by Marjie Podzielinski
Recently, my fifth grade students and I were able to log into a live Scholastic webinar and watch J.K. Rowling in Scotland read Harry Potter aloud. What a remarkable feat for my students. Webinars can really bring the world alive to students and teachers alike.
I started with Scholastic webinars last year when there was an author panel with Kirby Larson, Lois Lowry, and Andrea Pinkney. My “lunch bunch” students brought their lunches to the library and enjoyed this author visit for the DEAR AMERICA series. This launched their reading for all of the DEAR AMERICA books throughout the year. Scholastic also has webinars for continuing education, covering all sorts of topics that teachers need in today’s classrooms. These can be watched at your leisure and can be used for continuing education credit. Many help highlight topics from the Common Core. On October 24, my fourth graders watched Taylor Swift launch her Read Every Day campaign. They loved learning that she has always been a reader and writer.
DiscoveryEducation also offers a variety of webinars.
I was able to participate in the Big CleanUp with Philippe Cousteau in June. This was a call to action for student’s to participate in cleaning up our planet. Watching the webinars live is so fun because participants keep a running dialog during the event that provide teaching ideas while the speaker is talking. You are inter-acting with students and teachers all over the world. Integrating this into class instruction broadens the horizons of all our students.
Also, edweb.net is an online community for sharing with educators all around the world. Webinars are offered on a variety of subjects and are archived for later viewing. These also include technology sessions which are so important for our students.
Booklist Online provides a variety of webinars, The topics range on reluctant readers, Common Core State Standards, Graphic Novels, and other ways to engage readers in your classroom. It is a wonderful way to hear about the latest books being offered by publishers. You merely register with an email address. The login info will be delivered to your mailbox. If you cannot attend on the date of the webinar a follow up email will come with how to access the archived webinar. If I miss a session during the week I can always make it up later.
I highly recommend that you add webinars to your own professional development. With tight budgets they avoid the costs of travel and hotel expenses. Experts in the field are sharing their knowledge and expertise, all from your computer. These sessions will enlighten your students and yourself.
Marjie Podzielinski is a librarian at Coulson Tough School in The Woodlands, Texas.
This article is part of a series from the International Reading Association Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).
The International Reading Association offers recordings of webinars from our Common Core State Standards series. This series included presenters Elfrieda (Freddy) H. Hiebert, Lesley Mandel Morrow, Timothy Rasinski, Nell K. Duke, Timothy Shanahan, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Diane Lapp. Visit the IRA webinar webpage for more information.