A New Approach To Teaching Writing With Hyperdocs

A New Approach To Teaching Writing With Hyperdocs

Teachers, you’ve got to try a new approach to teaching writing with hyperdocs.

What are hyperdocs? According to their creators, Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton and Sarah Landis, hyperdocs are “a transformative, interactive, personalized engaging too to help facilitate student creativity and collaboration” (The Hyperdoc Handbook).

And I can testify that hyperdocs have done exactly that to the way I teach writing: they’ve transformed and personalized my teaching to enhance student creativity and create a collaborative classroom where kids are excited about learning and producing high-quality work.

And they’re super fun, too!

A New Approach To Teaching Writing With Hyperdocs

Hyperdocs start with a teacher creating a template using Google docs or slides to package their content in a visually appealing and organized way to offer students choice and voice with their learning. By using Google Suite, students collaborate, create, reflect and connect and apply their learning at their own pace and meet their own needs. I’ve found that using hyperdocs in my middle school classroom has not only allowed me to coach them more easily and discover areas that need reteaching or mini lessons prior to submitting a finished product, but they allow students to better control their learning and self-differentiate.

Here’s an example of a hyperdoc I use to teach narrative writing:

A New Approach To Teaching Writing With Hyperdocs

Click on the link to download your own copy! Narrative writing draft, revise, edit, reflect and publish hyperdocs

I created this hyperdoc, but it was adapted from @sarahlandis and © HyperDocs. That’s one of the best parts of “hyperdoc-ing” – they’ve created a community of teachers sharing curriculum, enabling virtual collaboration and creating content that keeps getting better and richer and more creative from lesson to lesson.

As you can see from my narrative writing hyperdoc, I’m able to package my narrative writing unit from draft to publish using one Google doc. Before hyperdocs, a typical writing unit would revolve around me planning lots of direct instruction lessons for the whole class, and then offer time to draft during class or at home. I would spend most of the class period instructing from the front with the occasional writing conference at my desk. I felt disengaged from the work in progress. All students would start and end at the same place, regardless of their ability, interest or work ethic.

A New Approach To Teaching Writing With Hyperdocs
Students working on narrative writing with hyperdocs.

When I migrated to teaching writing with hyperdocs, I found a way to capture all the cool tools and techniques I’d been wanting to try. I quickly realized that by allowing my students to see the whole project at once, I could not only allow students to move at their own pace, but I could monitor work and offer feedback much more easily. To my great surprise, however, was the instant collaboration that erupted in my classroom. Students were suddenly working on video mini-lessons together. They were reflecting on techniques and explaining editing tools to each other. I was rotating around the room, looking over shoulders and tracking progress. I moved to teaching 5-10 minute whole group mini-lessons explaining tech tools or working on time management every other day, spending the rest of the class period answering questions and partnering up kids to help each other. Absent students didn’t miss out – they had everything they needed to work from home or pick right back up when they returned. My classroom hums with activity and focus and my students are writing – a lot.

A New Approach To Teaching Writing With Hyperdocs
Teaching writing with hyperdocs offers students choice and voice.

My favorite part of teaching writing with hyperdocs is how they facilitate the publish and reflect portions of the process. I love to embed a link to a Google form for students to respond to direct questions about their writing process, as well as to ask for feedback and new ideas for improving the next unit. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the ideas that are generated, and the student thinking that happens when asked to share the tools they used, or what they want to improve for the next writing project. Hyperdocs have also allowed me to offer a myriad of choices for student publishing. I can differentiate the rigor of a variety of platforms, allowing students to choose not only which final project will best represent their story, but also how much time they want to devote to learning a new publishing tool or falling back on something more familiar. And finally, after publishing, hyperdocs offer a way to promote an extension of the lessons for kids who need an extra challenge or want multiple modes of expressing or enhancing their learning.

A New Approach To Teaching Writing With Hyperdocs

If you’d like more copies of hyperdocs, I’m happy to share – just send me an email with the subject you’re looking for, and if I have something, I’ll share the Google Doc/Slides. I also have a Pinterest board for hyperdoc tools.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about a new approach to teaching writing with hyperdocs – once you try them, I know you’ll be hooked! If you’d like an overview, check out Laura Moore’s Narrative Writing hyperdoc outlining when/how to teach narrative at different grade levels, and how to scaffold during the year.

I originally wrote this post for The Educator’s Room. You should check it out – it’s full of resources for teacher AND parents!

 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

On January 21, 2017, I joined over 20,000-plus other like-minded souls at the California State Capitol for the Women’s March On Sacramento. I wasn’t prepared for the enormity of the event; I had no idea that when I left, I would feel so energized, so heard, or so replete with joy.  This is what democracy looks like.

When we set out on foot, first to cross the swollen Sacramento River, I wondered if there would be anyone else who showed up. It was early, and quiet. We meandered towards Southside Park, and I had my answer.

Thousands showed up.

To be honest, it was a bit overwhelming at first. There were so many signs, costumes, and smiles. there were men and women, children and elderly, mobile and non-mobile. Queer, straight, white, black, brown, all kindred spirits fearlessly flying their frustration with the new administration.

I had to walk around to take it all in. The crowd never ended.

Some people were clearly first time activists; others, I could tell, had been here before. And the children, their gently hand lettered signs of hope tinged with fear, stole my heart.

As we marched lines of folks gathered on the sides to cheer us on. They reached out of second story windows and snapped photos from balconies.

We chanted. We helped each other. We united.

This is what democracy looks like.

I’m positive the event coordinators were overwhelmed with the numbers, announcing that they couldn’t start the program because there were some who hadn’t yet left the starting point, miles away.

But when the mayor took the stage, and politicians from school boards to city councils, from Congress to State Controller, we listened. We heard the calls for getting ‘fired up’ and ‘fighting back’ against the Capitol’s west facade, flags flying at half mast.

The rain held off while we heard about women being ‘Raped On The Nightshift’  – female janitorial staff who used their courage and voice to legislate change.

We chanted for human rights, for women’s rights – for grabbing back.

And we felt the power of the 2.5+ million women, men, and children worldwide who were chanting with us; I knew my sisters and friends and my community was with me.  It was like one huge book club discussing our thoughts on a recent novel we’ve read, looking for common threads and weaving in our personal stories.

We vowed to ‘stay loud’ and to fight back, to speak up and defend the rights women have worked so hard to earn.

I stood behind a 95 year-old-woman, wheelchair bound, who wiggled with excitement and energy right along with me as her daughter wiped away tears. I pushed my former students in front of me, young women curious about their future, and felt their eyes on me as my fist rose in the air time after time.

I stood alongside a Vietnam vet pushing his wife’s wheelchair and watched his eyes, eyes that have seen more horror that I hope I ever know.

I heard the rage of a queer woman of color, recently elected mayor, who fears for her daughter’s future.

I felt my grandmother’s spirit pulsing through my chest, a woman who spoke four languages yet never went to college – an immigrant who left a secure life in South America to follow her heart to the United States, and a woman who taught me to say what I think and have compassion for all.

And I wept silent tears as I realized that this moment was just the beginning; that I am tasked to push back for my daughter, for my son, for my mother and grandmothers and all those phenomenal women that have come before me and paved my way to this moment – to this opportunity to show my love for my country.

THIS is what democracy looks like.

And I vowed to use my words, my platform, my writing, my teaching and my parenting not to make war with those that differ but to hold them accountable for THEIR words, THEIR actions. To remind them, over and over, that it is love, not hate, that makes America great. To ensure that this movement – this march, this gathering of humans who are looking to put their voice to the voiceless, to extend kindness to those who are hurting, and to show my children that I will walk the talk for what I believe in.

This is what DEMOCRACY looks like.

I’m not ready to make nice. I’m not ready to give in, to get over it, or to go back.

I’m ready to be loud. I’m ready to be heard. I’m ready to fight back. I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change – I’m changing the things I cannot accept.

How about you?

Here we go!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Finding His Voice

Alpine Meadows morning by Cameron Wolfe
Alpine Meadows morning by Cameron Wolfe

In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice.

When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard.

John Grisham

My kids spend a lot of early mornings on the ski hill. They often must roll out of bed, stumble to the car in the pre-dawn night, and ride for several hours to make it to early training on time.  My thirteen-year-old son used to grumble about it, but this season, he goes willingly.

Ski racing is not an easy sport – there’s a huge amount of equipment to keep track of, travel at hours when most people are sleeping,  dealing with weather conditions that soak you to the skin or make you feel like you’ll never be warm again, and, most difficult for me, frequent days when we’re separated as a family.

Last weekend the four of us were on two different mountains, one parent with each kid.  As I was waiting for my daughter’s ski race to start, a text came through.  Pulling my phone out of my pocket, hoping for an update from my son, this image popped up.  I knew exactly what he was doing and feeling, and I smiled. A sense of calm settled over me, and I knew he was safe and happy doing what he loves.

When I see the world through his eyes, it frequently stops me in my tracks. So often teenagers struggle to communicate, but not this one – he is finding his voice and creating his own story.

I hear it loud and clear.

How does your child create his or her own story and find their voice?

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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A New Year, Another Voice

IMG_1211
Sunrise over Alpine Meadows, California

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”

-T.S. Eliot

Happy New Year!

I dream of a year full of peace, kindness, and joy with those you love.

 Looking forward to sharing our voices together in 2013,

Jennifer

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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They Should Have Listened to Steinbeck




“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.” 

I think 61,173,739 Americans agree with him.
I love Steinbeck.  Many people don’t, but I think his words are profound and speak deeply to the heart of America.  The Grapes of Wrath, one of my all-time favorite books, tells the story of a family trying to make it in the midst of environmental and economic turmoil.  Sounds eerily like today.
It doesn’t matter who they blame; those who came here looking for better opportunities are not interested in ‘self-deportation’.  They want to live the American Dream, as they define it.
America’s youth are using their voices and their votes to set a standard for politicians.
The class warfare of 2012 should go down in history; together, we can make a difference.
“What makes America exceptional,” Obama proclaimed, “are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.” 
Steinbeck knew this to be true when he penned The Grapes of Wrath in 1939.  Seventy-three years later, as we pull out of another ‘Great Depression’, we are seeing his words come to life.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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