Wednesday, May 30, 2012


A few weeks ago, I published a collaborative blog post on “Annotexting,” which involved the close reading of text, annotations of text, and evidence based reading practices but involving 21st Century technologies and web tools.

This week, I’d like to offer an update, or perhaps a companion, that I’m calling “AnnoTango!”

Annotexting still relies on a balance between what is teacher-led and what is student-driven. A teacher would still be “directing traffic” in a specific way as they utilize web tools and focus students on deep reading, finding evidence for claims, and drawing conclusions.

Once the Annotexting becomes part of the habitual way in which students read text closely, it’s time to shake it up, and let the dance begin!

This involves shifting more responsibility to the students and thinking of the learning process as a ballroom dance. Read. Annotate. Learn. Switch. Read. Annotate. Learn. Switch. The teacher is still the in-room coach, but the students take on the responsibility of collaborative and communicative learning in a web-enhanced but still Socrative way.

This is the “AnnoTango.”

The students read and annotate (with web tools!) and they begin processing what they are learning with a partner or small group. When the students switch, they “annotate their annotations,” deconstructing and reconstructing their thinking as they switch groups. All of the collective information is curated in the web tools that they are using as a demonstration of understanding. (In fact, you could use the web tools to collect the entire conversation rather than just the annotations or singular thoughts.)

The assessment of their work could be around the thoughtful analysis of a new work, the defense of their thinking around what they curated alone and in groups, or even a collaborative creation that demonstrates how this level of access to information and its analysis by the group leads to critical thinking and strong conclusions drawn about a claim or thesis statement. (based on collected and discussed evidence.)

I’d also like to add that a natural extension to this would be taking it global. (Common Core College and Career Capacity #7!) If the students are already using web tools, then inviting in another classroom or students anywhere in the world would be pretty easy, as long as you know where to connect to these students. Around the World with 80 Schools and Skype In The Classroom would be a good place to find those connections.

Also of note: Skype In the Classroom, just this morning, shared the “collections” area of their website that represented exceptional “Skype In The Classroom” projects worldwide:

So that’s the “AnnoTango” in a nutshell. It can be an extension of “AnnoTexting” or a stand-alone way to let the close reading of text be more student-driven. The next step? I think David Bowie says it best in his late 80’s hit:

“Let’s Dance!”

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