Spotlight on Multigenre Elements: Fictional Text Messages of Historical Figures

Check out this multigenre element created by a student who illustrated Thomas Paine’s views on government using fictional text messages.  The student used his/her iPhone to create the fictional text message and utilized the iPhone’s screenshot capability to capture the “texts.”  The images were then pulled off the phone and imported into Glogster, and the Glogster was embedded into the project wiki page.  Many thanks to Ms. Lisa Kennedy, 11th American Literature/Composition teacher, for collaborating with the library on this project!

Creating Conversations for Learning: NoodleBib Assignment Dropbox as Formative Assessment, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I composed a post about the possibilities of using the NoodleBib shared assignment dropbox feature as a formative assessment for evaluating working bibliographies and notecards.  Now that I’ve completed two research project “checkpoints” using the shared assignment dropbox, I am happy to share that this formative assessment has been successful in:

1.  Gaining insight into the selection of information sources by students and to help them identify gaps in sources they may be overlooking that could inform their research.

2.  Helping students identify and understand the mistakes they’ve made in the citation process and working with them to correct the entries.

3.  Seeing what students are doing really well with their notetaking skills and providing positive feedback while identifying areas of weakness and then engaging in a conversation for learning with the student by sharing strategies for tackling those “challenge” areas with notetaking skills.

My roles in facilitating these formative assessments included:

1.  Setting up the shared assignment dropboxes.

2.  Teaching students how to share an assignment and confirming I had received the assignments from each group.

3.  Taking the time to evaluate each group’s bibliographic entries and notecards while providing feedback.

4.  Keeping a spreadsheet of general notes for each group’s work and noting patterns in what students were doing well and common problems I saw in student work.

5.  Sharing my findings and notes with my co-teacher, Susan Lester, and then the two of us working together with groups to address challenges I identified through the formative assessment; in addition, I enlisted the assistance of students who were demonstrating specific skills in an exemplary manner to help peers on an “as needed” basis.

I love how easy it is to evaluate bibliographic individual entries and the accompanying notecards for each source cited in one screen.  All you have to do is log into your account, scroll down to the bottom of your project lists page, and then open a student project (which for these assignments, were collaboratively created lists for group research projects).  You can then click on “Bibliography” to access the bibliographic entries and accompanying notecards on one screen; you can then enter custom comments for each entry, and for the notecards,  you can compose custom comments or use a comment from the pre-existing database of notecard comments.  You can see when each entry and notecard were created as well as time/date of any revisions a student may have made.  Take a look at how easy it is to work with the interface in the screenshots below (please note student names have been removed to protect their privacy).

Figure 1: Bibliographic Entry Comments

Figure 2: Comments on Electronic Notecards

I absolutely love using the shared assignment dropbox for formative assessment of student work and using the feedback with students to initiate or sustain conversations for learning.  Here are a few features I’d suggest to make the shared assignment dropbox in NoodleBib even better:

  • add the ability to message a group or comment on overall project
  • add the ability for teachers and librarians to create their own banks of custom comments to both the notecards as well as bibliographic entries
  • add a spellchecker on the teacher/librarian side to spellcheck comments
  • add the ability for the librarian or teacher to “like” a student bibliographic entry or notecard (a la Facebook style)
  • add the ability to create threaded discussions Facebook or new Google Docs discussions style so that students and the teacher and/or librarian can engage in a virtual discussion about the feedback provided (think ramped-up commenting!)
If you haven’t tried the shared dropbox in NoodleBib, I encourage you to give it a try as a way to embed yourself in the classroom with teachers and students as part of your collaborative partnerships and to participate meaningfully in assessment of student work.  If you have tried the shared assignment dropbox as formative assessment, what features did you like, or what enhancements would you like to see added for 2011-12?

NoodleBib Assignment Dropbox for Sharing Student Work and Formative Assessment

If you haven’t tried the electronic dropbox feature in NoodleBib/NoodleTools, check out my tutorial on how you can set up your own teacher/assignment dropbox and enable students to share their Works Cited list, notecards, and a Google Document associated with a project list with you and/or multiple teachers (wonderful for teacher and librarians to BOTH provide feedback!).  I see this feature of NoodleBib as a way to provide specific feedback to students and as a formative assessment tool for learning to use with students.

What would make this feature even better is if students could respond to the teacher feedback and/or have some type of commenting feature similar to what is in Google Docs to track conversations and feedback for learning–perhaps this will be a future enhancement?  While I’ve provided feedback on print copies of Works Cited lists and electronic notecards and assisted with the editing of student papers using the discussions and commenting features in Google Docs, I’ll be undertaking my first effort at collaborative electronic assessment using this feature next week with Susan Lester as our Media 21/Learning 21 students hit their first Works Cited/ notecard checkpoint this Friday, April 1; each group is working on a collaboratively constructed project in NoodleTools (see Chapter 6 in the NoodleBib guide under “student collaboration”), and each member of a collaborative project can see all feedback provided that Susan and I provide.  I’m looking forward to the process and listening to student feedback on how this method of formative assessment works for them once we return from spring break in mid-April!

Written instructions are provided in the NoodleBib Users Guide in Chapter 6 under “Sharing Projects” and “Teacher Instructions”; student instructions are provided in this chapter as well.

Group Reflections on 9th Grade Research: Presearching, Formative Assessment, Research Guides, and More!

Ms. Frost (English teacher), 9th Honors Literature/Composition students, Ms. Hamilton (librarian), Mr. Guyer (librarian intern), and Ms. Johnson (librarian) reflect on the recent research experiences at The Unquiet Library (see the research guide at You can see the pre-search graphic organizer (which we have now condensed into a shorter document for future use!) on the research guide.

Ms. Panik’s Earth Systems Students and The Unquiet Library Skype w/ The JOIDES Resolution!

Learn more about our Skype session with the JOIDES Resolution and Ms. Panik’s Earth Systems’ students this past Wednesday, January 25!  Although we had some audio issues related to bandwidth, we enjoy the learning experience and the expertise of the scientists and educators who generously shared their time and knowledge with us.  Learn more by visiting our LibGuides page on the experience below.