After hounding @classroom_tech all summer about every nit picky question I could come up with in regards to Evernote, it all came together this morning. I love those moments when you finally realize how the pieces fit together. I have been considering Evernote as a viable classroom tool since I heard about it at iPadpalooza 2012. Time and time again I would log into my account, create a notebook, add a note, add some tags, and then wonder how could I use this with my students. I used it all summer at my Professional Development workshops, capturing ideas, taking notes, adding pdfs and images and videos, but I always ran into a brick wall.
A lot of teachers use Evernote as a personal tool in the way I just described, but I was really looking for a way to get it into the student's hands. My fellow fourth grade teacher @dillseed1232 got me all fired up about the Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller again over summer. The idea of a reading journal that contains a student's thoughts and feelings about what they are reading really appeals to me. I have been stuck in this AR limbo for a few years now. Read a book, take a quiz, get some points was a big part of my reading program. I always had my reservations about this, and many of my parents did too. So I was really looking for a way to create a much richer and meaningful way to teach reading. I read the Book Whisperer sometime last fall and immediately saw the brilliance in it. However being a few months into a school routine, teachers rarely like to change course, especially with something as big as reading.
However when Cody started talking about this idea to me over summer, I again became inspired to transform my instruction. At first we thought about just using composition notebooks the way it is described in the book. Then we started thinking that we should try to take advantage of the 1:1 iPad technology we have in our rooms. We bounced around a few apps and never really liked the solution. Then I was casually speaking with our Educational Technologist @HulaHupper about our dilemma and she said, "You should totally use Evernote for that." It made a lot of sense but I was still reluctant because of my prior experiences.
Then this morning all of a sudden in the middle of fixing the Login Options on 30 MacBooks in my room, it came to me. I created an Evernote notebook under my premium account for each child. I shared this notebook with the child over email granting them read and modify rights. I instructed them to send me an email each time they start a new book with the title of the book and the author's name. I then create an Evernote note with the book title as the note title, tag it with the "author's name" and "reading response," and dump it into their notebook. Now each student and I have a way to talk back and forth about their reading. They track their questions and inner conversation on the note, it instantly syncs to my account, then I can add opinions, ask them questions, add links, pictures, pdfs, sound files etc… This way I am building a searchable library of all of the books my students have read that I can refer back too in the future, and share out with future students.