DigiLit Sunday: Purpose

Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche asked us to think about the word purpose.the-purpose-of-lifeis-a-lifeof-purpose1

There is a why and a what to the word.
The why drives the what.

Every year, every lesson I think why. Why are we doing this? What is the intended outcome? Time is limited, so everything should have a very clear why or purpose.

My purpose as an educator comes down to this:     Engaging students in reading and responding to understand their world. From news events that impact our lives to literature that shine light on the darkened spots of our world.
I take in their work and the work of the world and wonder,  How do I do that? 
Especially now.
The election is over. The holidays are upon us. Over the next seven weeks, students will be in school for three of them. Off and on. What to do with this crazy time that is purposeful? Time is choppy. Attention is short.  Can you hear the “activities” calling?  No, thank you!  Think purpose.
My solution is to mix purposeful work with hit and miss student presence. The emphasis is on flexibility, variability, and the power of digital environments.
1) News from Scholastic Magazine and Newsela offer timely articles that allow for choice and flexibility of accessibility.
2) Daily picture book read alouds provide excellent literature, in short, digestible pieces. They engage their hearts and keep their minds open to the ways we need to see others.
3) Choice in reading. In subject and length. Short stories and graphic novels work in these fractured times. Check out Storyworks articles and stories. This bi-monthly magazine is worth the subscription.
4) Short videos and podcasts engage differing modalities of attention. They enhance and extend their thinking and wondering.
5) Ample blogging and responding time on ideas that surface from their reading.
6) Notebooking and talking. What it makes us think. Why it feels right or wrong.
The excitement of the season sacrifices time and focus. But we don’t have to lose sight of purpose or engagement.  Shorter and variable texts, as well as digital ways to interact and respond, offer opportunities to continue their learning. And if it is engaging enough, will attract readers and writers during those vacation weeks. Newsela and Kidblog both offer up possible ways for kids to read, write and connect while they aren’t in school.