Saturday, April 5, 2014

Investigating Argumentative Writing Resources on the iPads, Regina Berg, Librarian, Gwendolyn Brooks High School

After speaking with two of the English IV and English II teachers at my high school, I realized that several teachers were interested in learning how to integrate argumentative writing into their curriculum.  I began locating resources when I thought of hosting a workshop where all the English teachers could collaborate and determine effective strategies for implementing this style of writing into their curriculum.   Just when I thought I was at my wits end, I discovered iTunes University.  The app offers several courses that have been approved by reputable universities and colleges and had two options for courses focused on Argumentative writing.
I immediately download this free app to all the iPads and then scheduled a meeting.   I was able to introduce a course to teachers where there were several graphic organizers and instructional suggestions for teachers to use.  We began with a small introduction to the iTunes University App, which surprisingly, many of the teachers had never used (although we all have Mac Laptops at my school).  Teachers were allowed to explore the app and then were given directions as to how to find the course.  Once in, I directed teachers to preview three courses that I thought would be useful.  We examined the materials (two of which were graphic organizers) and then discussed how the tools would be useful or relevant in different units and at different grade levels.  Teachers then had an opportunity to explore additional course materials and share their findings with the discussion group.
This experience was so rewarding.  Not only did I have the opportunity to collaborate with an entire department, but we also had the opportunity to participate in valuable professional development.  Teachers felt the materials were useful and relevant in implementing the common core standards and could be used in a way that would allow students to be independent learners in their classrooms.

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