ATH 3: CommonLit Craze (Part 2) with Anna Hodges

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We love CommonLit so much, we thought we’d have two episodes on it.

Well, it was sort of like that.

Actually, after having some technical trouble initiating an interview with CommonLit content development director Anna Hodges, we decided to break into two episodes our podcast on this quickly-rising-in-popularity ELA-centered website. And it was worth it because one week could not give CommonLit all the credit it’s due.

In episode two, we discussed CommonLit from the teacher’s perspective: What is it? What are some of its coolest features? How can it be used in the ELA classroom? If you missed it, go back and listen to it.

In this episode, though, we brought in the expert. Anna presented so much useful information that gives teachers a broad understanding of all the ways CommonLit can be used in their classrooms. We know you’ll be impressed. Here’s what Anna discusses:

  • the background of the CommonLit founder and several of its front-line advocates who work to ensure the quality of the free resources CommonLit offers to teachers, students, and parents;
  • the promise that CommonLit will always be provided as a free resource for teachers;
  • utilizing CommonLit text sets to support other content areas (e.g., social studies, science, debate/speech, etc.);
  • the Related Media feature tagged to every text on the CommonLit website, useful for extending every text to other texts, video, audio, or other media;
  • the Teacher Guide tagged with every text to help teachers save time, which will allow them to use as much time as possible for analytical purposes;
  • the nature of questions provided within various texts and how those questions can be used for a variety of purposes: e.g., formative assessment, class discussion, writing prompts;
  • the accessibility toolbar provided with each text (includes a dictionary, read-aloud tool, translation tool, annotation/highlighting tool, etc.)
  • providing high-quality feedback to students, especially in response to short-answer and discussion questions;
  • how CommonLit fits in to some of the principles of contemporary push-back from stringent textbook-only teaching, such as that represented by books like Matt Miller’s Ditch That Textbook.
  • use of the site to differentiate texts and tasks by students’ respective needs and abilities;
  • assessment tools a teacher may use to analyze whole-class and individual data at a variety of large- and fine-grain (e.g., item-analysis) perspectives;
  • Guided Reading mode, an optional feature that allows teachers to require designated students to analyze chunks of text as they read through a selection;
  • the expertise of contributing educators who create and provide the rigorous grade-level resources for each text;
  • how to get parents involved in student learning by sharing with them the Parent Guide linked to every text, which provides a step-by-step means for parents to get involved in their child’s assigned CommonLit text readings;
  • what new-to-CommonLit teachers might first notice about the CommonLit website;
  • what steps with CommonLit teachers should take before school starts;
  • what’s coming soon: Google Classroom Integration; importing Google Classrooms into CommonLit; downloading and printing data to a CSV file/visually-pleasing reports; unit-builder; unit guides; graphic organizers; writing prompts; final assessments
  • how to find out about the latest updates to CommonLit through the CommonLit newsletter and social media announcements.

Additional Resources

ATH 2: CommonLit Craze (Part One)

Listen to “ATH E3 – CommonLit Craze Part 2” on Spreaker.

Episode 2: CommonLit Craze, Part Two
Segment 1: Introduction (0:00-1:34)
Segment 2: What is it? Interview with Anna Hodges, CommonLit Content Development Director (1:34-41:38)
Segment 3: Some Practical Before-School-Starts Advice (41:38-43:24)

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