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Community Story


Mike Wallagher

 

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

 

 

New York, NY
Self Employed

"Now that Iím taking advantage of what ReadWriteThink has to offer, several of my colleagues have joined me in bringing these resources into the classroom. Weíve found the tools invaluable, both in teaching students how to use technology and engaging them in the lessons and apps available. "

Mike Wallagher's Story
How I'm Using RWT in a Classroom

Over the past few years, the school I work for has become more and more technology focused, just like many schools in our area. For a long time, I hadnít thought much about how I could incorporate technology into the classroom, but then came iPads into our school. As soon as I got my hands on one, I couldnít stop thinking about the practical applications such a wonderful device could have in my classroom. But at the time, I didnít really know what I could do with it. And then I found ReadWriteThink. Initially, I was excited about the mobile apps and classroom blogs, but I soon found that there was much more I could take advantage of. Hereís how Iím using RWT in my classroom today:

Iím Immersing Students in Poetry

Before ReadWriteThink, the majority of my students would groan when our poetry unit came up. Of course, some of them really enjoyed it, but others were hesitant to even try. With the Theme Poem app, my third-graders are now begging me to extend the poetry unit. Not only does it reinforce good writing habits like fluency and editing, but it has helped instill a level of confidence in my students that they never had before. Iíve also used the Acrostic Poem app, and the kids report having a lot of fun with it.

Iím Expanding My Studentsí Creativity Through Storytelling

Prior to finding ReadWriteThink, I hadnít really considered how valuable storytelling could be in a childís curriculum, but then I found the Story Map and Plot Diagram interactives, and it got me thinking. Of course, I had always done a storytelling unit in the past, but with these programs, it helped expand my fiction lesson plans to a point where even other teachers are impressed with my studentsí skills. While most of them wonít walk away being fiction authors, I do see students honing in their creativity in these units. Not only that, but these interactives also promote organization, which they will take with them when developing more complicated projects in the future.

Iím Teaching Old Concepts in New Ways

Like all teachers, Iíve always been eager to collaborate on teaching methods and read up on new research into human psychology so I can better understand my students. However, thereís only so much you can learn from a handful of people in your network. You can also jump on forums and exchange ideas, but few tactics are as simple and helpful as the lesson plans available through ReadWriteThink. Itís not just about having a plan laid out for you, although I have to admit that it is nice. Rather, itís about gathering ideas from teachers all across the country and finding new, more effective ways of teaching old concepts.

Iím Engaging Students in Technology

It may seem silly to some people to not have an iPad or iPhone somewhere in the house, but some of my students donít have that opportunity, oftentimes because their families canít afford the devices or service plans. But, of course, the administration isnít just going to let us play all day, so tools like ReadWriteThink have enabled teachers like me to place technology in the classroom with education in mind. Weíre not just teaching with the lessons on the screen. Weíre also teaching students how to navigate technology and, on some level, giving them the experience to walk away with a better understanding of how it works. In todayís world, experience with technology is vital as most of our students will grow to work in jobs where computer literacy is a prerequisite to employment. Some of my students arenít getting that experience at home, but as we use ReadWriteThinkís tools in the classroom, theyíre able to expand their technical knowledge. Now that Iím taking advantage of what ReadWriteThink has to offer, several of my colleagues have joined me in bringing these resources into the classroom. Weíve found the tools invaluable, both in teaching students how to use technology and engaging them in the lessons and apps available. While I wonít discredit the value of good old pencil and paper, my students seem happier to learn alongside technology, and Iím happy to give them that opportunity.

 

 

Related Resources

Grades   K – 5  |  Mobile App  |  Writing Poetry

Theme Poems

Users learn about and write theme poems, a poem written within the shape of the subject of the poem.

 

Grades   1 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Plot Diagram

The Plot Diagram is an organizational tool focusing on a pyramid or triangular shape, which is used to map the events in a story. This mapping of plot structure allows readers and writers to visualize the key features of stories.

 

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Story Map

The Story Map interactive is designed to assist students in prewriting and postreading activities by focusing on the key elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution.

 

I love gadgets/electronics, music, writing, and bowling. Yes, I said bowling and proudly carry a 160 league average.