Transliteracy has influenced and informed my thinking around my Capstone Project by making me more aware of what is available to me and my students. I have learned about new websites and techniques to keep my students engaged, and ways to deliver information.
Students should have a seamless transition from home to school when it comes to technology. Many students have tech devices at home which allow them to stay informed of national and global news. Our teaching strategies must reflect that. We can't not allow students to bring their personal opinions and resources into our classrooms! I remember feeling as a student how "out of touch" my teachers appeared to me. They were in their 50's and 60's when I was in kinder! We used a record player that sang us the alphabet songs. Meanwhile, I'm at home recording my music from the radio onto my boombox. We weren't given "voice and choice" back then. I wish we had. I think it would've changed how I felt about math growing up!
In regards to my capstone, I tried to have interesting visual and audio in my documentary. I wanted the website to not be too wordy, but not be all pictures. I added links for people to explore outside of my capstone website and made sure those links were embedded in the reading portions of the pages. To break up the monotony of the reading, I used my logo colors and bold letters to highlight interesting key words or phrases, much like when I read an online article or magazine.
I hope to use my new skills to foster my students' transliteracy skills now and into the future.
As a Xennial, I try to stay up-to-date on trends that my 5th grade students enjoy (I'm happy to report, that I played Among Us before them.). I know that the world is ever-changing and that today's youth are quite different than "back in my day" youth. I need to allow students to use their skills from the outside world in my classroom. Giving students autonomy in solving problems is more valuable than hand-feeding them the answers. And allowing them to use what they know to extend and teach each other is a brilliant way to foster transliteracy.
Sketchnoting is a great way for students to "show what they know" in a less anxiety-inducing environment. Growing up, I was always doodling in the margins of my notes. Sometimes it was mindless, and sometimes it was just a way to get out what I was feeling at the moment. However, I can not recall a time when I was doodling to take notes. With this modern-day method of notetaking, students can see their drawing and visually remember what they were thinking at the time they drew it. This can be quite helpful when studying.
As an adult who is very visual, I certainly allow my students to draw and doodle if they feel the need to. It helps me pay attention, why wouldn't it help someone else do the same thing? With sketchnoting, it certainly is more productive than mindlessly doodling. I hope to use sketchnoting as a way for students to take notes during their next unit.
We are not preparing our students for the jobs of their future. Bold statement, I know. But as I read more and more of what is needed for the future, I am becoming more aware of this as being an American issue. We need to prepare our students for the future.
Many jobs that elementary students will be in when they enter the work force, haven't even been invented yet! And although we do not know what the future holds career-wise for these students, we can guide them in becoming critical thinkers and use universal skills that will help them in the future.
One way to do this, is with transliteracy. According to Suzana Sukavic's article "What Exactly is Transliteracy?", she defines transliteracy as the ability to navigate fluidly across a wide variety of technologies, media, and context. Digital cititzenship is the rules and common practices for how to navigate the internet and e-mail realms. But transliteracy, is taking all the information from the internet, social media, books, magazine ariticles, op-ed pieces, nightly news programs, documentaries, and even newspapers, and being able to decipher what is true, what isn't, and what is neccessary for a project, essay, or even social conversations.
In my own practice, students flex their transliteracy skills when they are creating research projects. Just last week, my teammates and I were using our transliteracy skills to write a PBL unit on the music genre of the Blues. Students will be studying slavery and its effects on American culture prior to and after the Emancipation Proclamation. Students will be using articles from the district's reading curriculum, but also exploring youtube videos with examples of early blues musicians, linking current news articles about slavery's effects on today's culture and music, and then write their own lyrics and music in the style of the Blues. I grew up listening to Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and my all time personal favorite, Koko Taylor. Although these artist are considered more "modern", they helped lead the way for musicians beyond blues. I want my students to come to this conclusion as they create their own "blues riffs" using GarageBand and the standard blues progression. They will be uploading all their work to their Google Portfolio to share with teachers, other students, and their family.
Sarah Magallano teaches 5th grade. She also coaches teachers on integrating art & engineering into their lesson plans.