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Use Hyper Docs To Increase Student Engagement

It is our job as educators to prepare our students for their future. When students are provided choice over space, pace, process and product they begin to engage more with the content being taught. HyperDocs are an excellent way to differentiate classroom lessons to help your students learn the content in a format geared towards the 21st century learner from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.


Tracy Enos is an 8th Grade teacher from Rhode Island, United States. I met Tracy in the #2ndaryELA Facebook Group I co-moderate where she is an active contributor and freely shares her ideas and passion for teaching. One of the topics she has frequently mentioned is HyperDocs. Today’s post is written by Tracy to share her knowledge and excitement for bringing this technology to your classroom.


The Classroom Environment


It is our job, as educators, to prepare our students for their future.  According to the US Department of Labor, 65 percent of today’s schoolchildren will eventually be employed in jobs that have yet to be created.” The world is changing at lightning speed. Is our teaching evolving as fast?


When I plan my lessons, I think further than just content.  As an 8th grade English teacher, I am tasked with teaching The Diary of Anne Frank, Self-Selected Reading, Short Stories, Various Modes of Writing, Dystopian Literature, Grammar, Mechanics, and whatever else goes with those huge topics. But I don’t stop there. I constantly have other skills in mind as I shape my classroom community.  


What are the skills that will help my students succeed in their futures?  For me, it boils down to the C’s… creating, collaborating, communicating, and thinking critically. By honing these skills, offering authentic learning experiences, and put students in the driver’s seat of their education. We not only prepare our kids for the future, but we prepare them to start that future today.

Today’s Students

The kids in front of us have the world at their fingertips. They are a YouTube generation.  A generation that asks, “Why not?”  A generation that not only thinks outside of the box, but they want to take the box apart just to see how it works. If they don’t know how to get to the next level in a game, they watch other videos about it.  They study it.  They beat it.  If they have a question about something, they explore the topic until they find the answer. If they see something beautiful, they snap a picture and share it. They find what they need.  Share what they like. Create.  Ask questions. Engage. They take each other along, everywhere they go. How can we capture that energy?  It’s not about competing with the world out there, but springboarding off of it.



HyperDocs

The lessons we bring to our students must be designed with these kids in mind. We’re not talking about end of chapter questions or one-size-fits-all assignments. We’re talking about providing engaging experiences, breaking down the walls of our classrooms, seamless individualization, and authentic learning.

The district that I teach in has been one-to-one with Chromebooks for the past 3 years. I started to think past whole-class lessons, where every student worked on the same task together, to more of a student-centered experience. With these technology tools, it was almost like having 7 Miss Enos’s in the room to help out multiple groups/students at the same time.   

I learned about blended instruction, the combination of technology, face-to-face, and collaborative learning. What struck me was the power of having students control:

  • space (where the learning takes place)
  • pace (how fast the learning moves)
  • process (what the learning experience looks like)
  • product (how students can show what they learn)


In its simplest form, a HyperDoc is a Google Doc that is used to present a well-designed lesson plan to a student all in one place. Links and resources are housed in one document (or even Google Slides, or a Google Drawing, etc.) for easy reference and modification. The format is extremely flexible, but the point is to create an engaging learning experience.



My first attempt at creating a HyperDoc was creating a "Playlist" for students to work through. These were basically a list of activities on a Google Doc for my students to complete. Since I pushed them out through Google Classroom, they could be individualized any way we needed. Using a variety of formative assessment and collaborative tools, I could accompany each student as they progressed on the journey. You can take a look at an example here for teaching Argument Writing.

The HyperDoc Movement

The important names in the Hyperdoc Movement are Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis.  On their website, there are many templates to remix and use as inspiration.  The templates make visible the intricacies of great lesson plan design, almost like a skeletal system, that hits on all the important goals of strong pedagogy. These templates can be altered and reconfigured to meet the needs of you and your students.

Another wonderful aspect of HyperDocs is the power of authentic learning.  Choice is built in as much as possible, real audiences, application, and reflection.  Giving each of these steps time, consciously, by design, ensures that students can focus in on what matters to them instead of rushing through to just finish a task.

Teacher Resources

  • Beyond just offering templates, their website offers a place where teachers donate HyperDocs that they’ve created to anyone looking for inspiration.
  • I would also suggest picking up the Hyperdoc Handbook to learn much more than this simple definition and really dive in.
  • For more examples, here is a padlet to many fantastic HyperDocs that teachers have shared.
  • The video below provides a brief technology tutorial for basic HyperDoc creation.





I think it’s safe to say that we all want to create engaging learning experiences that our students will remember and that will prepare them for the world they live in. I would never suggest only teaching with HyperDocs. HyperDocs are just another piece you add to your teaching repertoire. As teachers, we want to continue to ask “What would be best for my students at this time?”. It is easy to get overwhelmed by technology and buzzwords. Only when we have a strong foundation, can we then be a springboard for our students to leap into their future.

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It is our job as educators to prepare our students for their future. When students are provided choice over space, pace, process and product they begin to engage more with the content being taught. HyperDocs are an excellent way to differentiate classroom lessons to help your students learn the content in a format geared towards the 21st century learner from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

Season Three of the #2ndaryELA Twitter Chats

Welcome Back to season three of the #2ndaryELA Tuesday night Twitter chats. Brynn Allison from The Literary Maven and Kristy Avis from 2 Peas and a Dog have teamed up to bring you spectacular professional development every Tuesday night from 8:00pm - 8:30pm (Eastern Standard Time).


Welcome Back to Season Three of the #2ndaryELA Tuesday night Twitter chats. Brynn Allison from The Literary Maven and Kristy Avis from 2 Peas and a Dog have teamed up to bring you spectacular professional development every Tuesday night from 8:00pm - 8:30pm (Eastern Standard Time).


New To Twitter Chats? Read about how to get started here.


Can’t Make Tuesday Nights? We share our Twitter chat blog post recaps in our #2ndaryELA Facebook Group sometime during the week after the chat. Join the Facebook Group to read the recaps.


We are very excited for the topics we will be covering this season. Below is our tentative topic schedule. Think you might forget? Don’t worry every Sunday morning on our blogs we remind our readers of this great learning opportunity.

Please join us on Tuesday nights to share your thoughts on the following topics:


September to December 2017
Tuesday, July 25, 2017  Back to School
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 Setting Up the Classroom
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 Curriculum and Unit Planning
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 Integrating Tech
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 Teaching Novels
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 NF & Real World Connections
Tuesday, September 5, 2017 Reading/Writing Workshop
Tuesday, September 12, 2017 Grading Policies and Tips
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 Literature Circles & Alternatives
Tuesday, September 26, 2017  Informational & Argument Writing
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 YA Literature
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - Creative Writing
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Close Reading & Annotation
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 Learning Stations & Centers
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 Narrative Writing
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 Engaging Students With Non-Traditional Texts
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 Socratic Seminars
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 No Chat Thanksgiving Break
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 Co-Teaching Strategies
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - Celebrating the Holidays in the Secondary Classroom


January to May 2018
Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - New Ideas for the New Year
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - Poetry
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - IEP/ESL Students
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - Reading Strategies
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - Teaching Literature Skills
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - Article of the Week
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Puzzles & Games - Danielle Hall
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - Digital Literacy & Media Awareness
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - Teacher Self Care
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - Struggling Readers and Writers
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - Measuring Student Learning
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - Vocabulary & Grammar
Tuesday, April 3, 2018 - Interactive Notebooks & Hands-On Learning
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - Mentor Texts & Sentences
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - Inquiry in the ELA Classroom
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - Google Tools in the Classroom
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - Surviving the End of the Year
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - Reflecting & Recharging

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Why Classroom Libraries Are Important

Classroom libraries are important because not all schools have a physical library space, students need frequent access to books and they provide a venue for book recommendations. Get the details on these 3 key reasons for creating and maintaining a classroom library space. Suggestions for classroom library set up, maintenance, classroom library organization and book recommendations are provided from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.


I am one of the co-founders of a Grades 6-12 English Language Arts teachers Facebook group called #2ndaryELA. Several times now members have posted a question about if classroom libraries are still useful. The comment section fills up very quickly with teachers sharing their thoughts on the importance of classroom libraries.

I love my classroom library. I have spent a lot of time, energy and money to help make my classroom library as self-sufficient and student-friendly as possible. Classroom libraries are important because not all schools have a physical library space, students need immediate and frequent access to books to encourage reading as well as providing a venue where teachers and students can easily recommend books to each other.


With competition for school square footage at a premium today, not all schools have a fully functioning school library. Some libraries have lost their space to accommodate unexpected community growth resulting in classes needing to be held in the library. Other libraries have lost their librarians due to cost cutting measures, or the current educational push to make libraries into Makerspaces or Learning Commons. All of these ideas remove partial or full student access to books. Many of favourite childhood memories involve books. I cannot imagine a future where children are denied access to books.


To foster and encourage a love of reading, texts need to be readily accessible to students. Having students wait a week or two for their scheduled class library visit does not meet the needs of all students. Your faster readers will be done their books in days and have nothing new to read if this is the system at your school. Classroom libraries provide students with immediate access to books and keep reading as a class priority.


This year my students would actively recommend novels to each other. Sometimes this was done inadvertently when a student would read through lunch prompting other students to inquire why they were reading instead of talking to the group. Other times students openly shared their thoughts and feelings about their novels with the class during class work periods. I developed a classroom community where students felt free to come and ask me for personal book recommendations. I would walk over to my classroom library, ask the student what genre they wanted, and selected several books for them to try. These book recommendations would not have happened if my students did not have daily access to texts.


I strongly feel that classroom libraries are essential for all classrooms, not just for English classrooms. Students need to understand that literacy does not end once they walk out of their English classroom’s door. Where I teach in Ontario, Canada some schools do not have subject specialist teachers for middle school classrooms. This means that during my 10-year career I have taught: English, History, Geography, Drama, Dance, Physical Education, Art, Science and Health. I have tried to ensure my classroom library has non-fiction resources that cover most of these topics. Students need to see that books do not always have a story line, and that reading takes on many forms.


Classroom Library Resources:




























Suggestions For Acquiring Classroom Library Books
































Enter to Win $100 Worth of Books for Your Classroom Library!


To help you start or build your classroom library, I have partnered with Brynn Allison of The Literary Maven to give away $100 in books to six lucky teachers.


The winners will also receive two of my teaching resources: Independent Reading Journal Assignment to use during reading and 16 Book Reports which can be used after reading any novel. These resources will help support independent reading in classrooms.

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Winners will be contacted via email once the giveaway is complete. Due to shipping costs, this contest is only open to residents of the United States and Canada. Contest is open from July 15 - July 29, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Classroom libraries are important because not all schools have a physical library space, students need frequent access to books and they provide a venue for book recommendations. Get the details on these 3 key reasons for creating and maintaining a classroom library space. Suggestions for classroom library set up, maintenance, classroom library organization and book recommendations are provided from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

Ideas To Help Prepare For Back To School

This blog post is a collection of 20 popular posts that outline the following topics: Back to School Activities and Lessons, Classroom Set Up and Organization, Classroom Management, Technology, Parent Communication, Assessment Tips, and Teacher Self Care.

For some teachers back to school season is fast approaching, for others they are casually thinking about the next school year and mentally preparing a list of changes they want to make.

This blog post is a collection of 20 popular posts that outline the following topics: Back to School Activites and Lessons, Classroom Set Up and Organization, Classroom Management, Technology, Parent Communication and Assessment Tips, and Teacher Self Care.

Within this collection teachers will find something that will help with their back to school planning and preparation. Click on the titles of each blog post to find more information.

Back to School Activities and Lessons


It is almost time for teachers to either go back to school or start the back to school planning process. This blog post will provide five useful back to school tips that any teacher can use and share with their fellow teachers.


Starting at a new school after moving to a new home in a new city can be exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking and stressful. As a teacher (and in many cases, the first point of contact for these students), there are many things you can you do to help your new students during their first days.


Get students moving and meeting each other on the first day. Read about my favourite back to school activities.


Lots of teachers shared their thoughts and ideas on engaging back to school activities to make the transition from summer to school more enjoyable for students. Teachers are using their summers to prepare for their upcoming classes, organize their classroom, and learn new things through professional development workshops and books.



Classroom Set Up and Organization


A step by step humour filled blog post about how to set up and organize a middle school classroom. Lots of storage and bulletin board ideas are shared to help you get started on your classroom set up planning.


Setting up a middle school classroom can be challenging to ensure that the room looks visually appealing without looking too young for the age group. It is important that your room has enough space to accommodate middle school students. Ideas for organizing classroom tools, resources and books are shared.


I am frequently lending my supplies to students, teachers and other classes. Last year only some of the things I loaned out got returned so I knew I needed an easy system of tracking where my things were going.


I firmly believe that a clean and organized classroom encourages learning, whereas a cluttered and disorganized classroom discourages learning. The simple and easy ideas listed in the blog post can be implemented at any time in your classroom.


Classroom Management


It is essential for teachers to establish effective routines, procedures and learning structures in their classrooms starting the first week of school. During one of our weekly #2ndaryELA Twitter chat teachers shared that their routines were critical to a successful school year.


Students need consistent routines and structure to be successful. Seating plans can be time-consuming to create for the teacher, and they can cause students to be upset when they are not sitting with their friends. They are, however, an important part of a classroom management plan.


Managing absences can be very time-consuming. Read about this student absence buddy system a teacher can put into place in their classroom.


Technology, Parent Communication and Assessment Tips



When I am designing a unit I use the backwards design model referenced in the Twitter chat many times. I purposely plan out the final assessment so that I know my unit plan will teach the skills for students to successfully complete the assignment.


For anyone who uses a paper gradebook using codes to keep it organized will be a time saver.


As teachers, we are addicted to giving a mark to everything we ask the students to complete. But not everything they do needs to be formally assessed for a mark. If we follow the gradual release model, students need many opportunities to practice a skill or task before they are formally assessed on it.


Technology has dramatically changed the way we teach. Students and teachers can now collaborate with peers around the globe instantly. Another important use of technology is for parent-teacher communication. This is a very important part of classroom life that can benefit from the integration of technology.


Social media sites are a great place to look for new ideas and current education trends. I have outlined in the blog post how teachers can use a few different social media sites to enhance their teaching practice.



Teacher Tips and Self Care


Teachers are busy people. We don't have time to drive from store to store thinking about what supplies we might need. Below is a list of ten essential school supplies teachers need to have a great start to their new school year.


Teachers are professionals, therefore it is important that we dress professionally. It can be difficult to find stylish and professional looking clothes on a teacher's budget. Read on for 10 tips to help teachers dress for success.


It can happen to any teacher ----- you go to bed feeling normal and you wake up feeling terrible. In those short hours of sleep, your body stopped fighting all those germs you brought home and raises the "it's time to rest" flag.


Teacher burnout is a real fact of a career in teaching. Every year the demands increase, but no other tasks get removed to compensate for this additional workload. It is important that teachers recognize the early signs and practice self-care to avoid burning out.


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This blog post is a collection of 20 popular posts that outline the following topics: Back to School Activities and Lessons, Classroom Set Up and Organization, Classroom Management, Technology, Parent Communication, Assessment Tips, and Teacher Self Care.
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