Technology Pursuit

Blending Technology Into the Language Arts Classroom

Tag: reading

Big News! Curriculet and USA Today Join Forces!


Curriculet new current eventsAny of my blog or Twitter followers know I’m a huge proponent of Curriculet.  Every time I use it, I marvel at its effectiveness.  Students can read extra annotations to point out inferences or allusions they may not pick up on their own or watch related videos.

And just when I think it can’t get much better, it does.

Curriculet and USA Today are working together to create current event Curriculets!

First of all, they are cross-curricular.  Not only is this for social studies teachers, but for arts, science, physical education, health–articles are available for any subject area.

Plus, they’re premade.  No questions to make up, no annotations to add on.  All the work is done for you.  Need a quick subplan?  Want to integrate more non-fiction reading into your class but you don’t have time?  Everything is done for you.  The questions are well-written and correspond to Common Core standards.

Curriculet current events 2

Many of them link to videos, infographics, or other articles for the students to read, so not only are students reading one article, but they’re “reading” other media that enriches and deepens their understanding.

It’s a huge win for digital literacy.

Linking to Images in Curriculet

Martletstick spot



Curriculet is such a great resource that I’ve found to use while teaching Macbeth.  Shakespeare uses so many metaphors and allusions that students don’t understand–such as the martlet on the far top and Lady Macbeth’s reference to the “sticking point” in the lower top.

With Curriculet, I can embed those images directly into the text, so students can see and understand the reference visually.  Extremely handy!

Curriculet has become my go-to app for assigned reading.  Instead of spending classtime reading the text with the students, explaining it, and helping them with the basic understanding, they can read it on their own here, follow my annotations, answer my reading check questions, and gain that basic level of understanding.  Then I can spend class time with deeper, richer activities, such as the Institute of Play’s Socratic Smackdown that we did earlier this week.

I also love the fact that students move at their own pace.  The ones who have questions I can work with one-on-one.  I also link the PBS Macbeth film to the Curriculet, so students can view the film while reading the text.  I love how students can see the play come alive with professional actors; seeing the film version simultaneously with the text also scaffolds their understanding.

Flipping a Classroom with Curriculet


I guinea pigged my students with a week ago, and I absolutely love the results.  The website allows teachers to take texts and embed questions, annotations, and videos into it.  Teachers can then track students performance and check their mastery.  It’s a great flipped-classroom website, as this allows teachers to look at a glance whether students understand the material and then move onto more critical thinking activities during class.

In addition to adding your own texts, you can also use texts and “curriculets” from other teachers with questions already embedded.  This site is still young and growing, but what a great resource it has the potential to become for all curricular areas.

Using Pinterest in the Classroom

A few days ago in one of my Facebook groups, a fellow member queried us for an easy-peasy, low-maintenance way to track the books you’ve read.  Although many use Goodreads (and I have an account there, too), this member wanted to avoid the site and the drama that goes with it.  (Yes, even book nerds have their drama instigators and fomenters.)

So I shared what I used:  A simple Pinterest board. Pinterest Every January, I create a new board for my reading that year.  When I finish the book, I locate an image of it and pin it.  If I want to leave a few notes about it–cool!  If I’m tired or not in the mood, then I don’t write a comment.

This can easily be adopted in classrooms.  Because most students are visual, they enjoy seeing a more visual list of book covers rather than just a list of names.  In the comment area, students can add blurbs, starred ratings, number of pages, or link to other friends they’d recommend the book to.

I know that countless teachers already use Pinterest.  We create boards for lesson plans and writing prompts and art projects and pretty, pretty classrooms (for those of us who do lots of decor) and pin ideas there.  Pinterest is a great resource for that. But Pinterest could be used in other ways more directly relating to students. Think about these possibilities:


1.  Students could create a board that represents a character in a book the class is reading.  Imagine what Gatsby’s board might look like.  Or Daisy’s.  What kind of quotes might Hamlet pin to his board?  What might Jem or Scout pin on their boards?

2.  Give students a collection task related to visual images.  Photography that uses the rule of 9.  Examples of impressionist paintings. Samples of pointellism?  A teacher can then lead a discussion with the class using images that students selected, giving them ownership in the lesson.

3.  Teachers can make Pinterest boards to create a “menu” of ideas for students.  Say students in geography class must select a South American country to research.  Make a Pinterest board with a pin for each country that leads to a reliable website about that country.  Or do students need to research Revolutionary War heroes?  US Presidents?  Civil Rights leaders?  Make a Pinterest board of their possibilities using images from or another website.  Students will likely click on a few pins, learning a little about each, but make their decision faster because of this process.

4.  Only want your students to research certain sites?  Make a board of those sites.

I’m sure others have created more possibilities to Pinterest, and writing this makes me more interested in trying some in my own classroom!

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