Sunday, April 10, 2016

Time to Amplify!

Incredibly delicious read,
as evidenced by all of my sticky flags!

I finished reading Amplify: Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom several days ago, and I still can't stop gushing about it to anyone who will listen. The authors, Katie Muhtaris and Kristin Ziemke, have astounded me with their thinking.

What struck me first (and stayed with me throughout the book) was the way they were able to seamlessly incorporate vignettes, tips, and ideas from a primary perspective as well as an upper elementary one. It makes sense, of course, since Kristin taught first and Katie taught fifth, but I loved how the foundation remained the same throughout the multi-grade perspective. Quite often, I have felt myself seesawing on my personal pedagogy in the past two and a half years as I've refined and redefined myself during my transition to becoming an upper elementary teacher. It is quite evident that Katie and Kristin's work is steeped in solid pedagogy and current best practice.

As I was reading, I was thinking about how Chromebooks have been our new 1:1 tool this year. It has opened the door to many possibilities (since they work really well, unlike the Kuno tablets we had for the past couple of years,) but I've had to rethink how we can use pictures or video to document our thinking/learning. My "DUH" moment there came when Katie and Kristin wrote about using audio recording. Truth be told, I hadn't actually explored options for video or audio recording on the Chromebooks. My kids and I are fixing that as we speak!

A few more of my favorite "can't wait to try it" ideas Kristin and Katie shared in the book...
*Model reading digital text ideas p. 46-47
*Ideas for digital reading minilessons p. 48
*Practice watching videos with a "wide awake mind" p. 51
*Introduce/practice online discussions with small groups of students p. 53
*Hierarchy chart for determining content, creation, polishing, presenting p. 75

Amplify has raised my sights toward finishing this year strong and starting next year with a solid framework that is redesigned and refreshed. I have notes throughout the book, tons of sticky notes, and a document started where I've been jotting down ideas so I don't forget! And it has also reminded me of just how much I learn from my Twitter colleagues and how I need to make it a priority to be more active on Twitter.

Through our Twitter and face-to-face connections, I have learned so much from both Kristin and Katie (and have shared many laughs with both of them, too!) I've stolen many ideas from them over the past few years, but I am now fully prepared to snag a bunch more! I'm excited to jump in to the #AmplifyEd conversation to see what others have taken away and have started after reading this gem of a professional read.

What books have shaped your thinking lately?

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