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A Different Kind of Webspiration Wednesday

Webspiration Wednesday normally consists of teachers gathering together in the library to watch and discuss an inspirational video or TED talk, followed by discussion about its implications in our classrooms.  Today was a different kind of Webspiration Wednesday. On March 10 I got a late night phone call that one of our second grade teachers had died.  I was convinced that I was hearing wrong, Val was only 53 and I saw her that morning.  She wasn’t feeling well when she got to school, so we called her  a sub.  Being that she is a teacher, she came back to school at 4:00 to write up sub plans and get everything ready for her absense the next day.  Her husband and 7 year old daughter were with her, and gave her 5 minutes to get her plans laid out.  Of course 5 minutes turned into 30 as she set out plans, answered emails, and wrote a morning message for her students at the board.  As she was finializing plans, she collapsed.  Paramedics weren’t able to revive her.   Our school body went into a state of shock and mourning.  The next day we had no school.  Teachers gathered and cried together, and we asked a lot of questions about how best to minister to grieving kids.  We brought in grief counselors and came together with our students the next day to help the students process the loss in any way that we could.  As a school body we felt utterly depleted.  An amazing thing happened, schools from  around the country came together to support us.  My PLN on Twitter immediately sent articles and podcasts for how to help children through the grief process and offered words of hope.  Jason Schmidt (@jasonschmidt123) had his students write notes of hope, encouragement, and prayers for Val’s little girl.  They arrived the day of Val’s funeral.   A neighboring school showed us love and encouragement by providing our staff the opportunity to come together over a catered lunch.  Today we broke bread together.  We talked, and laughed, and reminiced together.  We don’t often get that opportunity with staggered lunches and busy schedules.  We were inspired today not by a video talk, but by the love showed by others.   Thank you all for your inspiration, words of encouragement, and hope.

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UDL Book Builder

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 29-07-2009

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What it is: UDL Book Builder is a site where you can create your own interactive digital stories.  The books have built in coaches that can support diverse learning needs.  The coaches direct student learning even when students are working independently.  The digital books can include text, images, audio, glossary terms (that are linked within the story), and coaches that can provide hints, prompts, and modeling.  The published books can be viewed online, downloaded to a computer, saved to a CD, or shared with others in the UDL library.  Both teachers and students can use the UDL Book Builder to create interactive digital stories.

How to integrate UDL Book Builder into the classroom: Use the UDL Book Builder to create interactive stories for your students that meet their specific learning needs.  Include students and familiar locations in your stories to boost reading motivation.  Students love starring in their own stories.  As you are creating a book in the Book Builder, be sure to devleop the coaches within the book.  The coaches can offer reading hints, strategies, and model good reading.  Start a school library of teacher created digital books.  As the digital library is devleoped, be sure to note which reading skills are being emphasized so that other teachers can quickly sort through books that will match their students learning needs and interests.  Students can also create digital books from their writing.  The writing should be ready to publish (correct spelling, grammar, etc.).  These stories can easily be shared online with other students in class, in the school, and with pen pals.  UDL Book Builder would be a great tool for creating stories as a class using the interactive whiteboard.

Tips: The UDL Book Builder site has a great section with tips for authors and illustrators using the Builder.  These tips are helpful for any adults creating a book, but are also worth sharing with students using the tool.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using UDL Book Builder  in your classroom.

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