Innovative & Interactive Response to Text

I’m sure that like me you might get frustrated by some of the obvious drawbacks PDF’s have. And, so many of our docs these days are in PDF format.

So, you may find this to be a relief.


“It’s so important in this digital age when so many students consume text online that they learn how to transfer their pen and paper annotation strategies to the online space. Kami is another fantastic tool for supporting active reading online.”

This is a quote from a fellow educator, Catlin Tucker. It was excerpted from this blog entry ==> Make PDFs Interactive with Kami

I started to have my learners engage with a PDF text and then suddenly in the back of my mind I remembered Catlin’s post from last spring.


Here is a recent example from my class illustrating our use of this tool. In order to protect my learner’s identity, the comments he posted have been redacted, only his highlights have been shared.

Setting Sail



Assignment Directions and Rubric

Read and Annotate

Learning Goal: Stop, think and react using a variety of strategies to understand

Read pp. 1- 9
On pages 7-9 keep track of your thinking using highlighting, underling and/or commenting with Kami.
*Stop to think and react to the information
*Ask questions
*Identify and consider big ideas
*Paraphrase the information in your own words
*Infer to fill in gaps
*Activate your schemaView the rubric below to guide your thinking and outcome.After you finish, find two or three others who have finished. Form a group to share your reactions to the article.
Think about the important ideas as well as any issues, questions, or thoughts you have.
Share your thinking with the whole class via the Padlet below.



  • Determine a theme of a story, from details in the text, including how characters in a story  respond to challenges
  • Explain how a series of  scenes fit together to provide the overall structure of a particular story
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

We have been studying the Arc of the Story aka Plot Diagram during part of our ELA learning. To help reinforce and cement the learning we have incorporated the use of Ozobots to trace the path of the story and react to certain parts such as the climax or rising action.

Here’s some video from our class as they work on this project; including their first day of exploring the coding of their Ozobots in conjunction with their story-maps.



Raison d’etre


Why do I do what I do?

My primary motivation is that I am always striving to find a better way, some might call that an innovative spirit. And once I have found a better way, I am no longer the same person, I am transformed and I must share that transformation with others. I somehow feel that I would be derelict in duty not to.

This is the whole reason why I read so many blogs, watch TED talks, listen to podcasts in a never-ending quest for better ways.This is the whole reason why I want to provide educational technology tools for my students, because they are all different, I can’t live with just giving them a hammer for everything. This is the reason for personalized learning, because all my learners are different, and I can’t live with simply one size fits all, that simply perpetuates inequity. This is the whole reason for giving my learners opportunities to create, discover, collaborate and communicate because they are all different and they need to network to discover the power of the many.

I once heard a story of a very proficient painter. He could not understand why he had to take any painting classes for his fine arts major. He was asked, “Have you ever asked an original question that you didn’t come up with yourself?” That is why it is so important that we collaborate and network, otherwise how do we prevent ourselves from potentially blocking our own ideas. Or perhaps our ideas may need augmenting or we didn’t look at a problem from a different perspective.

Do you share in these beliefs? Why or why not?


To paraphrase Maya Angelou, “If you know better,  than you must do better.”

The following quote sums up so many of my beliefs:

There is no substitute for a teacher who designs authentic, participatory, and relevant learning experiences for her unique population of students. The role of the teacher is to inspire learning and develop skills and mindsets of learners. A teacher, as designer and facilitator, should continually evolve with resources, experiences, and the support of a community. It is becoming increasingly clear that we don’t necessarily need to transform the role of teachers, rather create a culture that inspires and empowers teachers to innovate in the pursuit of providing optimal learning experiences for their students.” – Katie Martin, director of professional learning at the University of San Diego Mobile Technology Learning Center


#makerspaces Paper Circuit Projects

I’m so excited I just got this book, Paper Circuits for Makerspaces. And I just ordered some fantastic copper foil tape, bet you can guess why? also sells a kit to go along with the book.


And if you want you can make, DIY Conductive Ink

Disclaimer: I am not paid by either Amazon nor



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