Have you ever used the app, Subtext for text sharing – articles or entire books? One of our teachers had used it with her classes a number of times, first with iPad minis, then after our fifth graders received their one-to-one, full-sized iPads, with them as well. She pose questions, asks for their opinions, answers their queries, and monitors how many Word Masters words they highlight. The app offers many possibilities that we’ve likely not yet discovered yet.
But here’s a cool thing that happened yesterday. We are using Subtext as part of a program we do every year, called, “Got a Problem?” Through this program, one book is selected for all fourth and fifth grade classes to read, generally as a read aloud. On GAP day, the students are placed in teams to solve one, global problem based upon the book. They solve the problem as would a tam of musicians, artists, writers, or architects would do so. (That will likely be changed this go around.). This year, we are reading “The Real Boy” by Ursu, and all fifth graders, as well as all staff, are doing so via Subtext on their iPads.
Like the rest of the Real Boy community in our school, I’m reading and commenting and sharing and LOVING reading what the students have to say about what they are reading!
Then there was yesterday. I received an email asking me to join a fifth grade class to explain my comments. We talked about my comments, we talked about theirs, and we talked about reading a book in this way. They think it is cool that their principal reads the same book they read. I always have in this situation. -But there has never been this sense of community during the read.
This is our first shot at this. I’m sure we will get better at it. Meanwhile, as a side benefit, another ten teachers and a principal are learning what Virginia Pratt, our Subtext pioneer teacher has known for months. “This is a pretty awesome way to share a book.”