Since I have started using technology in the classroom, one teacher that I have been following regularly is Zoe Branigan-Pipe. Zoe is a Grade 6 teacher at Lawfield School, and she is one of the most incredible teachers that I know. Last year, I had the opportunity to meet Zoe at a SMART Board Symposium, and since that time, she has been a huge inspiration to me to try out new technological tools with my students.
From Twitter to Blogs to Google Docs to Bitstrips to VoiceThread to Wallwisher, and now, to Diigo, Zoe has been the push that I needed to try these amazing tools. Of all the tools that I use in the classroom, my students were most excited to try out Diigo because they knew that Grade 6 students used it, and they are only in Grade 1. For my first Diigo activity, the children commented right on the website about the accuracy of predictions that they made before a modelled reading activity. Diigo allowed the students to look at what they initially wrote and what they wrote after reading the book: making it easy for them to compare the two. For my second Diigo activity, the students worked in pairs on Google Docs to write about connections that they made between a book (Owen by Kevin Henkes) and a comic strip that they found on Google Images featuring Linus and his blanket. Students also wrote their inferences about the comic strip. When the partners were done, they used the SMART Board to copy and paste these connections and inferences into a floating sticky note: one of Diigo's tools. As you can see from what the students wrote, they shared many ideas about the texts, made use of a couple of different reading comprehension strategies, and used their dictionaries well to write using predominantly conventional spelling. Students used phonetic spelling well too. I am so impressed with what the children were able to complete in a very short period of time (about 20 minutes). I can't wait to use Diigo more!
The other day, one of my students told me that she "visited Mrs. Branigan-Pipe's Twitter Page" because she "wanted to see the person that told [us] about these great new activities!" Thank you, Zoe, for inspiring my students, inspiring me, and inspiring the entire Grade 1 Team!