the Popplet is labeled with the student’s name. I can use it to assess each student’s progress. In the screen shot, you can see how my students have been able to add on to each other’s thinking.
As a teacher, I find that a student’s Popplet gives me more information than I’ve been able to collect for one-on-one conferences. Even if I can not meet with more than 3 students, I can quickly look at their Popplets anytime to either give them feedback through Popplet or plan my next conference.
Since I don’t give reading tests, one struggle I have in reading workshop is coming up with grades. With Popplet, I turn my teaching points into student language and it becomes a growing rubric. At the end of the unit, I will have something concrete and authentic to assess. Popplet allows you to print the popplets out or save as a PDF. What a great piece of evidence to show parents at conferences or to a child’s portfolio!