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Dear Otto: Common Core requires publishing student work. How do I do that?

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Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Rox in South Africa:

In my lab I can only do with my learners software that I can get for free. I would like to do some publishing work with them – do you know of publishing software that is free and appropriate for Grade 4 to Grade 6. I have learnt so much from questions asked by others and your kind, informed answers – Thank you

This is a great question, Rox, one that all teachers are addressing right now because Common Core makes ‘publishing’ fundamental to their standards–
  • Kindergarten: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.6 With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
  • First grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
  • Second grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
  • Third grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.6 With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
  • Fourth grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing
  • Fifth grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing
  • Sixth grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing
  • Seventh grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing
  • Eighth grade: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing
Thankfully, technology provides many differentiated ways to accomplish this, from the mundane to the fancy:
  • Upload prepared Word docs or PDFs (Word, Publisher, Excel, PowerPoint can be saved as PDFs in MS Office 2007) to Scribd (http://www.scribd.com/). After you’ve uploaded a Word doc or PDF to Scribd, make the channel private so only class membersd can view (or public if that’s your preference. Once it’s uploaded to Scribd, the website offers an embed code so it can be embedded into a blog/wiki.
  • Issuu (http://issuu.com/explore) is nice too–fancier, still free, a bit higher learning curve.
  • Create a poster  showing important information that you found in your research.  It should include several pictures, at least one primary source, a link to the timeline, detail on the people involved and how they solved problems. If using Glogster (http://edu.glogster.com/), get log-in info from teacher.
  • Create a magazine using Flipbook
  • Create a website on the topic
  • Create online slideshow using Kizoa.
  • Create a Prezi, highlighting most important elements of student research
  • Create a video and publish to YouTube (class private channel), Vimeo, SchoolTube. Share via blog, website
  • Create an Infographic (see Unit 19-21—Visual Learning). Here is a sample of the history of technology (http://visual.ly/over-centuries-technology-timeline?utm_source=visually_embed) built as an infographic by Visual.ly.

Many schools don’t have ready access to any method of doing this. Most of these options require a place to publish to–a blog, website, wiki. Some (like Storybird and Nanoogo) allow students to access their work through the website’s server, but that’s not always optimal. The site may or may not be G-rated enough for your school and the ability to comment on classmates’ work may/may not be a service provided. Don’t let this stop you. Talk to your IT folk. Remind them that publishing is a requirement of Common Core. They’ll come around. If not, have them contact me. We’ll chat.

I’ve only touched the tip of the publishing iceberg. What are your favorite methods?

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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8 thoughts on “Dear Otto: Common Core requires publishing student work. How do I do that?

  1. Great list here of free digital publishing solutions. Just on a note associated with that, there are options for free publishing of student writing using online tools where students get a physical book.

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