Sunday, September 5, 2010

Skills & Standards Learned with Kit

The Resource Kit for ePublishing strongly fosters learning Skills & Standards in the following areas:
TECHNOLOGY Skills: Word Processing, Desktop Publishing, Online Research, Digital Graphics, Miscellaneous Tech Skills / ISTE Standards for Students + MCREL Standards in Technology. Click here for a chart with details
- English Language Arts/WRITING Skills: Over 20 skills essential to writing including - Identifying a Theme, Creating Outlines, Writing Drafts, Proof Reading and Editing, Writing Letters, Procedural Narratives, Descriptive Writing, Expanding Vocabulary, Creating a Bibliography, Punctuation, Using Graphic Organizers, Revising Drafts, Citations, and more...
click here for a chart with details and specifics
- SOCIAL STUDIES and SCIENCE Skills: Research Skills (i.e. Conducting a Survey, Using Search Engines, Image and Video searches, tc.) - Use of online thesaurus/dictionary and language translator - Creating a Time Lines, and more... click here for a chart with details
- VISUAL ART & DESIGN Skills: Over 15 important design skills and techniques, including - Illustration, Publication Design, Word Art & Text Effects, Photo Collage, Create a logo, Create and use Borders, Create Author Headshots, Create Graphs (line, bar, circle), Setting up a Storyboard, and more... click here for a chart with details and specifics

- 21st Century Skills: Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes, Learning and Innovation Skills, Information, Media and Technology Skills.
Click here for an explanation of how the kit's activities relate to this emerging body of skills and standards

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Student Publishing: Key to Developing Writing (and other) Literacy Skills

A pillar of Writing instruction is the Writing Process, whose 5 phases include: 1) Pre-writing (research, outlining, story boarding, etc.) 2) Draft: initial composition 3) Revision (review and modification) 4) Editing (proofreading for clarity, conventions, style, etc.) and 5) PUBLISHING (design, production in hard copy or digital, and distribution of final version).
The Resource Kit for ePublishing uses the PUBLISHING phase as an entry point to engage and guide students in writing and publishing their own ePublications.

Sample Covers of Class Publications

Please wait a couple of seconds while the slide show of publication covers loads!

___Resource Kit for ePublishing
Students develop writing skills as they collaboratively produce professional looking publications. The Resource Kit for ePublishing contains everything needed to guide students through the experience of writing and publishing professional looking books or magazines. The kit’s continuum of high motivation writing activities culminate in the production of a class publication. Along the way, students experience everything from identifying a topic of interest, to writing skillfully about it, and finally designing their own ‘e Publications.’ Other than common word processing software that school computers already have, as well as access to the web, no other resources are required. The Kit may be used across grade levels and is particularly appropriate for upper elementary and middle school classes.

Writing is a skill set that represents an important gateway to success in: reading and other literacy competencies, learning across the curriculum - subjects like science and social studies require writing continually, test taking, and the world of work. It is universally regarded as a key skill in thinking and problem solving. Writing, however, remains an area that eludes a great many students. Traditional writing “exercises” often have little positive impact on this area of learning. The Resource Kit for ePublishing, however, uses Publishing, the culminating phase of The Writing Process, as an entry point to offer high motivation, relevant activities that result in the production of class publications that all will be proud to share with peers, parents, the school community… and beyond.
The kit illustrates many easy and appropriate ways to upload a class publication to the web. These 'eBooks' and 'eZines' are easy to open and read on any computer and can be presented to parents and audiences by sharing their links, putting them on disc, emailing them, or placing them in a class or school blog or website.

The kit also shows a variety of ways to produce a class book or magazine in hard copy.

With the kit, teachers easily guide students in the creation of eBooks and eZines that are easy to open and read on any computer and can be distributed by email, by easy upload to a class or school website or blog, or to one of the many free, media sharing resources on the web.

The kit contains:
60 activities for students (upper elementary through middle
school and beyond) 20 Beginner – 20 Intermediate
and 20 Challenging Level activities. Each activity is supported
by 4 items: a) Lesson Plan, b) Student Project Card
(explains the project), c) Student’s Planning Sheet, and
d) Rubric and Assessment Sheet
• A Classroom Management & References resource book with
Background research and information, Curriculum Matrices,
Classroom Management and Assessment instructions.
100 “How-To” Cards for Macintosh users and 100 “How-To” Cards
for Windows users.

The ePublishing Kit will inspire today’s students to learn a challenging set of skills that all must acquire in order to succeed in and beyond school. These include traditional writing skills, technology skills (especially those that support writing) and 21st Century Literacy Skills. The challenge in teaching writing effectively has been compounded in recent years by the emergence of communications technologies, resulting in the need to learn new skills along with traditional ones. As a result, educators have a bigger job than ever in ensuring student success. The kit is a resource to support teachers and learners in meeting this challenge.

@ $299.99 the Resource Kit for ePublishing is a low cost way to introduce an innovative approach to teaching Writing while Integrating Technology into the classroom - Available from the publisher, Teacher Created Materials:
Visit the publisher’s website for purchasing details

Monday, August 30, 2010

Resource kit for ePublishing - High in Learning Value

Overview of the Teaching and Learning Value of
The Resource Kit for ePublishing Kit

The ePublishing Kit will inspire today's students to learn a challenging set of skills that all must acquire in order to succeed in and beyond school. These include traditional writing skills, technology skills (especially those that support writing), and 21st Century Literacy skills. The challenge in teaching writing effectively has been compounded in recent years by the emergence of communications technologies, resulting in the need to learn new skills along with traditional ones. As a result, educators have a bigger job than ever in ensuring student success. The kit is a resource to support teachers and learners as they meet this challenge.


Poor student achievement in the essential literacy skill of writing remains one of education's most pressing challenges.

In 2007 The Nation's Report Card showed that while 88 percent of American 8th grade students performed at or above the Basic level of writing achievement, only 33 percent performed at the Proficient level and a mere 2 percent at the Advanced level. Furthermore, the report showed very little improvement over the writing scores of 2002.
The capacity to write well directly impacts success throughout one’s school career. Furthermore, writing is an essential skill for lifelong learners and is directly tied to success in the world of work. Employers are more critical of writing than any other area of employee preparedness, asserting that young workers have difficulty with all aspects of writing.
In its New York press release dated July 5, 2005, the National Commission on Writing stated “Despite the high value that state employers put on writing skills, a significant number of their employees do not meet states' expectations. Providing writing training costs taxpayers nearly a quarter of a billion dollars annually... This survey confirms what governors and educators already know: strong writing skills, and the critical thinking skills associated with the ability to write well, are important prerequisites for success in college and work," said Virginia Governor Mark Warner. "The next generation of workers needs strong communication skills to compete for the best jobs in a global economy."

The Role of Technology in Writing and Learning to Write
It has become something of an article of faith among many educators that word processing, as well as a broad range of other technology skills associated with gathering, analyzing, and communicating information and ideas, has the potential to positively impact the level of student achievement in the area of Writing.
This makes sense. After all, virtually all professional writers, editors, and publishers use technology to do just about everything associated with their jobs. It is not surprising, therefore, that prominent educators and scholars have asserted that technology improves student writing. A good example is Kyle L. Peck and Denise Dorricot's article in Educational Leadership titled “Why use technology?” in which they state “Technology can foster an increase in the quantity and quality of students' thinking and writing...”

Still, it is a very great distance from understanding the potential of technology to support students as they learn to write, to the availability of a body of activities with which to successfully implement this idea. The kit provides it though, with all the planning and 'integrating' of technology into the writing curriculum taken care of. Its 60 activities are thoroughly infused with word processing, web-based research, and use of online language tools like search engines, dictionaries and thesauri, and bibliography and citation engines.

Each of these solid writing activities is supported by technology in a very natural way. Furthermore, this is writing with a purpose, the publication of finished student work as professional style books and magazines. To accomplish this there are many technology methods and skills embedded that support students in enhancing and designing their work. There are high motivation items like the use of crossword puzzle engines; tools to search, download, and create digital illustrations; and table, chart, and graph applications. Finally there is a rich body of resources and techniques to produce and share finished publications either in digital format (including online) or in hard copy.


Beyond the pressing need to improve student achievement in traditional literacy goals, a new set of goals that account for the way technology has changed literacy in recent years has emerged. The following is taken from a 2008 policy statement of The National Council of Teachers of English, our nation's foremost professional organization for literacy educators:

...As society and technology change, so does literacy. Because technology has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, the twenty-first century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies, many literacies. These literacies—from reading online newspapers to participating in virtual classrooms—are multiple, dynamic, and malleable...Twenty-first century readers and writers need to develop proficiency with the tools of technology...

The kit directly and thoroughly addresses this need.


Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) the following goal has been established as an expectation of all schools: To assist every student in crossing the digital divide by ensuring that every student is technologically literate by the time the student finishes the eighth grade, regardless of the student's race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability.
While this requirement has been temporarily overshadowed by NCLB's initial heightened focus on reading, writing, and mathematics skills, our nation's renewed awareness of the need to develop a globally competitive workforce will guarantee interest in ensuring that students learn about technology and become savvy in its practical integration into the many dimensions of intellectual work. The kit is specifically directed at these goals. Students who have completed kit activities will do well on the emerging technology skills assessments that are being adopted across the nation.


In its recently released resource and policy guide “21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness” The Partnership for 21st Century Skills states, “Over the last several decades, the industrial economy based on manufacturing has shifted to a service economy driven by information, knowledge and innovation.” As a consequence of this, a new framework for understanding what students should learn and be able to do in school in the 21st Century has emerged. Nine states have already committed to using this new framework to guide their efforts in public education. The concept of 21st Century Skills increasingly impacts the understanding how education must change to be relevant by educators and policy makers everywhere. Importantly, this framework places traditional core curriculum subjects at the center of its focus, although recontextualizing how they are best taught, learned, and understood as part of the greater educational whole. The kit provides a curriculum that mirrors the Framework for 21st Century Learning, fleshing out its concepts with good-to-go classroom activities. Furthermore, it implements important dimensions of related progressive educational approaches like project-based learning, performance (portfolio) assessment, and student collaboration.


The kit’s activities are aligned with the English Language Arts Standards established by the
IRA/ NCTE (International Reading Association and National Council of Teachers of English), the NETS (National Educational Technology Standards) established by I.S.T.E (International Society for Technology in Education), and the 21st Century Outcomes established by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. As a result, the kit offers very timely curriculum designed to support students in learning the essential skills of writing in a context that is guaranteed to be current, forward thinking, and relevant as student learning needs evolve.